Street Freaks

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Molly (Donna Wilkes) is 15…an orphan, an honor student…and a prostitute. Hollywood Boulevard after dark is dangerous enough, but now there’s an egg-sucking serial killer (John Diehl, “Cruiser” from Stripes) stalking the filles de joie. Standard 80’s thriller plot…but what makes Angel engrossing, and what makes me remember it 30 odd years after first seeing it is the characters. Diehl’s killer is chilling, silently staring with the blank, intense menace of a mugshot, less a person than a collection of compulsions. Molly looks so cute and innocent, but is streetwise, self-sufficient, self-possessed, intelligent, and strong (New World’s heroines are almost always respectable and tough). Her mentor Mae (Dick Shawn) is a witty drag queen who dresses like Carol Channing. Then there’s the landlady Solly, played by the incomparable Susan Tyrrell…and Western icon Rory Calhoun is “Kit”, a former stuntman who still dresses in cowboy duds and packs six-shooters. These street freaks are a loving surrogate family for Molly. The film has so much heart. Like a lot of the best exploitation movies, people see the lurid poster and go into it expecting a sleazefest, only to be blindsided by an actual plot and a pretty good movie…

 

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