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Cleopatra's Second Husband

8 customer reviews

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(Jul 30, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Blackly comic, perversely erotic, and thoroughly unpredictable, the genre-bending story of psychological games, Cleopatra's Second Husband begins innocently enough with a hen-pecked husband Robert (Paul Hipp) and his ovulation-obsessed wife, Hallie, (Bitty Schram) leaving on a trip to the country to relax and get pregnant. On a friend's recommendation they hire the sexy young couple Zack (Boyd Kestner) and Sophie (Radha Mitchell) to housesit. When Robert and Hallie return home, they find their fish dead, their house a mess and their kinky house guests unwilling to leave. What begins as a house-sitter from hell story soon turns into a psychological game of cat and mouse. The events that unfold "recalls the Harold Pinter-Joseph Losey classic 'The Servant' in its look at an insidious power shift between unsavory men in a household." (Daily Variety)


Draws us into a mysteriously erotic and downright sadistic inferno of unbridled emotion! --LA International Film Festival

Harrowing yet delicious and often wickedly funny! --Filmmaker Magazine

Blackly comic & thoroughly unpredictable! Never goes where you think it will! --Detour Magazine

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Hipp, Boyd Kestner, Bitty Schram, Radha Mitchell, Alexis Arquette
  • Directors: Jon Reiss
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • DVD Release Date: July 30, 2002
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067IXL
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,675 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cleopatra's Second Husband" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lleu Christopher on August 1, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This is a fascinating look at the dark turns unhealthy relationships can take. This low budget film, written and directed by Jon Reiss, starts off innocuously enough. Robert (Paul Hipp) and Halle (Bitty Schram) are a rather boring,yuppyish LA couple. Halle is domineering in a whiny sort of way; her husband is submissive in a detached sort of way. This fact does not seem very interesting at the outset, but it sets the stage for the rest of the film's bizarre developments. Paul and Halle go on vacation and entrust their house to the care of another couple, Zach (Boyd Kestner) and Sophie (Radha Mitchell). Those of us who have seen any psychological thrillers know that this is a fatal mistake, but Paul and Halle are preoccupied with their own issues. Theirs is a passionless marriage; Halle regulates their sex life based on her ovulation cycles. Paul, meanwhile, is trying to jumpstart a fledgling career as a photographer. He is also a hypochondriac who constantly downs herbal remedies. When they return, the house is a mess and Paul's tropical fish are dead. Zach and Sophie declare they have no place to go, and convince the other couple to let them stay another week. From here, things turn at first predictably, then unpredictably dark and strange. Sophie seduces Paul; Halle leaves. Zach gradually reveals himself to be a sadistic psychopath who easily dominates the physically and emotionally weaker Paul. The rest of the film is all about violence, sado-masochism and revenge. Jon Reiss does a very good job of allowing his film to sneak up on us. It doesn't exactly build suspense in the manner of Hollywood film; the pace is slow and the mood changes subtly rather than abrubtly. Those looking for a conventional suspense-thriller may become bored early on, as it starts off rather sluggishly.Read more ›
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Word Sorceress on August 10, 2003
Format: DVD
Full disclosure: I rented this film because a former boyfriend of mine was the director of photography and I was curious to see what he'd been up to. For a low-budget film, it is gorgeously filmed (good job, Matt Faw!) and well acted. Given the title and the word "erotic" on the cover, I was expecting the plot to evolve into a kinky threesome, but instead its twistedness takes a whole different route. It starts out normally enough: a couple who's stressed out from trying to get pregnant takes a vacation and allows another couple they don't really know to house-sit. When they get back, the house-sitters won't leave. The mind-games quickly escalate and eventually turn violent and unexpectedly (but very inventively) sadistic. Not a date movie, but definitely worth watching if you like odd, twisted, offbeat films. (And the director's commentary only added to my appreciation of the cast and crew's achievement.)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LGwriter on January 18, 2004
Format: DVD
The first half of this film actually works well because the dynamics of the two couples portrayed are sizzling, punchy, and smart. One of them is a yuppie duo made up of a photographer obsessed with somewhat creepy subjects, and his wife who's equally compulsive in her behavior about trying to become pregnant. These two obvious uptighters are paired off against a couple who are the obvious opposite--wild with enormous libidos, selfish, and inconsiderate.
It's when the film progresses to the dynamics of the two men alone that it encounters serious problems. The interaction here is much too forced, contrived; there's a lot of treading water here, but the water is pseudo-water and the treading is thrashing about without a reason. After all, why thrash around in water that's not even water? Without giving away the plot points here, it's just not credible that the dominant one of this male pair would continue to accept the ministrations of the other man after a major problem arises. In addition, the dominant guy's treatment of the other man is much too crudely handled.
This obvious lack of credibility ruins the entire second half of the film whose ending would otherwise be very creepy. But because the events leading up to it really don't work, the ending suffers considerably. We just don't buy it.
Had the filmmaker thought through the interaction of the two men more carefully and plotted the film in this middle section more believably, this would have been a significantly stronger piece of work. As it is, it is a muddle whose three stars are for the strong first half and some definite creepiness in the ending section. In addition, any title that requires serious cogitation to understand (after which it is STILL not understood) is perhaps somewhat suspect.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 10, 2012
Format: DVD
<strong>Cleopatra's Second Husband</strong> (Jon Reiss, 1998)

When it comes to bad movies, there are circles. There is the bad film. (And to continue the Dante allegory, Purgatory is the place where one finds those so-bad-they're-great films of which we all have a nostalgic library in our heads.) There is the awful film. There is the terrible film. Etc., etc. ad nauseam, all the way down to the ninth circle. In my own personal film mythography, the ninth circle of celluloid hell can only ever be occupied by one movie. That movie holds the title of The Worst Movie Ever Made That Does Not Star Hugh Grant. (The qualifier is there because <em>About a Boy</em> is, and will most likely always be, the worst, most offensive film ever made.) Since I came up with this analogy, a single film has held the title: <em>Zombies Ate My Neighbours: The Movie</em>, a film you have almost certainly not seen made by a bunch of amateurs who were most likely very drunk the entire time. It is the kind of thing that will make you want to tear your eyes out of your head and re-insert them incorrectly so you never have to be exposed to the horror that is <em>Zombies Ate My Neighbours: The Movie</em> again. Where <em>About a Boy</em> is the worst movie ever made because it is offenseive to the very core, <em>ZAMN:TM</em> is the second-worst movie ever made because it is so completely inept an attempt at making a movie.

Or at least, it was, in my universe, the second-worst movie ever made until last night, when I first encountered the bottoless pit of despair that is <em>Cleopatra's Second Husband</em>.

My problem is that I am a Radha Mitchell fan. Well, okay, "fan" may be a bit of an understatement.
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