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16.9.09

The Seduction of Dr. Fugazzi (2009)


Director: October Kingsley
Starring: October Kingsley, Faye Dunaway
Rated R Running time: 96 minutes
Released by Troma

The old psychologist-might-be-catching-some-of-her-patient's-crazy theme gets a hipster makeover in The Seduction of Dr. Fugazzi. Writer/director/producer October Kingsley stars as the titular shrink who administers psychiatric care to a smorgasbord of cartoonish nutjobs while wearing heavy makeup and fishnet stockings. While she maintains a conservative, professional demeanor during the day, her nights are full of partying and kinky sex with various partners. This juggling act begins to take its toll on the doc, and weird visions and experiences, which may or may not be real, begin to interfere with her life. It's when a detective (Faye Dunaway) shows up at Fugazzi's office that we begin to unravel the secrets of the doctor's past, and head towards a conclusion you'll see coming from a mile away.

Kingsley has a few interesting ideas in regards to production design, but the mixture of amateurishness and pretension makes The Seduction of Dr. Fugazzi pretty tough going. All the arty camera angles and color schemes in the world can't hide the bad acting, derivative story, and obnoxious characters. It's also surprisingly chaste for a film that is being marketed as some kind of twisted psycho-sexual thriller. Scenes contrived to provide shock value, such as highly publicized broomstick rape sequence, are too poorly executed to elicit much of a response out of the viewer. In fact, it's nearly impossible to tell when Kingsley is being serious and when she is being silly, rendering the entire film a confusing, tedious mess. The only bright spot here is the performance of Faye Dunaway, who goes on to prove that she is a true professional by delivering a solid performance in a movie that is way, way beneath her considerable talents. Dunaway's fans may want to check this one out, but should be forewarned that they are likely to suffer from overwhelming sympathy pains. Everyone else would do well to avoid it.


More memorable than the film itself were the misguided attempts to promote it on various internet message boards. Glowing reviews, which seem to have been written by the same one or two people, appeared before anyone had actually seen the movie. Anyone questioning these reviewers, or even offering a differing opinion, were attacked mercilessly by the film's "fans." The speculation was that these reviewers were plants, and may have been someone from Shoreline Entertainment, or perhaps even Kingsley herself. I don't know whether this is true or not, but it should serve as a lesson to any filmmakers even considering using similar tactics to promote their work.

Don't do it.