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Disappointed by the box-office generated under its original release title "Sweet Kill", Roger Corman had Curtis Hanson shoot additional sex scenes over a period of two days, to spice-up the film, and retitled it and re-released it as The Arousers. It didn't help the film's box-office much. See more »
"Sweet Kill" was the very first film of writer/director Curtis Hanson who would become reasonably successful and acclaimed more than twenty years later thanks to a couple of popular mainstream titles such as "The River Wild", the Oscar-winning "LA Confidential", "Wonder Boys" and the Eminem biography "8 Mile". But like so many other now famous & influential film makers (Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, James Cameron, Joe Dante, Jonathan Demme ), Curtis Hanson in fact owes his entire career to the support and mentoring of one of the most important individuals in the history of cinema; namely Roger "King of the B's"
Corman. Back when "Sweet Kill" was first released and quickly turned
out unsuccessful at the box-office, it was executive producer Roger Corman who came to the rescue and instructed Curtis Hanson to add a lot more female nudity and change the title to "The Arousers". It didn't help all that much, but at least and thanks to Corman we're treated to copious amounts of gratuitous B, B and B (which stands for boobs, bums and bush). During the first five minutes, for example, 3 different nameless and totally random women are walking nonchalantly through the screen butt-naked! Not taking into account all the bare female flesh, "Sweet Kill" is half fascinating and half of a failure. The film is undoubtedly inspired (like countless of other movies) by Hitchcock's "Psycho", with another cinematic madman that is actually good- looking and sophisticated, but socially incompetent due to his sexual fixation on mommy. Hanson introduces Tab Hunter, a former poster-boy from the fifties, as an introvert serial killer slash gym teacher Eddie Collins. Numerous beautiful and predatory women literally throw themselves at Eddie, but he's only turned on when he pays a prostitute to dress up like his own mother. "Sweet Kill" opens quite promisingly, with the murder of some beach girl and subsequently the hiding of her corpse in the pigeon loft above his apartment (where she remains throughout the entire movie, by the way) but then the film gets gradually more boring, repetitive and predictable. I'm honestly convinced that Curtis Hanson wanted to draw a profound and insightful portrait of his protagonist serial killer, but Eddie Collins remains a bland and largely uninteresting character and he hardly ever succeeds in generating suspense or discomfort. It's a forgettable film, with a nevertheless good performance of Tab Hunter and a fairly uncanny score, and you could probably never guess from this early work that Curtis Hanson would hold an Oscar for best screenplay in his hands 25 years later.
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