An embarrassing credit for everyone involved, this sleazy killer-thriller emerged from the bowels of Roger Corman’s ’70s operation, representing all the worst qualities of the Corman brand and none of the best—with the exception of giving a promising filmmaker his first crack at directing. Curtis Hanson, who later graduated to sophisticated dramas and thrillers including L.A. Confidential (1997), displays zero flair while helming the sordid saga of Eddie Collins, a twisted gym teacher who gets off on killing pretty young women and, eventually, sexually violating their corpses. In the fine tradition of low-rent shockers that rip off Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), Sweet Kill also introduces a mother fixation, since Eddie’s problems date back to a childhood trauma. In any event, the movie is painfully dull to watch because long stretches of time pass during which nothing happens; worse, even when Hanson unleashes something colorful like the disposal of a body, events unfold in quasi-real time, thereby eliminating momentum and suspense. Plus, naturally, the movie reflects Corman’s tendency to compensate for weak narratives with gratuitious nudity, so nearly every actress who appears in Sweet Kill parades around either topless or fully nude in sequences that are more perfunctory than erotic. (The movie actually climaxes with a sort of greatest-tits montage comprising quick glimpses of all preceding skin scenes.) Adding to the overall awfulness of Sweet Kill—which is occasionally exhibited by the alternate titles The Arousers and A Kiss from Eddie—is the presence of 1950s heartthrob Tab Hunter in the leading role. While his willingness to play against type is admirable, he attacks the part with more gusto than skill, resulting in a flat and somewhat inept characterization.
Sweet Kill: LAME