Of course, like any genre, there were various offshoots, ripoffs, and predecessors to the Douglas, Stone, and Eszterhas glory days. Noirs like Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity (1944) and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) offered genuine psychological tension without the nudity, but '80s films like Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill (1980), Lawrence Kasdan's Body Heat (1981), and Paul Schrader's delightfully bonkers Cat People (1982) effectively set the stage for the sexy eruption of movies to come. Surprise: audiences liked watching attractive people take off their clothes and solve mysteries.
In the '90s, things got crazier than a party at David Caruso's fuck house. In the wake of Basic Instinct, we got less-well-known movies with vaguely sensual titles like Consenting Adults (1992), Body of Evidence (1993), and the Bruce Willis(!)-featuring Color of Night (1994). The late '90s saw the genre become more experimental and daring in the ways it portrayed sexuality on screen, with movies like the Wachowski siblings' Bound (1996), David Cronenberg's Crash (1996), and John McNaughton's softcore cable classic Wild Things (1998) finding new ways to provoke, confound, and, yes, titillate. At the time, it looked like the reign of the erotic thriller would last forever.