Released: May 01st, 1992
Running Time: 95
Director: John Leslie
Company: VCA Platinum
Cast: Diedre Holland, Tim Lake, Tracy Winn, Rocco Siffredi, Candace Heart, Mickey Ray, Ashlyn Gere, Fawn Miller, Sunset Thomas, Brandy Alexandre, Zach Thomas, P.J. Sparxx, Jon Dough, Leanna Foxxx
Critical Rating: AAAAA
Chameleons, an erotic tour de force, makes the viewer quiver a bit to behold it – and pray that he can capture its subtlety and sexual force in a few short paragraphs.
Briefly, this is the story of a seemingly ordinary couple (Diedre Holland, Rocco Siffredi) who have the power to assume the appearance of anyone they choose – but when they steal someone’s image, they also steal some or all of their life force. Into their lives comes the ultimate manipulating bitch (Ashlyn Gere) who accidentally learns of their power and wants it for herself.
“It’s not something you learn; it’s something you discover,” says Holland, a task at which Gere readily succeeds … or does she? To tell more would give away the surprise ending, which will make you watch the film at least one more time, attempting to evaluate the effect this final plot twist has had on the rest of the action.
This film, which was scripted as well as directed by veteran actor John Leslie, touches something very deep in human consciousness: “What would my reaction be if I had to power to become anyone I could visualize, and seduce anyone I desired by becoming their fantasy image?” In a sense, Leslie’s tried this before, in The Chameleon, and to a lesser extent in Cat Woman and Curse of the Cat Woman, but never with such wild success.
Much credit must be laid at the feet of Gere, whose powerful characterization of Casey, the interloper, combined with her volcanic sexual energy make her the pivotal figure in this drama. She is the embodiment of the predatory female, interested only in her own lusts and the means to satisfy them.
Another excellent performance comes from Holland, who, we learn in flashback, began as a victim of her love for Siffredi, but has begun to tire of him and simultaneously become seduced by her shape-shifting powers. Holland is attracted by power; hence her bathroom seduction of chief bitch Gere, which the “victim” accepts with a carefully crafted combination of fear and wonder.
Both Siffredi’s and Jon Dough’s performances must be considered in the light that at least some screen time – over half in Dough’s case – is devoted to the portrayal of Holland-as-Siffredi and Gere-as-Dough. Subtleties of characterization abound if you look for them.
You should know up front that half the cast appears only in the (rather brief) party scene. But viewers won’t care, since the sex scenes generate so much energy and passion. There are undoubtedly several award nominations in the offing for this truly excellent work, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Stores, here’s a rare near-perfect film that will yield you generous profits. The packaging, with Gere and Holland, matches the product in quality.