The teen stalker/obsession flick The Crush is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The Fatal Attraction-esque psychological thriller was originally released in theaters on April 2, 1993 and became a hit that undoubtedly influenced the future of a sub-genre. The film stars a pre-Clueless Alicia Silverstone in her feature film debut. Silverstone plays Adrian Forrester, a 14 year old girl who develops a dangerous and deadly crush on Nick Eliot, the man who is renting her parents’ guest house. After Nick refuses her advances, Adrian attempts to ruin his life.
The Crush was written and directed by Alan Shapiro for Morgan Creek and Warner Bros. The cast is chock full of recognizable faces from the horror genre. Most fans will recognize Amber Benson (Cheyenne) from her role of Tara on TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Jennifer Rubin (Amy Maddick) has starred in several horror flicks including A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), Bad Dreams (1988), and Screamers (1995). Cary Elwes (Nick Eliot) is most notable to horror fans as Dr. Lawrence Gordon from the Saw franchise. Not long after The Crush, Alicia Silverstone (Adrian Forrester) went on to find super stardom with her breakout lead role as Cher in 1995’s Clueless, but she has also starred in plenty of genre-friendly fare over the years. For example, during the 1990s Silverstone starred in Hideaway (1995), True Crime (1995), The Babysitter (1995), and, more recently, Vamps (2012) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017).
Currently, The Crush has a 26% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the low score from critics hasn’t deterred the film from gaining a strong following over the years. Produced on a budget of $6 million, The Crush more than doubled its budget dollars in earnings to the tune of over $13 million at the box office. Alan Shapiro, has said that his film is inspired by a real-life incident. In a bit of controversy surrounding the film, it is interesting to note that there was a lawsuit concerning the use of the name of Alicia Silverstone’s character, Darian Forrester.
Aside from jump-starting its primary star’s acting career, The Crush also influenced the future of teen cinema. Prior to the release of The Crush, the stalking and obsession sub-genre of thrillers was mostly contained to stories dealing with adult characters; Fatal Attraction, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Single White Female, etc. But Before you get all “Poison Ivy was released before The Crush,” just hear me out. The similarly themed Poison Ivy starring Drew Barrymore was dumped into a small number of theaters in 1992 and was a financial failure for New Line Cinema. After the seemingly ill fated release of Poison Ivy (whih did go on to become a hit via VHS and cable TV), it appeared that the general movie going public wasn’t quite ready for a new genre of teen thrillers. All of that changed after the wide release and ultimate box office success of The Crush.
The Crush has had a lasting impression these last 25 years, and it’s fingerprints can be seen in stalker/obsession movies, even now. Since it’s release in 1993 we have seen no shortage of teen thrillers including Fear (1996), Swimfan (2002) and The Boy Next Door. Are you a fan? What is your favorite teen stalker/obsession flick? Spill your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook group, Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Film Street.