Down In The Park

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Part gritty cop actioner, part psycho killer thriller and part softcore skin flick, A Scream In The Streets is as mixed up as its villain, a serial killer who trolls a public park and likes to dress like Bea Arthur in Maude. Yep, it’s one of the many films, from Homicidal all the way up to Silence Of The Lambs, which plays off the old myth that people with gender dysphoria are boiling inside with murderous rage. (As far as I know, only two famous killers, Ed Gein and Richard Speck, showed any signs of transgender leanings…and in both cases it was more a coincidental kink than an integral part of their psychopathology.) Anyway, the big question is…does this crazy quilt of an exploitation film work? Well, the cops get plenty of action…on and off the beat. The killer’s acting is even more ridiculous than his wardrobe. The most deftly handled scenes (and the film’s whole raison d’etre, really) are the softcore romps…exploring a sleazy massage parlor, swingers…and bored bisexual housewives. Lifelong members of the raincoat brigade will no doubt recognize porn star Colleen Brennan as the sexy redhead dispatcher. Not a great film by any means…but it does have that classic 42nd Street grindhouse flavor, down to the wocka-chicka theme music…

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