Tomcat: Dangerous Desires (1993)


aka Dangerous Desires

Canada. 1993.


Director/Screenplay – Paul Donovan, Producers – Robert Vince & William Vince, Photography – Peter Wunstorf, Music – Graeme Coleman, Special Effects Supervisor – Garry Paller, Special Effects Prosthetics – Tibor Farkas, Production Design – Lynne Stokewich. Production Company – Entertainment Securities Ltd/Saban Entertainment/Den Pictures


Richard Grieco (Tom), Natalie Radford (Imogen), Maryam d’Abo (Jacki Eddington), Sean Orr (Dr Dale Brampson), Serge Houde (Dr Pace)


Geneticist Jacki Eddington is having a relationship with the dancer Tom. Tom came to her with a severe motor disability but she was able to save him by giving him a genetic implant using feline DNA. She now becomes increasingly concerned as the emergence of feline traits starts making Tom devious and deadly. He kills Jackie and then sets out to seduce fellow dancer Imogen, killing off all rivals for her affections.

This Canadian-made feature could have been interesting. It tries to be one of the moody, up-front erotic thrillers that sprang up following the success of Basic Instinct (1992). It intriguingly blends Basic Instinct with a genetic engineering theme. However, this is the sole novel idea the film has and one that ends at about the point of its novelty conception. Alas, the genetic engineering angle is of no real relevance to the story – in fact, all an injection of cat DNA serves to do is provide Richard Grieco with is an illogical fear of water. (And surely a cat’s fear of water has nothing to do with its DNA but a lot to do with simply it not liking getting its fur wet). For all that the DNA matters to the story, Richard Grieco could have could be a ladykiller in a by-the-numbers psycho-thriller.

Tomcat: Dangerous Desires has no real plot. All it seems to spend its time doing is having Natalie Radford unsure whether she wants Richard Grieco to seduce her or not. There is nothing else that happens until the climax where he pursues her through a lumberyard. Even that which does happen is vague and seems to have been slung together without any idea of what the filmmakers were trying to achieve.

The film also has the misfortune to cast Richard Grieco who was then a hot teen heartthrob on tv’s 21 Jump Street (1987-92) and Booker (1989-90). Grieco is a teen heartthrob whose celebrity rests entirely on their looks. (More pertinently, after the teen fanbase who got all excited about him grew older, Grieco has been left scrabbling for B movie parts trying to eke out a living). As an actor, he is incredibly bad. The scenes of him chasing Natalie Radford and attempting to threaten her at the end come out as unintentionally campy. One scene where he pretends to have been stabbed by a victim leaves one unsure whether he is meant to be dying or laughing.

Canadian director Paul Donovan has made a handful of other films. His only other ventures into genre material were the not-too-bad nuclear war film Defcon-4 (1993) and as producer, writer and director on the sf tv series Lexx (1997-2002).

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