Here's a quick list of some of the movies Eszterhas wrote: the Glenn Close courtroom thriller Jagged Edge (1985), the leg-crossing bombshell Basic Instinct (1992), the less-beloved Sharon Stone vehicle Sliver (1993), the David Caruso in a "fuck house" experiment Jade (1995), and the camp classic Showgirls (1995). These movies vary wildly in tone, veering from genuinely intense to winking self-parody, but they're unified by violent plot twists, seedy sex scenes, and hilariously vulgar dialogue, like, "I do the fucking, I never get fucked!" and "Fucker! Fuck off!" They are glorious.
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.