Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE HONEYMOON KILLERS, DIRECTED BY LEONARD KASTLE (1969)

Here's one that brings back loads of weirdie memories of my childhood! I remember this outta nowhere surprise because all the boys in the neighborhood were really going "hoo-hah" over the title thinking that THE HONEYMOON KILLERS was gonna be some hotsy totsy dirty movie from the title alone. All because of the mere word "honeymoon" with all of the promise of carnal oompah and other degrading goodies like that! Of course, what could be so sexy about a movie that had the tub female lead seen in the poster posing in a bikini anyway, but that didn't stop the guys from conjuring the most triple-X thoughts about this one! Those were the days when the sight of two casaba melons side by side (ditto balloons that weren't totally filled up and had what looked like pert erect nipples at the tips) or mere mention of an off-color word even when used in a totally different and innocent context (like if you were talking about pussy willows or titmice) could get any self-respecting secks-mad kid off on a laughing jag that would never end!!! I'm sure by now you could see just how much havoc a moom with the title THE HONEYMOON KILLERS could create amongst the more "immature" (as our teachers would say) amongst us. And boy when THE HONEYMOONERS was on tee-vee...

Well, don't expect anything too spicy, and while yer at it don't expect THE HONEYMOON KILLERS to be some jaw-drop-in-awe cinematic excursion that the advance hype surrounding it makes the thing out to be. It's a nicety true, but not exact engrossing the way a variety of 1969-75 (H-wood revival years) features still have you thinking grit and trauma. I'm sure repeated viewings'll make this film "grow" on me, but for right now THE HONEYMOON KILLERS is just a nice average "there" film that doesn't offend, yet doesn't excite either.

Shirley Stoler (Mrs. Steve from the old Pee Pee Herman show) plays this ugly bugly head nurse at a Southern hospital who (thanks to her friend who plays the mother on EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND) hitches up with this suave Spanish Lothario (Tony Lo Bianco) through a lonely hearts club ad. Turns out that the guy's runnin' a racket stringin' on a whole load of over-the-hills for their loot, but whaddaya know the guy actually falls head over Cuban Heels in love with our nurse friend even if she does make Mrs. Kruschev look like Brigette Bardot. After filling her in on the scam, the two go off posin' as brother 'n sister in order to keep the filthy lucre coming in, and eventually the grim spectacle of murder figures into the game before the whole thing unravels in a good enough climax but...

...frankly I was hoping for some more to it, like more violence, gore and shock surprises that keep these films at a high enough level of tension. There are some moments of blood and high intensity to be found like in that one scene where the pair kill with the deft blow of a hammer to the head this aging spinster who looks like Bea Benadaret. I mean other'n that this really ain't nervegrip central...they even hadda drown this one kid off-screen which kinda got me bummed because if anything, ya never get to see kids offed in movies and I for one woulda like to've seen the brat meet her match!

I also woulda hoped for a bit more oomph here'n there to keep me on my tootsies the same way a classic like say, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT could. THE HONEYMOON KILLERS does have some things going for it but it all got wooshed away somewhere in between Francois Truffant mentioning that it was his favorite Amerigan film and the solace that you'll have in knowing at least Stoler won't be doing a nude scene!

Shot in b&w (which might make this the first retro b&w film to be released 'stead of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW), THE HONEYMOON KILLERS at times takes on a NAKED CITY-like ambiance because of the monochrome gloss. The matter-of-fact presentation from the badskis' point-of-view does give this a bit of edginess akin to an old episode of that fabled series sans Paul Burke's sullenness, and if I were to recommend this film it might just be for the way it handles itself w/o leaping into modern Hollywood chic "morality" and other disturbing trends I sure could do without. But man does this film need more of a li'l somethingorother to push it over into acceptable BLOG TO COMM levels of unbridled appreciation.

(And by the way, is that one intended victim who got away after she caught the lovebirds kissing and smooching in the ocean after the attempted suicide of Stoler the same broad who played the sickening straight mother in the infamous anti-punk rock episode of QUINCY? Yeah, Barbara Cason, right? Boy talk about a career that was stuck in neutral considering her appearance on shows like MAMA'S FAMILY; this film must have been the highlight of her career!)

If any of you are doing a MAD-styled fanzine or are planning on doing one (like I think we all wished we could have at one time or another), how about this for an idea...THE HONEYMOONER KILLERS with Ralph and Alice going around doing the same Lothario/sister lonely hearts scam where they knock off unsuspecting ladies on the hunt for some manly companionship! Where Norton and Trixie figure in I do not know, but it's a hotcha idea for a comic dontcha think?

3 comments:

Serena WmS. Burroughs said...

Wow. She makes Divine look like Divine.

Christopher said...

She makes Divine look like a divan.

Donna Lethal said...

Nobody beats Shirley Stoller - but NOBODY - in sheer badness.