Special to The Washington Post

This week's videos deal with the seamy side of life in four films rife with sex and violence. Three of the films ("Dressed to Kill," "Scarface" and "Body Double") were directed by Brian DePalma. The other, "Crimes of Passion," was directed by Ken Russell ("Altered States," "Women in Love," "The Devils").

Among the many disturbing elements of these films is the fact that star performers such as Al Pacino, Michael Caine and Kathleen Turner lowered themselves to participate in such seedy projects. Is the script well in Hollywood thatdry?

DePalma and Russell do show imagination in their ability to utilize unusual instruments for killing in their gory murder scenes. In "Scarface" a chain-saw is used to carve up a drug dealer. In "Body Double" an electric drill is struck through a woman's stomach. In "Crimes of Passion" a steel dildo is used as a murder weapon.

Feminists have criticized DePalma for being a misogynist. Recently he responded to them by saying simply, "It's a free world; don't buy a ticket."

Listen to him.


The great American success story. A Cuban boat refugee in Miami rises rapidly from detainee to international cocaine dealer. Starring Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Loggia and F. Murray Abraham ("Amadeus" -- best actor Oscar). Here are three action packed hours of bad language, drugs, sex and violence. The shooting gallery scene at film's end would do Rambo proud.

DRESSED TO KILL (Warner, 1980)

A pschiatrist (Michael Caine) tries to conceal the identity of a murderer thathe knows only too well. An intriguing plot is aided by strong supporting performances by Dennis Franz ("Hill Street Blues" and "Bay City Blues) as the investigating detective, Keith Gordon as the electronic whiz kid, and Nancy Allen as the witness/prostitute. With Angie Dickenson. This one even has a clip from a "Donahue" show on transsexuals.

BODY DOUBLE (RCA/Columbia, 1984)

A claustrophobic, voyeur actor tries to save from murder a Hollywood Hills neighbor on whom he has been spying. Starring Craig Wasson and Melanie Griffith. DePalma falls short on his Hitchcock imitation. Nicely photographed.

CRIMES OF PASSION (New World, 1984)

A designer/prostitute draws the attention of a deranged preacher and an unfufilled middle-class husband. Starring Kathleen Turner ("Romancing The Stone" and "Body Heat"), Anthony Perkins ("Psycho" and "Fear Strikes Out") and John Laughlin.