10 Best Erotic Thrillers Ever

10. Basic Instinct

Sony Pictures

It's nigh-on impossible to hear the words 'erotic thriller' without immediately thinking of this movie. It wasn't the first film of its kind, but it perfected the formula, and everything that came in its wake set out to ape its success.

Released in 1992, director Paul Verhoeven struck gold with the combination of megastar leading man Michael Douglas, a then-comparatively unknown Sharon Stone, and a script from Hollywood enfant terrible Joe Eszterhas.

No one could stop talking about it at the time, and 26 years on Basic Instinct remains quite an eye-opener, given its unflinchingly over-the-top displays of sex and violence. It's a little hard to believe a major studio would be willing to put a big budget behind something so outrageous.

Still, the investment paid off. Basic Instinct took almost $353 million worldwide, making it the fourth biggest hit of 1992 (studios weren't so nervous about R-rated movies back then).

It reaffirmed the star status of Douglas, who already had some history in the genre; but above all else, the role of sexually liberated author and possible homicidal maniac Catherine Tramell established Sharon Stone as arguably the biggest female sex symbol of the 1990s.

Stone became unanimous with the erotic thriller, taking on further raunchy roles in Sliver, The Specialist, and ultimately 2006's Basic Instinct 2; Douglas returned to similar territory with Disclosure; but Verhoeven, having brought the genre to its pinnacle, would more or less kill it off with 1995's Showgirls.

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