aka Friend of the Family II; Hell Hath No Fury; Innocence Betrayed
Director – Nicholas Medina [Fred Olen Ray], Screenplay – Henry Krinkle, Producer – Noble Henry, Photography – Gary Graver, Music – Adam Berry, Production Design – David Blass. Production Company – Royal Oaks Entertainment/Andrew Stevens Entertainment.
Paul Michael Robinson (Alex Madison), Shauna O’Brien (Linda), Jenna Bodnar (Maddy Madison), Sid Farley (Byron), Jeff Rector (Mark), Arthur Roberts (Mr Gates), Emmett Graham (Marcel)
While in New Orleans, businessman Alex Madison has an affair with Linda, a girl he meets in a restaurant and consoles after she has a fight with her fiancée. In a matter of days, Linda falls in love with him. Alex then decides to return to his wife Maddy. Shocked at not only being dumped but to also find that the fiancée that she abandoned for Alex has committed suicide, Linda swears vengeance. She follows Alex back to San Francisco and goes to his house. Maddy thinks that Alex has come to apply for a babysitting job and gives her the position. Inside the house, Linda blackmails Alex into sleeping with her, while also manipulating all the people around him in order to obtain her revenge.
Passionate Revenge is a made-for-cable erotic film. (Although, the version seen here appears to be one where several, but not all, of the heated embraces have been cut out). It was originally released under the title Friend of the Family II as a sequel to Friend of the Family (1995), which featured Shauna O’Brien as a woman who ends up moving in with and sexually liberating a troubled family. Other than featuring Shauna O’Brien as a guest in another married couple’s house, the two Friends of the Family films are otherwise unrelated – the original, for instance, contains much softcore sex but no psycho-thriller elements. Behind the name Nicholas Medina is Fred Olen Ray, an amazingly prolific B-budget hack who has directed a number of sf/action and cheap monster movies. (See below for Fred Olen Ray’s other films).
Many of these softcore cable-made films rework the plots of other mainstream films with a more erotic bent. In this case, Passionate Revenge is a steamy version of Fatal Attraction (1987) – wherein a woman jilted after a married man’s fling come seeking revenge and turns his marriage upside down – as well as The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) wherein a psychopathic babysitter moves into the house to claim revenge. Certainly, the combination of these offers more plot than is usually the case for most made-for-cable erotica.
Alas, Passionate Revenge is mediocre. Fred Olen Ray is not very good at directing scenes. The exchanges between his cast are bland and lacking in enervation and it is all flatly photographed. There are certainly scenes that would have been much more interesting if they had been played in a film where there was less emphasis on the erotic and more on a darkly psychological undertow – like where Shauna O’Brien moves into the house and blackmails hubby Paul Michael Robinson into having sex with her on the threat of telling his wife. At one point, she walks into the marital bedroom in her underwear while the wife is asleep and announces to him: “I expect you to make an appearance in my room tonight.” The scenes where she seduces the wife’s kid brother and the tension-filled business dinner could have held similar potential in another film.
Typical of these post-Fatal Attraction psycho-thrillers, Shauna O’Brien is given no motivation or even characterization beyond being either completely in love or a calculating avenger. There is a bizarrely hurried ending where for no apparent reason she starts shooting in front of cops and is shot down, while the film goes out on a note of uncertainty as to whether Paul Michael Robinson is dead and the wife then starts panicking “Oh my God, where’s the baby?”
Passionate Revenge is toplined by Shauna O’Brien, the former Penthouse Pet, who, with her set of truly spectacular silicon implants, has made a career out of these cable-made erotic films. Unfortunately, as an actress, Shauna O’Brien is too beautiful and too bland to ever suggest the coldness of the equivalent part that Rebecca De Mornay executed in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. On the other hand, Jenna Bodnar has a lovely naturalness as the wife.
Fred Olen Ray has made a lengthy list of genre films. These include:- The Brain Leeches (1977), The Alien Dead/It Fell from the Sky (1980), Scalps (1983), Biohazard (1984), The Tomb (1985), The Adventures of Taura: Prison Ship Star Slammer (1986), The Phantom Empire (1986), Cyclone (1987), Beverly Hills Vamp (1988), Deep Space (1988), Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988), Warlords (1988), Alienator (1990), Bad Girls from Mars (1990), Spirits (1990), Haunting Fear (1991), Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991), Wizards of the Demon Sword (1991), Evil Toons (1992), Little Devils (1993), Dinosaur Island (1994), Mind Twister (1994), Possessed By the Night (1994), Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfolds (1995), Cyber Zone/Droid Gunner (1995), Invisible Mom (1995), Star Hunter (1995), Night Shade (1996), Hybrid (1997), Little Miss Magic/Kidwitch (1997), Billy Frankenstein (1998), Dear Santa/My Dad Santa (1998), Illicit Dreams 2 (1998), Invisible Dad (1998), Active Stealth (1999), Fugitive Mind (1999), Invisible Mom 2 (1999), The Kid with X-Ray Eyes (1999), Prophet (1999), Critical Mass (2000), Sideshow (2000), Kept (2001), Stranded (2001), Venomous (2001), Thirteen Erotic Ghosts (2002), Final Examination (2003), Bikini-a-Go-Go/Curse of the Erotic Tiki (2004), Genie in a String Bikini (2004), Haunting Desire (2004), Teenage Cavegirl (2004), Glass Trap (2005), Tomb of the Werewolf (2005), Bikini Girls from a Lost Planet (2006), Bikini Pirates (2006), Ghost in a Teeny Bikini (2006), Bewitched Housewives (2007), The Girl With Sex-Ray Eyes (2007), Nuclear Hurricane (2007), Super Ninja Bikini Babes (2007), Polar Opposites (2008), Solar Flare (2008), Tarzeena, Queen of Kong Island (2008), Voodoo Dollz (2008), Dire Wolf (2009), Silent Venom (2009), Bikini Frankenstein (2010), Bikini Jones and the Temple of Eros (2010), Housewives from Another World (2010), Turbulent Skies (2010), Twilight Vamps (2010), Lady Chatterly’s Ghost (2011), Little Witches (2011), Rewind Time Machine (2011), Super Shark (2011), Dirty Blondes from Beyond (2012), Abner the Invisible Dog (2013), After Midnight (2014), Unwanted Guest (2016), Stage Fright (2017) and The Twin (2017).