Monday, May 01, 2017

I Scream, You Scream...Basically, Just Scream

A Scream in the Streets (1973)

Oh, what to say about this film?

This movie isn't boring. This movie is sleazy. This movie works fairly well within its very low budget. This movie has probably never crossed your radar.

A Scream in the Streets is the story of a killer rapist and the mostly ineffectual police who attempt to capture the criminal. The rapist is a nasty one who not only has a deep sense of anger towards women, but seems to also be jealous as he dresses like a woman to get closer to his victims. Maybe he is killing that part of himself that he sees as corrupt or wrong. Maybe he was raised in a broken home. Maybe he is just doing what the script called for.

Well, the movie is a softcore porn/action hybrid, so I doubt the writers were going for any real depth. What sells tickets better than violence and sex? No, not Justin Bieber. The correct answer is NOTHING! Well, maybe videos of cute kittens, but you can get enough of that on Youtube for little trouble.

On a positive note, the movie does attempt to give you actual characters. Even a hooker who is beaten with a belt is given enough screen time that you feel bad for her. Then you have one of the main cops whose wife was apparently raped earlier in life, so we are given a sense that her fear of the current rapist is valid. Oh, and one of the cops likes to bowl. If that doesn't endear him to you, you have no soul!

The most amazing thing about this movie is that, once it is over, you are left wondering how they managed to fill the run time when very little really happens. Well, it's those drawn out sex scenes that aren't very sexy, but they aren't dull either. One fine example is the two bisexual housewives putting on a fairly convincing sex show for a peeping tom while one of them covertly calls the police. 

Yes, this is one sleazy film, but they know how to set up their scenes to keep you from becoming bored enough to shut the thing off. Giving credit where credit is due.

A Scream in the Streets is difficult to find now. Something Weird did release it, but the rights to the film are held by the estate of Harry Novak, and Something Weird's license to his films expired a number of years ago. Harry Novak is a good subject for a future posting. He is both famous AND infamous in exploitation history for the films he helped distribute and for his cutthroat tactics in dealing with filmmakers.

Is it worth watching? Oh, hell, yes! It makes a perfect companion with Drive-In Massacre, another sleazy film with a focus on the two cops trying to solve a series of murders at a drive-in theater.


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