On behalf of all of us here at Art Attack, I'd like to congratulate Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed on the joyous occasion of their marriage.
The pair lived together, "happily unmarried," for 28 years before finally deciding to take the plunge. I have no idea what prompted them to tie the knot (I'm running out of wedding colloquialisms), but I'm reasonably certain it had something to do with sagging ratings for Gene Simmons' Family Jewels.
No word on the state of Simmons' actual jewels.
Simmons, of course, is the bass player and co-founder of Kiss. Tweed is a former Playboy Playmate (and 1982's "Playmate of the Year"). But she's best known to the video store aficionados among us as the star of a series of straight-to-video erotic thrillers from the 1990s. As a present for the happy couple (in spite of not being invited to the wedding -- me, who retired a full colonel in the Kiss Army), here are my six favorite VHS covers from Tweed's illustrious career.
The running gag for the typical evening run to Blockbuster (remember going out to rent movies? How quaint) was to see how many Tweed movies you could find. Once you knew the trick -- every movie she starred in from 1991 Last Call) to 1998 (Naked Lies) featured her in lingerie or strategically concealed nudity on the box cover -- it got old fast.
Yet we can't help but recall them fondly. For while they were all variations of the same mystery-man-enters-illicit-relationship-with-forbidden-woman plot, complete with R-rated dry humping and often (six times) co-starring Andrew Stevens, we weren't what you'd call picky in those days. The internet with all its *cough* booty was still years away, and you took what you could get when it came to nekkid ladies.
Last Call (1991)
Tweed's first foray into lacy video goodness was also one of her most artsy-fartsy: the holdover 80s lighting, the chrome phallus rubbing suggestively against her hip...a perm. The previous decade's influence would not quickly fade, it seems.
And if it's true that "each step, the danger gets closer," maybe Ms. Tweed should dress in something a little more conducive to hand-to-hand combat. At least a purple Kevlar vest or something.
Tweed's inaugural erotic thriller (her previous efforts included Hot Dog...The Movie, Meatballs III, and Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death) would also be one of the last times William Greatest American Hero Katt toplined a movie.
Night Eyes II (1992)
Tweed's first collaboration with Stevens is something something about the sexually neglected wife of a South American businessman blah blah blah who falls for an American security expert. We can only presume it is this guy's eye feature so prominently on the cover.
This was the second in what i guess Stevens intended to be a long-running series about a security consultant who travels the world boning married blonde women (Tanya Stevens in the original Night Eyes). Alas, the series ended after 1996's fourth installment.
Fun fact: Seinfeld's John O'Hurley has a role as a detective.
Possessed by the Night (1994)
Now that I think about it, I have no way of knowing if the shadowy nude body presented here is actually Tweed's. It seems likely, considering she had no qualms about getting starkers in pretty much every movie she made, starting in the first Reagan administration.
And doubtless you'll notice that an eye is once again featured prominently on the cover (do you suppose the Alan Parsons Project ever provided theme music to any of these?). Clearly, few things are as menacing to the 90s woman as a Caucasian guy scowling at them.
Denis Leary must have sent them screaming in droves.
Fun fact #2: co-star Sandahl Bergman played Valeria in the original Conan the Barbarian.
Hard Vice (1994)
I'll give this one an honorable mention, considering she's - technically - fully clothed. Closer inspection will vindicate my decision. I don't remember specifics, but the 90s cop dress code apparently didn't list a bra as mandatory equipment.
Hard Vice was directed by Joey Travolta, brother of John Travolta, who is probably feeling pretty good about his career choices after seeing his bro in Wild Hogs.
Fun fact #3: That puffy guy behind Tweed is Flash Gordon.
Forbidden Sins (1998)
Are any sins not "forbidden?" Isn't that kind of the definition of the word? Why am I getting worked up about this?
Tweed made this when she was 41 years old, bravely going buck naked for the sake of her art. Then again, it's arguable how "brave" you are to get 'em out when you're built like multiple-Playmate Shannon Tweed. I'd say Hugh Hefner's interest in her was warranted, if Hef didn't hustle every pair of boobs that was lured into posing for his magazine that is.
The IMDB summary says, "Shannon Tweed stars as the divorced defense attorney who gets caught in a passionate love affair with an accused murderer." So it's like Jagged Edge if nobody in it could act and Glenn Close took all her clothes off.
Does Glenn Close take her clothes off in that? Note to self: rewatch Jagged Edge, but fast forward through all the boring court stuff.
Of Unknown Origin (1983)
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Tweed's first film, in which she played the wife of Peter RoboCop Weller, is one of my undiscovered favorites. My VHS copy doesn't have this particular cover, but I felt it kept with the theme.
Seriously though, check it out if you like watching one man's descent into obsessive madness. And Tweed gets naked in it...before getting attacked by a giant rat.
She's fine. It was a dream sequence.