Does Sex Scare Arnold? 'Running Man' Tells Why Lust & Action Don't Mix

Posted: November 24, 1987

Last summer, Arnold Schwarzenegger smeared himself with mud and schlepped through dense jungle foliage to fight the outer-space "Predator" with the botched orthodontics job. Worldwide, Schwarzemaniacs paid $100 million to watch their man permanently correct the critter's overbite.

There was one woman in that picture and she was ignored by the Muscled One.

A couple of weeks ago, Schwarzenegger returned in "The Running Man" to do battle with evil game-show host Richard Dawson in a world gone mad with blood lust. Mobs of delirious Schwarzemaniacs paid $8 million on the first weekend and immediately knocked the adulterous "Fatal Attraction" out of the No. 1 box office spot.

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Blood Lust KOs Love Lust: that's been the case in Schwarzepics since 1982, when "Conan the Barbarian" racked up $100 million internationally and catapulted the world's best-built man to stardom.

Man of action, man of abstinence. What could be more appropriate for a hero in the safe-sex '80s?

Although he has rubbed out a cajillion goons in "Commando," "Raw Deal," ''Predator" and "The Running Man," Schwarzenegger has not had on-screen sex since "Conan" . . . and I think I know why.

There he was, looking mighty spiffy in his loin cloth and leggings, hot- footing it over the plains of Europe, jogging through the Dark Ages when, suddenly, he comes upon a thatched hut and confronts his very first half-naked Brazen Woman.

She has long dark hair, deep dark eyes and an excessive amount of mascara for the Dark Ages. She strikes a 13th and Locust streets pose and asks, "Do you not wish to warm yourself by my fire?" Schwarzenegger manages to blurt out the Dark Ages equivalent of "Whadduya, kidding? Yeah!"

In the middle of their lovemaking, she turns into a she-devil, shrieks in a highly unattractive manner and attempts to severe Arnold's neckbone. He is obliged to render her dysfunctional.

Later, Schwarzenegger makes love to a Good Woman and the evil Thulsa Doom promptly kills her by placing a snake, arrow-like, into his bow and shooting it into her heart.

Apparently scarred for life, Schwarzenegger swore off cinematic sex right then and there and has remained celibate ever since.

Typically, in "The Running Man," his relationship with the ripely sexual Maria Conchito Alonso is cantankerous from the start.

He is an honest cop who has just escaped from prison after being framed by the evil government in the totalitarian America of 2019. She is a jingle writer for the government-controlled TV network that pacifies the starving masses with lethal game shows like "The Running Man."

He breaks into her apartment. He wants her help. She wants him dead. ''You're gonna come with me," he says, glaring.

"Why should I?" she huffs.

"Because," he says politely, "I'm gonna say please." On the word ''please," he rips her exercise table out of the floor. She goes with him, but it is clear she has heard better lines in totalitarian singles bars.

Schwarzenegger used a similar approach in "Commando" when, hot on the trail of his kidnapped daughter, he introduces himself to the lovely Rae Dawn Chong by ripping the passenger seat out of her little red sportscar and forcing her to tail a sleazebag in a yellow Porsche.

"Can you tell me what this is all about?," Chong asks.

"Yeah," Schwartzenegger replies. "A guy I trusted for years wants me dead.

"That's understandable," Chong says. "I've only known you for five minutes, and I want you dead too."

In all of his pictures, Schwarzenegger is up to here in gunsels. He hasn't got time to flirt, much less pitch serious woo.

In "The Running Man," which was written by "Commando" veteran Steven E. de Souza, he carries steel girders and says stuff like, "All I've seen is a bunch of low foreheads who think they can change the world with talk. If you're not ready to act, gimme a break and shut up!"

He fights Professor Subzero, a 350-pound hockey goalie with a scalpel-sharp stick; Buzzsaw, a 325-pound chainsaw massacre maven who ends up with a split personality; Dynamo, a 325-pound electrified opera singer who arias his victims to death; and Fireball, played by Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, who flies through the air and attempts to defoliate Schwarzenegger's trademark crewcut.

No time for dames, Schwarzenegger explains in a recent interview. Punches and punchlines are what the Schwarzemaniacs crave.

"What people like to see," Schwarzenegger says, "is not just a power machine kicking butt on the screen. They expect me to kill people. But when we do test screenings, they always rate my humor very high because it surprises them.

"Sex is another story. Sex slows things down. Sex has no place in a true action movie."

There you have it in black and white. Like the rest of us, Schwarzenegger is caught up in that '80s dilemma of career vs. quality time in the social arena.

After a hard day of apprehending rural perpetrators in "Raw Deal," Schwarzenegger comes home to find his tipsy wife icing a chocolate cake and complaining about being bored with farm town life.

Ever the conscientious bodybuilder, Schwarzenegger eyes the cake with disdain. "This is gonna make us fat," he says.

"You think because we're in shape we're not already fat?" his enraged spouse yells. "We're like all the cows they raise around here. Stuck. Victims of circumstance. And you know what a cow's biggest contribution to this world is?"

She spells it out in whipped cream on top of the cake and flings it at him, hitting the wall. Schwarzenegger glares at her and says, "You should not drink and bake."

Later in the picture, he turns down a warm and willing Kathryn Harrold

because he's too busy getting ready to mow down several hundred members of the Mob.

Will the Flex Symbol ever be a Sex Symbol?.

"The Running Man" goes so far as to allow him several smoldering glances and one big screen kiss with the alluring Alonso. Is this a sexual breakthrough in the Schwarzepsyche? Arnold says no, but he smiles when he says it. Stay tuned.

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