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Catalog Number
VHS 3016
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Release Year
VHS | SP | Slipcase
108 mins (NTSC)
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Spetters (1981)

Additional Information

Additional Information
Spetters further elaborates on the themes of sexual obsession previously probed in director Paul Verhoeven's Turkish Delight (1973). Hans Van Tongeren, Toon Agterberg and Maarten Spanjer play, respectively, Reen, Eve and Hans, a closely-knit group of teenage motorcycle lovers who idolize local cycling champion Witkamp (played by Rutger Hauer, the star of Delight). Unfortunately, the adolescents' attempts to rebel take a dark and brutal turn when Van Tongeren is permanently injured in a road accident and Agterberg is gang raped by a group of homosexuals. While the other two young men lust after Fientje (Renee Soutendjik), a promiscuous hashhouse waitress, Agterberg responds to the rape by coming out and taking Fientje's gay brother as a lover. Verhoeven is artistically and sexually graphic in juxtaposing "cycle love" with the friends' carnal interrelations. The title of Spetters is an indigenous triple-entendre -- it refers to the Dutch vernacular for "grease spatterings" (both the oily renderings left behind by the motorcycles commandeered by the film's central characters and the grease slung by Soutendjik), is a slang term for male ejaculate, and was frequently used in the seventies and eighties to refer to people who are sexually appealing ("That girl is a spetter.")

Spetters led to protests about the manner in which Verhoeven portrayed gays, Christians, the police, and the press. Although Verhoeven made one more film in the Netherlands, the response to Spetters led him to leave for Hollywood. Despite the large amount of controversy surrounding it, the film proved to be popular, with 1,124,162 admissions in the Netherlands alone. From a financial perspective, the film proved to be a disappointment,[according to whom?] given that the production ran seriously behind schedule and over budget.
The careers of Maarten Spanjer and Renee Soutendijk were launched by the film, but it did not do much for the other young lead actors. Hans van Tongeren committed suicide in 1982.
The film was a small success in the United States but it did help the launching of the careers of Verhoeven and the actors Jeroen Krabbé, Rutger Hauer and Soutendijk in Hollywood.[2]

Release Date: February 8, 1981

Distrib: Samuel Goldwyn Company

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