Sweet Kill (also known as A Kiss from Eddie and The Arousers) is a 1973 B-movie written and directed by future Academy Award winner Curtis Hanson. The film was Hanson's directorial debut and was produced by Roger Corman. It stars 1950s heartthrob Tab Hunter and was the last film of actress Isabel Jewell.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Curtis Hanson|
|Produced by||Tamara Asseyev|
|Written by||Curtis Hanson|
|Music by||Charles Bernstein|
Curtis Lee Hanson
|Distributed by||New World Pictures|
|January 1973 (US)|
|Budget||$110,000 or $130,000|
Eddie Collins finds that he is unable to perform sexually with women because of repressed memories of his mother. After accidentally killing a woman while trying to sleep with her, he finds that he is able to get aroused by the dead body. This leads him into a chain of luring women into bed in order to kill them for sexual gratification.
|Tab Hunter||Eddie Collins|
|Isabel Jewell||Mrs. Cole|
|Roberta Collins||Call Girl|
|John Pearce||Mr. Howard|
Curtis Hanson got to know Roger Corman while doing re-writes on The Dunwich Horror (1970), which Corman had helped finance. Corman had a track record of giving opportunities to first time directors and was setting up his own distribution company, New World Pictures. When Dunwhich Horror was finished, Hanson told Corman he wanted to direct a film he had written; Corman said he would be interested in financing a motorcycle movie, a women in prison movie or a nurses movie. Hanson was unenthusiastic, so Corman then said he might also be interested in a modern horror film along the lines of Psycho (1960).
The producer, Tamara Asseyev, was Corman's former assistant.
According to Hanson, the film cost $130,000 and Corman was supposed to put up two-thirds of the money. A couple of weeks before filming started Hanson says Corman "reneged on the deal and said he would only put up one-third of the money. My producing partner and I had to raise the other two-thirds. To show how foolhardy I was, I went to my parents and persuaded them to put a mortgage on their home in order to finance this film."
Filming took place in 1971. The apartment where Tab Hunter's character lived in Venice was owned by Hanson's grandmother.
Hanson says when he showed the film to Corman "he said it needed more tits in it... It was my first nightmare post-production experience."
Hanson says "It was recut to some degree and more bare breasts were put into it. It was the first time I learned the lesson that I had the opportunity to learn multiple times after that which is: If you're going to risk being wrong, it's better to be wrong with your own mistakes than with somebody else's. "
"It was very low-budget and it was a really interesting script," said Hunter. "But, of course, Roger Corman had to put his own little tweaks into it (laughter). He had his own way of making motion pictures... and selling them."
The film was originally released as Sweet Kill.
Box office performance was disappointing. The film was re-released as The Arousers. It arrived in Los Angeles cinemas in 1976. The Los Angeles Times said it was "made with a sensitivity and intelligence unusual for the normally lurid psycho genre."
Hanson later described the experience as a "very unhappy" one.
- SWEET KILL Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 43, Iss. 504, (Jan 1, 1976): 64.
- Chris Nashawaty, Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses - Roger Corman: King of the B Movie, Abrams, 2013 p 102
- "Curtis Hanson at the NFT". The Guardian. 16 November 2002.
- "Isabel Jewell – IMDb"
- Isabel Jewell; Film Actress of 1930-40s Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]07 Apr 1972: c10.
- Christopher T Koetting, Mind Warp!: The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman's New World Pictures, Hemlock Books. 2009 p 36
- "Seaman Quint Interviews CURTIS HANSON about, well all things Curtis Hanson... + Tonight's GOLDEN GLOBES!!! PART 1!!!". Aint It Cool News. January 21, 2001.
- Ed. J. Philip di Franco, The Movie World of Roger Corman, Chelsea House Publishers, 1979 p 172
- MOVIE CALL SHEET: 'Square Root' Next for Dustin Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 14 Nov 1970: b8.
- MOVIE CALL SHEET: Culp, Raquel 'Caulder' Stars Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 21 Dec 1970: i19.
- Biss, Bill (May 27, 2015). "Living Two Lives :: Tab Hunter Talks Hollywood, the Closet & His 'Confidential' Doc". Edge Media Network.
- Movies: Roger Corman--Director Who Changed the Face of Hollywood Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (9 Jan 1972: v18.
- MOVIE REVIEW: When a Teacher Learns to Kill 'AROUSERS' Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 6 Feb 1976: e10.