Monday, June 22, 2009

THE HONEYMOON KILLERS (1970) - Leonard Kastle

This '70s cult flick with Criterion credentials plays like a much more disciplined, much less scatological and much better directed John Waters film. It's hard to believe that it was ALMOST directed by Martin Scorsese.

A fantastically Rubenesque Shirley Stoler meets sleazeball Romeo Tony Lo Bianco through a lonely hearts mail order dating ad. When Lo Bianco grifts her out of a couple thousand bucks and she calls him on it, the two fall in love and proceed to apply the same scam to a series of homely spinsters and widows. When a few of the spinsters get wise, however, the couple turns to homicide in order to cover their tracks. The only problem is Lo Bianco can't keep his tequila worm in his Spanish fly much to Stoler's chocolate truffle chomping chagrin.

Stoler and Lo Bianco are fantastic in this, walking a very fine line between high camp and naturalism. I had to keep reminding myself Stoler's character was not played by Divine. There is less murder (and blood) in this than you would think and much more scheming, planning and wooing. Natural Born Killers it is not, a lack of hyperkinetic overload which works to its brooding low-rent advantage.

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