DVD Review: Roger Corman’s Streets and Angel in Red

Where are the teen hooker movies of today? There was a time when you’d walk into your mom and pop videostores and find an entire display case promising savage tales of teen girls learning the harsh lessons of being pawns in the pimp game. They were a warning to young women who thought they could skip their education and strike it rich like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. The teen hooker genre also proved a great way for actresses to prove they could play more than bubble headed characters. They could get gritty yet maintain an innocent core while wearing lingerie. Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Double Feature: Streets & Angel in Red has two high school sitcom starlets working the carnal sidewalks of Los Angeles for a shot at credibility.

Streets (1990 – 85 minutes) is the familiar story of girl leaving home to find her dreams in Hollywood. Things go wrong when she ends up living in a drain pipe, shooting heroin and getting chased by a psychopathic cop. Who would take such a role? How about Christina Applegate halfway through her time playing Kelly Bundy on Married…with Children? She needed to prove she had more thespian skills than being dumber than Buck Bundy, the dog. The movie starts off promising enough when Christina gets picked up by Eb Lottimer (the remake of Fright Night) on his motorcycle. They go underneath a pier for a little private time. He gets upset when she declares that even though she’s a hooker, she doesn’t go all the way. That’s right. She’s the hooker who stops at third base. Eb’s doesn’t want to be told when to stop especially since he wants to kill her. The only reason she survives is David Mendenhall (Over the Top) stumbling into the action. David’s extra goofy. He’s run off to Hollywood while his parents are on vacation. He dreams of joining a band to become a superstar. He doesn’t even have big hair like the metal bands that dominated the Sunset Strip in ’90. He gets attached to Christina which isn’t good. She’s trouble as a junky, non-intercourse hooker being pursued by a homicidal motorcycle cop. Turns out Eb is a psycho Erik Estrada. He’s a Terminator on a destructive mission for a second chance to snuff Christina. Is there any hope of her and David surviving? Will David get a chance to get a freebie favor from Christina? Does Christina drop her top since this is a Roger Corman production? She gets semi-topless so that should please those who bought her poster back in ’89. Christina makes the movie work since I couldn’t have watched it if Streets starred David Faustino.

Angel in Red (1991 – 85 minutes) tells the heartwarming tale of a young girl and her disabled brother being welcomed into the house of a job creator. That’s a nice way of describing a teen hooker recruited by a pimp. Leslie Bega had spent a few seasons playing Maria Borges on Head of the Class. Even with such an honor student education, she couldn’t escape the life on the streets. Her pimp is Jeffery Dean Morgan in his first movie role. The Comedian from Watchman owes his big break to Roger Corman. Morgan breaks a furniture and few people when his pimp empire is threatened by rebelling prostitutes and a rival pimp. He refuses to give up on his prime earner, Bega. She’s good with clients including a nervous Michael McDonald (Mad TV) in his movie debut, too. If this movie sounds familiar, it’s because Corman moved the Times Square script of Streetwalkin’ to the Sunset Blvd. It seems a lot of the action was shot in Corman’s lumberyard studio. Bega does an admirable job in the role pioneered by Oscar winner Melissa Leo. Morgan is seductively demonic as unstoppable pimp. The film was also released as Uncaged. So you might remember a different video box on the shelf in ’90s.

Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Double Feature: Streets & Angel in Red make a nice night of jailbait entertainment. They give a bit of a harsh reality to street walking unlike the Disney fantasy of Pretty Woman. While Christina Applegate’s hooker won’t go all the way, she’s hooked on smack. Bege’s realizes pimps aren’t always cheerful. There’s lessons to be learned from teens that skipped school.

The video for both films is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The image is ok with a little smutz on the frame. The audio is stereo. The mix is all over the place when it comes to background tracks. During a nightclub scene in Angel in Red, the music is so low you can hear footsteps as the extras dance.

Streets Trailer (1:19) promises us Christina Applegate as a 16 year old hooker being pursued by the crazed cop.

Angel in Red Trailer (1:30) gives us the harsh truth of life working the Sunset Strip.

Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Double Feature: Streets & Angel in Red is a trip back to the days of teen hooker VHS boxes at the videostore. They just don’t stock such joys in a Redbox. Fans of Married…with Children will get a thrill out of seeing a young Christina Applegate prostituting herself. Streets would have been the true fate of Kelly Bundy. Angel in Red revives an old script with fresh talent. This has been released as a Shout Select title so you can order it directly through their website or a third party seller on Amazon.

Shout! Factory presents Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Double Feature: Streets & Angel in Red. Starring: Christina Applegate, David Mendenhall, Leslie Bega, Jeffery Dean Morgan and Michael McDonald . Boxset Contents: 2 Movies on 1 DVD. Released on DVD: November 15, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.

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