Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Arousers

The Arousers (Sweet Kill) by Curtis Hanson Starring Tab Hunter (1973)

  The beginning looks like it was filmed in French's Yellow mustard-scope or urine stained hobo mattress pee yellow. In the first minute there are two busty girls taking baths and lounging around while someone in the shadows is sniffing panties. Impotent Tab Hunter (kicks his girlfriend into a dresser and accidentally kills her). John Waters must have been aware of this film (he's always ahead of the curve) and possibly had him in mind for Polyester after seeing this sleazeball film. The shot composition is well thought out and effective for such a shoddy looking production. Tab disposes of a body among the rooftop with loud pidgeons squawking in the background. Angus Scrim (with a lot of hair) plays one of the neighbors who nails a pigeon coop shut.
     Tab Hunter plays Eddie Collins (coincidental name from Poor Pretty Eddie), a milk slugging high school gym coach who distributes free sex advice to teens. A groovy housewife with one of the most bland 70's apartments comes onto Tab. He acts very somber around women and the source of his murderous intentions are his own impotence. At first this one reminded me of Love Thrill Murders or Joe but it sadly let me down. Tab walks along the beach and broods (reminiscent of Seconds?), but then the editor abruptly cuts and now he's violently thrown into the next scene; staring at a cheesecakey blonde (a Something Weird Video strip tease looking girl). She wears a veil to bed while Tab clumsily takes her clothes off. This is the first hint that he might be a necrophiliac. A dopey hippie girl gets busted by the cops (I'm still not sure how she is connected to anyone else in the film). Tab gets in the shower with some girl, but as soon as she gets naked, he eerily hides out in the dark and slashes her with an electric knife. He stabs her off screen and calls her a slut. Like Norman Bates (or Ed Gein) he can only get sexual gratification from women once they are dead. 
YUCK a girl!
     A busty, totally naked woman with a towel shows off her body and then disappears (this is a Roger Corman insert that was added after the Sweet Kill moniker tanked). There are random busty naked girls inserted into the film at gratuitous moments (thanks Roger!) and people were actually complaining! like this film had any integrity to begin with!? 
     There is a lot of abrupt edits which get kind of annoying. One girl attempts to get him excited by saying "pretend I'm your mother" and he spits in her face! The new scenes seem out of place ( the non naked girl ones that is) with the original ones from "Sweet Kill". Shout Factory is going to put this out soon on a double feature disc with Naked Angels. It really drags toward the last few minutes and the film gets really dark. The first and second half seem like two very different movies and there's less dialogue and little explanation as to what's going on. The source of his problems and urge to kill are obviously his impotence but it never takes us anywhere further. In the end the film forgets what direction its going in and basically slows down to a crawling pace, just before one final violent stabbing. It's an awkward forgotten movie that isn't really special enough to merit a rediscovery. 
You can stream it here LINK

Too Yellow?


Francine Fishpaw you're my Polyester queen

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