The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival


Verhoeven Month and Frida After Dark collide yet again with one of the most notorious Hollywood disasters of all time: Showgirls.

Dreaming of life as a top showgirl, Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) finds herself employed at Cheetah’s Topless Club and looked down upon by high-profile dancers like Cristal Conners (Gina Gershon), the cut-throat bisexual headliner for the Stardust Casino. Cristal goes out of her way to torment and humiliate Nomi, who becomes involved with Cristal’s powerful boyfriend, Zack Carey (Kyle MacLachlan). Clawing her way to the top and trying to escape her past, Nomi finds out there’s harsh cruelty behind the glitz-and-glamor.

Hyped up as the only NC-17-rated film widely released in theaters for nudity, erotic sexuality, graphic language, and sexual violence, Showgirls was critically and commercially panned, but remains a powerhouse of so-bad-its-hilarious cinema decades after its release.


“It is a long, ambitious and shocking exercise that aims so high – and with such detached logic – that we are driven to watch on in the same manner that eyewitnesses watch on at a train wreck.” — David Keyes,

“Is it sexy? Not when you’re laughing.”— Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

“I was absolutely gobsmacked […] And you somehow try to convince yourself that it’s going to get better… and it just gets worse. […] Now, of course, it has a whole other life as a sort of inadvertent… ‘satire”‘isn’t the right word. But it’s inadvertently funny. So it’s found its place. It provides entertainment, though not in the way I think it was originally intended.” — Kyle MacLachlan, AV Club