Story: The streets of Los Angeles are under siege, as a mysterious rapist is on a violent spree. So far five victims have been confirmed and the case winds up with Officer Ed (Joshua Bryant) and Officer Bob (Frank Bannon), neither of whom seem to have much luck in police work. The two begin to scour the dark underside of the city, home to all manner of freaks, weirdos, and deviants, hoping to catch a lead. The rapist’s trail leads through all manner of sexual scenarios for the detectives to navigate, from erotic massage to suburban swingers. But no matter how hard Ed and Bob work the beat, the rapist seems to always be a step ahead. Will the cops ever bring down this violent criminal and how the rapist able to evade the police with such ease?
Entertainment Value: This Harry Novak produced exploitation picture is the kind of cinematic experience where you might feel like a shower after, to wash off the imagined grime involved. The story here branches off often, though it always returns to the primary “rapist on the loose” plot. So expect a number of random scenes, including some rather extensive sex scenes, mixed with the main narrative. I didn’t mind the weirdness that this approach causes, as the movie is quite weird as it is, so this just adds to the wackiness. The picture overall is cheap and rather nasty in many sequences, especially the sex scenes, which can linger beyond their welcome, to be kind. In other words, the sleaze here is extra slimy, which adds to the exploitation vibes at least. I think the divide between the vivid sex scenes and the low rent crime narrative could throw some viewers off, but I would think if you sought out an oddity like A Scream in the Streets, you won’t be put off that easily. I think the crime elements are more fun, as the production values are a great source of humor and the over the top, stilted performances are wild. At 90 minutes, the pace can feel a little sluggish and there is some filler material, but I found the movie to be interesting throughout, even during the less than memorable stretches. So if you like low rent b movies with sleaze to spare, A Scream in the Streets is likely going to deliver some entertainment.
The sleaze here is frequent and colorful, working right up to the brink of porn, then pulling back and keeping things softcore. There is one scene that is quite vivid and includes visuals of an erect penis, so A Scream in the Streets is not holding back on the sex. There’s a wealth of bare breasts, naked asses, and full frontal nudity from the men and women involved. So if seeing all of the anatomies of the performers isn’t an experience you want, consider yourself warned. The most graphic scene involves a massage that turns into some sex, with one memorable moment being a very deep ass massage. Other bits of sleaze include an erotic 911 call, some face sitting, a spank session, lashing, and of course, ass kissing is represented. There is some violence when the story focuses on the cop story, with some splashy gunshots as the coolest of the bloodshed. The blood quotient is on the lower end, but there is some solid, cheap action set pieces on showcase. There is a long, super fun car chase at one point that is a definite highlight of the movie. The dialogue is passable, but I wish it was trashier or more wild at times, as there aren’t a lot of home run lines to find here. But we do have some workplace flirting and rotary phone sex, so those and some other odds and ends earn a few points. As for general craziness, this movie brings some exploitation wackiness and more than moves the needle. Some of my personal favorite silliness includes an incredibly awkward opening credits sequence, a surprise bottle attack, a lot of groan inducing humor, and eerie music & electronic tones. Plus the general cheap production values and trashiness add to that score as well.
Overall Insanity: 5/10
The Disc: Severin Films has not only dusted off A Scream in the Streets for a new release, but given it a 2k scan from the original negative. This treatment is quite good, with a sharp, vivid image throughout that puts the previous DVD, which was no slouch, to shame. The colors are bright, often garish as intended and while the image looks dated, I doubt the movie could look much better than this. You can even choose between a widescreen composition and an open matte version, both of which have their positives in this case. The extras includes two short films culled from the movie’s outtakes, as well as some trailers.