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A Scream in the Streets/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< A Scream in the Streets

Now this is what I'm talkin' about! Remember those Andy Sidaris films that you might have caught on cable back in the early 90's? They were the only types of film where you could rely on seeing plenty of cheesey sex and cheap shoot-'em-up action. Well, this flick right here could have possibly been the blueprint of bridging together the action-crime film with borderline hardcore sex. Sure, you can say that it was John Holmes' Johnny Wadd which kick-started this subgenre, but did his film have a serial-killing, transvestite rapist in it? I don't think so!

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Meet Los Angeles coppers, Haskell & Streeker. Ed Haskell (John Kirkpatric) isn't too jazzed to hear about having a newly-signed partner, Bob Streeker (Frank Bannon) so it's inevitable that these two will get off on the wrong foot. Especially since Streeker's got the by-the-numbers quality about him in booking criminals, while Haskell is more of the "They got rights" variety. Now that I think about it, this duo reminds me a bit of Robert Duvall and Sean Penn in the forthcoming Colors. But anyway, the bond between the two starts to grow when they get involved in some heated action. Speaking of the other action, we go back and forth between the police station where the radio dispatcher (Sharon Kelly of The Dirty Mind of Young Sally and Supervixens) gets her flirt on with patrolman, Brian (Christopher Geoffries) you can count on these two to get their eventual, lustful connection quite sometime soon. In order to spread the love around, we get to see Haskell get busy with his wife Suzie (An uncredited actress who doesn't do that bad of a job) but once the loving's over, Suzie's back to being in a state of fear since there's a rampant serial-killing, transvestite rapist (Con Covert) on the loose. Wait, scratch that "Transvestite" part out. Nobody knows it's a deranged tranny who's doing the killing yet. Aside from a serial rapist, there's also a serial Peeping Tom! Although this is just a clever excuse to throw in some lengthy sex scenes as the Peeper does his peeping on the hotness going on behind closed doors. Not to be outdone, the cops also respond to a sex crime where a kinky massage parlor guest (Who probably has watched one too many Roman-Porno flicks in his day) turns into a sadomasochist against his poor massage therapist! There's also shoot-outs, arrests gone awry, stabbings, whippings, pot-smokin' waterbed humping, a Wah-Wah guitar theme,a cranked up car chase, lesbo muff-munching, and a climactic showdown with the tranny killer! What more could you want?

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It's easy for me to be enthusiastic about this one. To begin with, it's got charm. The cheap kind of charm that I love. Take for instance the fact that you can easily see underneath the serial killer's "female disguise" while the other characters can't is just a thing of beauty. You really can't find cross-gender examples like this in no other cinema. Maybe Hong Kong cinema can come close, but you aren't likely to see near XXX-sex in Hong Kong films in the 70's the way it was done in this Harry Novak production. What's also surprising is that the sex scenes don't get tiresome because each time, you're taken to a different location where different couples are going at it. Plus you have hot sex scenes (Involving Sharon Kelly) and you have comical sex scenes (Involving a duo of "Bored Housewives" who try to lure out the serial peeper) Serving in contrast with the sex scenes are the action scenes. Granted, we're talking low budget here, but whatever the budget was, they seemed to make the most out of it. I especially love the little shoot-out between some mobsters who scream in slo-mo agony like the victims in Thriller: A Cruel Picture. Finally, this movie has probably the most memorable split-screen finale I've ever seen. Think about it, what was the last movie you saw that ended in a split-screen? If A Scream in the Streets is the only one in recorded history, then I couldn't have asked for a better grindhouse classic to originate it.

Reviewed by Laydback

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