At the peak of his powers, Brian De Palma embraced his reputation for being regularly provocative and controversial, with Dressed to Kill summing up just how polarizing his filmography could be during the golden period that saw him deliver the likes of Carrie, The Fury, Blow Out, Scarface, Body Double, and The Untouchable in the span of little over a decade.
Currently packing a modern-day Certified Fresh approval rating of 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and landing a Golden Globe nomination for star Nancy Allen following its release, the psychological erotic thriller would also go on to recoup its $6.5 million budget nearly five times over at the box office, which might lead you to believe it was a unanimously-approved hit.
On the other side of the coin, Dressed to Kill netted three Razzie nods for Worst Actress, Worst Actor, and Worst Director, while the narrative ended up causing widespread protests and boycotts. Heavily criticized for its depiction of violence against women being used for entertainment, the transgender community were also understandably furious about the depiction of a key character.
Just a few years ago, De Palma commented and admitted that “obviously I realize that it’s not good for their image to be transgender and also be a psychopathic murderer,” which would be underselling the issues quite dramatically. Either way, Dressed to Kill has cast aside the longstanding controversy to reappear on streaming 43 years on from its release, with FlixPatrol naming it as one of Prime Video’s biggest hits.