Alas, we have hit the 20% mark. Feel any different?
Tonight's selection comes from the end of the late 80's giallo boom. You know what that means: Big hair, fishnet stockings, overdone makeup. Or, as I like to call it, the manager's meeting at my old job.
Much like Libido, Sweets From a Stranger is the only film directed by a man who has otherwise contributed many times to the genre we all know and love. Franco Ferrini's work in gialli includes cowriting duties with Dario Argento in many films (Phenomena, Stendhal Syndrome, Il Cartaio amongst others), as well as work on Red Rings of Fear, part of the Schoolgirls in Peril trilogy.
Sweets revolves around a group of prostitutes. A maniac is bicycling through town killing ladies of the night. Of course, the police isn't really doing anything about it. So they decide to join forces to find and stop the killer.
After two murders, the giallo aspect gets pushed aside in favor of a "slice-of-life" approach. We follow the prostitutes during their every day lives, as they raise families, try to make ends meet, and get thrown out of night time church services (in a sequence complete with a little girl calling one girl an "evil woman" and a "tramp"). Like a precursor to the scene in Pretty Woman where they wouldn't let her shop. Or the last time I walked into Abercrombie and Fitch.
We mostly follow one woman, the slightly Jamie-Lee-Curtis looking Lena, in her day-to-day life. After starting to work in a new area, her rival prostitutes taunt her and tell her she has to earn her keep on their turf. This mainly involves watching one hooker's young daughter after school.
One night, Lena is trying to get away from a john and his wife when he stumbles across one of the rival prostitutes slashed up in her car. She dies on the way to the hospital, but not before whispering a clue into the john's ear.
The giallo elements are passable, and sometimes slightly suspenseful. It's too bad that they really only show up at the beginning and the end. The rest of the film plays like a Lifetime movie. Not a good one with Valerie Bertinelli, either. More like one of the Judith Light ones they throw on right before a Golden Girls marathon. This film isn't even that "hard hitting." If ever there was a scenario that needed some harsh and cruel NY Ripper-easque subject matter, it is this. It's pretty much, "I sell myself, I drink, I raise my family." There's more peril in an episode of Cops.
Too bad, because there was a lot of potential in this film.
Now I wanna watch Golden Girls.
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