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"There's a maniac loose out there! He's gonna kill again! He's probably ripping some girl apart right now!"
Fact of Life: you can't go wrong with any film that features the two major cornerstones of big-screen entertainment — hookers and a psycho killer. Which means, of course, that you can't go wrong with Aroused, a grim and gritty little piece of primo Sixties exploitation — nestled somewhere between a skinflick and a horror film — that still holds up remarkably well today.
A "sex killer" prowls the streets of Manhattan preying on prostitutes. "This guy's a nut! He'll grab any woman he thinks is a whore!" And why exactly does he pick on hookers? Because — "Nya, nya,nya, nya.nya..." — his mama was a ho! Now, as another deeply disturbed resident of The Big Apple, the killer — whose identity is slowly revealed during the course of the film — sits on a fire escape silently watching working girl Pat Wilson turn a trick. Finally, when she's finished, he climbs in the window, attacks Miss Wilson while in the shower, wraps the shower curtain around her head, and strangles her. Then he...well...yeah. He does. He climbs on top of her....
Young Detective Johnny (STEVE HOLLISTER, who also plays the doomed young man in the color inserts added to Love Hunger) is so upset by the crime — "What a way for a human being to die!" — that he tries to catch the killer by joining forces with Ginny Smith (JANINE LENON, whose first name is billed as "Djanine"), the seen-it-all, done-it-all, knife-wielding hooker-without-a-heart-of-gold-slash-lesbian-lover of Pat: "We're just pieces of meat hanging on a hook waiting for a butcher!" But when one of Ginny's galpals agrees to act as psycho bait — oops! — it all goes wrong and she gets hacked up before Johnny can get to her.
Ginny, meanwhile, is suspicious of one of the lugs who work at Gus' Bar, the Official Hooker Hangout, sneaks into his loft, and finds it decorated with mannequin parts! In an ending that bears a striking resemblance to the climax of Bill Lustig's Maniac, Ginny returns to the creep's apartment with some of her prostitute pals, surrounds the screaming loon on his bed and, with her trusty knife, turns him into "a boy soprano...."
Set in a New York that's eternally at night and choking in sleaze. Aroused is a surprisingly fun piece of filth: the murders are nasty, there's plenty of skin and, believe it or not, we actually care about the characters — especially when Johnny's dutiful wife finds herself unwittingly sipping coffee with the killer: "You're a whore like all the others...." Sure, they're all cardboard cliches spouting crime-magazine dialogue but, hey, that's what B-movies are all about. You'll also recognize most of the music as library cues used endlessly by Doris Wishman. lt's a shame director ANTON HOLDEN didn't make more like this. Though Something Weird has sold Aroused from day one, it's now finally been digitally remastered from a crisp 35mm print.
"And the moral is...no moral." — Frank Henenlotter
Trailer views: 11226
Starring: Janine Lenon
Co-starring: Steve Hollister
Other cast: Joanna Mills, Fleurette Carter
Directed by: Anton Holden