An oddball piece from first scene to last, Love Object could hardly be described as a well-known film.

In fact, I’ve never actually met anyone who has heard of it, let alone seen it.

But that made me all the more determined to pen this piece, as if my humble words convince even a single film fan to seek this one out, then it is job done in my book.

I honestly don’t remember why I picked this 2003 effort off the rental shelves back in the day – perhaps it is the ‘from the producers of American Psycho’ blurb splashed across the DVD cover.

But it didn’t take long for me to realise that what I was watching was something pretty different – and a memorable flick at that.

Desmond Harrington takes the lead, playing Kenneth, a nerdy, socially awkward character who works as a technical writer at an instruction manual company.

Uncomfortable in the company of women, Kenneth’s world is thrown into chaos when he is given a secretary for his new assignment, played by Melissa Sagemiller.

At the same time, and frustrated by his lack of sexual success, Kenneth decides to fork out $10,000 on Nikki, a top-of-the-range deluxe sex doll.

Being able to design the features of the doll himself, he elects to model it on Lisa (Sagemiller).

Banging ‘Nikki’ at every opportunity he gets, Kenneth suddenly finds himself growing in confidence and even manages to take Lisa out on a date.

But soon enough things take a very uneasy turn as the writer starts to lose his grip on reality – modelling Nikki on Lisa, Lisa on Nikki and imagining all three being involved in some sort of bizarre love triangle.

Before long his troubles begin to manifest both at work and home, with a snoopy neighbour (played by genre legend Udo Kier) proving a particular menace.

Can Kenneth keep both women in his life happy? Will his simmering rage bubble over? Will Lisa cotton on to the fact that she is up against a very different type of ‘model girlfriend’?

All gets resolved very neatly in an excellent climax – an about turn that I must admit had me whooping and hollering when I first saw it.

Directed by Robert Parigi, Love Object is so off the wall it was never going to be a big hit, or garner many fans – think of it as Lars and the Real Girl dipped in horror.

But everybody in it is in pretty top form, from Harrington (who went on to star in Wrong Turn before getting his Dexter gig), through to Sagemiller and Rip Torn as the company boss.

There is also a brief turn from Michael Pena as a cop trying to get to the bottom of the mess.

Love Object is a daring film and pretty perverse at times, with a strain of jet-black humour running through its veins.

But if is something a bit unique, a bit risky but definitely rewarding you are looking for, then this is definitely for you.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.