This-TV is my only real friend
Yes, the suspense was killing me. It was Saturday night, I was broke, the trains were running for shit, so I turned the TV to This. Then CALENDAR GIRL MURDERS appeared like a vision before me. ‘Hmmm... Tom Skerritt, Sharon Stone, ‘80s models in leotards, January, February – Think I’ll see where they’re going with this.’
I’ve always found Skerritt (M*A*S*H, ALIEN, THE DEVIL'S RAIN) an appealing screen presence, sort of a Bridges/Russell everyman with a bit more world-weary baggage in the ‘stache. This movie is basically a TV-cop vehicle (maybe a pilot?) in which his LA detective (Dan Stoner!) must unravel a troubling string of (yup) ‘Calendar Girl Murders.’ For Stone, it’s a dry-run for BASIC INSTINCT, her model-turned-photographer playing for sympathy and protection from Stoner, as the deaths point ever-closer to the blonde herself.
Robert Culp is Richard Trainor, a billionaire Hef-like publisher whose girls are dying off right after their awesome ‘80s photo-shoot and party montages. Alan 'Growing Pains’ Thicke is the seen-it-all fashion photographer who snaps the dream-girls. (including BABYLON 5’s sexy Commander Susan Ivanova, Claudia Christian). There is no discernible nudity (at least when I watched), but the atmosphere is undeniably arousing, along the lines of Crichton’s fashion/slasher movie LOOKER on a shoestring TV-movie budget.
There’s a nailbiter pool-volleyball photo-shoot sequence, in which a black-gloved hand turns the pool temperature dial ever-higher while the deliciously clueless female models toss the ball around in haunting dreamy slo-mo. There’s also a ridiculous white guy breakdance duo sequence at a swank fashion party, where Stoner awkwardly intrudes in the LA party clique.
Stoner delves nonchalantly deeper into the mystery, encountering red herrings and fake-killer ‘gotchas’ like a creepy stalker photographer and drunk has-been lounge singer along the way. A few TV standard car-chases and squad-room scenes are good times to pee. Though he has a trusty homely wife, he allows Stone to flirt (Stone and Stoner!) and serve him hot toddies in her beach house, until one day he comes upon her revealing high-school yearbook.
Spoilers: Turns out she was just a small-town girl (living in a lonely world), and the illegitimate daughter of Richard Trainor.
See, she was just jealous.