Reviewed by Patrick Cooper
Eddie Collins is one handsome-ass gym teacher. The ladies find him irresistible and his male students come to him for relationship advice. But Eddie is harboring some deep mommy issues – ones that cripple his dick and force his rage to boil over. When a woman comes onto him too strong, he flips out and runs away. The only way he can get his rocks off is by hiring a prostitute to dress up like his mother. During one sexual excursion with a woman, Eddie accidentally kills her. This act gets Eddie a little stiff in the trousers and low and behold, he’s discovered another way to get off.
And that’s about it. Written and directed by future Oscar-winner Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential), Sweet Kill is a lesser release in Shout! Factory’s “Roger Corman’s Cult Classics” DVD series. Besides the novelty of it being Hanson’s first film, I have no idea why they even bothered to release it. It’s not a very good movie and doesn’t display any of the craft Hanson later developed. It clunks from one scene to the next with no heightened suspense or even a hint of drama. 1950’s hunk Tab Hunter is appropriately creepy as Eddie, but his bursts of sexual frustration comes off as unintentional comedy most of the time. The rest of the cast is altogether unremarkable.
There are some fun scenes in the beginning with Eddie creeping around women’s apartments, sniffing panties and hiding behind curtains (his sneakers poke out the bottom – classic!). These scenes suggest he’s a full-blown prowling pervert, but this early deviant activity is ignored later in favor of his mommy issues. We never really get a good grasp on what the hell is wrong with this guy.
Sex scenes are drawn out and boring. After it was poorly received in theaters, Corman asked Hanson to go back and shoot some more sex scenes and edit them in. Then Corman re-released the film under the names A Kiss from Eddie and The Arousers, tricking suckers into seeing it again. In Hanson’s original script, the killer was a woman, but Corman made him change that too. The man is a groundbreaking producer, no doubt, but sometimes questionable as an artist.
The transfer is absolute garbage. It’s presented in fullscreen, but is a widescreen movie. Some scenes are so dark they’re nearly completely black. There are scratches and marks consistently throughout the entire film and overall it just looks shitty. This is really sub-par for a Shout! Factory release. They usually crap out these Corman releases with no supplements, so no surprise there, but this one looks particularly crappy.
This one is definitely for Corman completists only. I think even fans of ‘70s sleaze flicks will be disappointed with Sweet Kill.