It’s super unlikely that you’ve never heard me not reference something from the eighties. I blame this entirely on my obsession with the video shop (millennials asking WTH are those?). Every weekend, we could choose a video, sometimes two, and armed with parents who had no issue whatsoever with things like age restrictions, I got to watch acres of that decade’s celluloid finest and not-so-finest too. Is it any wonder that upcoming novel The Romeo Prototype gives a nod to Romancing the Stone and Weird Science? None. As for Watched?
Let me break it down for you:
A Night in Heaven. A little context…male strippers were BIG back then, and other movies like Summer School exploited the male-student-by-day-stripper-by-night angle as a C or even D storyline. But A Night in Heaven had student Christopher Atkins (post Blue Lagoon, pre Dallas) seduce, sort of, his older, married teacher Lesley Ann Warren*. Warning: this movie is worse than terrible, and has exactly (in my non-expert opinion) one killer song (Heaven by Bryan Adams) and one redeeming scene. Said scene features Christopher Atkins - blonde, blue-eyed and kind of jail-baity - dressed up as a rocketman which firmly cemented my thing for men in racing gear complete with helmet (yes, Daft Punk are hot). He humps the bannister (hot, well, you can judge for yourself - have a look here), and spots his teacher, who just flunked him nogal, in the audience. Sparks fly and as someone yells, “Give him an A. Look at him!”
Not that my Cameron is a stripper. He’s not. But, teacher/student…
Which led me to the next bit of weird inspiration: Self-control by Laura Branigan, a single released a year after the epic fail of A Night in Heaven. Switch on any nostalgia radio station, and you’ll hear this little ditty to the creatures of the night. But it’s the video that had me looking twice. Sjoe. It’s hot. Like serious flames. That masked stranger guy (okay, he’s stalking her, I do get that but in this context, it’s sort of Phantom of the Opera way before its time and other voyeuristic overtones). I once read that women’s top fantasies often involve faceless or masked strangers. They also tend to involve exhibitionism. Well, the late Ms Branigan must have been up-to-date on her research, because this video nails it.
Somehow or other, these two bits of eighties collided in my coffee-addled brain, and Watched was born. So far, there haven’t been any flashes of inspiration combining Gremlins and Perfect in which little green monsters terrorise the local gym’s singles scene. Maybe that’s a good thing.
*On re-watching, as a woman with more mature taste, Lesley Ann Warren’s husband is way way hotter. And taller.