A friend recently texted to tell me he was watching the episode of Magnum, P.I. guest-starring sultry ’80s legend Morgan Fairchild. Even all these years later, an appearance by Morgan Fairchild in just about anything is something best friends make sure to alert each other about. Especially if said friends are Gen Xers, for whom crushing on Morgan was akin to a rite of passage.
This led me to a wistful remembrance of her underrated early ’80s seedy thriller, The Seduction (1982), a film I can’t recommend highly enough. Not only a fabulous showcase for Morgan’s talents, both as an actress and a sex symbol, David Schmoeller’s haunting tale of a truly disturbed stalker hunting an impossibly beautiful Morgan is as intense as it is gorgeous. Rarely has a cinematographer shot an actor with more care than Mac Ahlberg (Re-Animator) did here, his camera framing Morgan in one stunning shot after another. Lavish and luxuriant Los Angeles homes and offices are the settings, and thanks to the film’s growing sense of dread they quickly feel like beautiful death traps for Morgan’s character.
Add together her makeup, hair, fashion, and the true star of the film, her flawless nails, and we’re talking peak ’80s glam that she still manages to make look natural. Our stunning heroine is stalked by a disturbingly creepy and eerily omnipresent Andrew Stevens right from the start, and things only escalate from there. Aided by the hapless inability of the police to protect her – a pointed commentary on female victims not being believed and made to suffer in silence – it all turns into a kinda-sorta-feminist revenge film in the last act, with Morgan going full-on action star to save her life. The finale is as intense as any you’re likely to see in the genre. In an interview included with Shout! Factory’s excellent 2019 Blu-ray edition (which you need to own), she talks about how those intensely physical scenes came naturally to her because she spent “most of the 1970s doing Kung Fu in Chinatown.”
Of course she did. This is why we love her.