Mysteries and sex appeal go as well together at the movies as M&Ms and popcorn. (Just throw those two treats together and shake, trust me.) The film canon is well stocked with mystery movies and thrillers with a provocative streak. Going back to prolific director Alfred Hitchcock and his taste in sultry, well-dressed leads and slinky detective stories starring real-life lovers Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Hollywood has long known the value of a sexy whodunnit. More recent releases build on and subvert the mystery-romance tropes defined by those classics, giving movie fans a fresh take on a forever popular genre. The 16 sexy mystery movies you'll see below are a mix of the old and the new: a little Amy Dunne, for the innovators and a little Lisa Fremont, for the purists.
What makes mystery and sex such excellent bedfellows? I think it's partly because misdirection of both the hero and the audience are necessary; pretty people and compromising situations are a great distraction. There's also the implication that sex is something dangerous and impossible to control. The most sexual beings in these stories are drawn to the most perilous situations. Whatever the psychology behind it, the marriage of sex and mystery is a proven cinematic institution.
Sharon Stone uncrossed her legs in this psychological thriller and millions of people have that iconic movie moment to thank for their own sexual awakening.
2. Out Of Sight
Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney (at peak Clooney, may I say) play a little hands-on cops and robbers in this adaptation of a steamy Elmore Leonard novel.
I've seen this David Lynch noir several times and I still can't figure out that obtuse plot. But who needs plot to appreciate the erotic build between stars Naomi Watts and Laura Harring?
4. Body Heat
I'm pretty sure the 1981 mystery Body Heat is the reason late-night Cinemax was invented. Kathleen Turner does her best femme fatale and leaves a trail of destruction in her wake.
5. Gone Girl
Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck are on fire in the movie based on the mystery bestseller of the same title. Never mind that the Dunnes completely loathe each other. Their back-and-forth and Amy's deranged individuality are still hot.
Hello again, Sharon Stone. The leggy blonde actress basically owned this genre in the early '90s. Sliver puts her character in bed with two men in Sliver, one of whom may be a serial killer.
Hush, this counts as a mystery. Anyway, Ghost defined love for me as a kid and though I didn't understand the feelings I was having during the legendary pottery wheel scene, I sure do now.
The Big Sleep is famously riddled with plot holes, but also lousy with the electric chemistry between beloved on and off-screen duo, Bogie and Bacall.
Curtis Hanson's Hollywood-set murder mystery is stylish, period porn; and Kim Basinger wears the hell out of some devastating '50s fashions.
10. Swimming Pool
Ludivine Sagnier's character Julie embodies the open, sexual spirit that her father's reserved British client Sarah (Charlotte Rampling) isn't used to being around. The culture clash leads to some nasty events in this languid drama.
An exceptionally attractive class dive into your dreams in the Christopher Nolan mystery. But what's sexier? Joseph Gordon-Levitt stealing a kiss from Ellen Page mid-heist or Marion Cotillard beckoning to Leonardo DiCaprio from the beyond?
Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar knows how to write obsession. This time, the victim of it is a plastic surgeon played by Antonio Banderas, who's captivated by woman he experiments on.
13. To Catch A Thief
Hitchcock knew how to get around the censorship enforced by the Production Code. Half the fun of watching movies like To Catch A Thief is searching for the innuendos that made it past the suits.
14. The Prestige
Magician doesn't have the reputation of being a particularly sexy profession. But that all changed when Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman played rival illusionists in the 2006 drama with a big final twist..
In this 1981 remake of a Lana Turner classic, Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange collaborate both in the bedroom and on a murder plot.
16. Rear Window
While Jimmy Stewart's injured character spies on his neighbors through a telescope, Grace Kelly sweeps around the apartment in fabulous gowns, doing everything she can to distract him.
Pop on one of these sexy mystery movies the next time you want to make your night a little more interesting than usual.