Streets (1990)


USA. 1990.


Director – Katt Shea Ruben, Screenplay – Andy Ruben & Katt Shea Ruben, Producer – Andy Ruben, Photography – Phedon Papamichael, Music – Aaron Davis, Makeup Effects – Scott Coulter, Production Design – Virginia Lee. Production Company – Concorde


Christina Applegate (Dawn), David Mendenhall (Sy), Eb Lattimer (Lumley), Patrick Richwood (Bob), Alan Stock (Allan)


Dawn, a teenage street hooker working along Venice Beach, is attacked by one of her clients but is saved by a guy her own age who is passing by. The guy introduces himself as Sy, a fellow runaway who has come to L.A. to pursue his fortune in rock music. She takes him to stay where she lives – in an abandoned culvert – and the two later become lovers. However, her attacker, a psychopathic motorcycle cop, comes back, determined to kill both of them.

Streets comes from Katt Shea, a former actress and Roger Corman protege turned director (who was billed as Katt Shea Ruben on all her films up until her divorce in 1992). Katt Shea’s films, which include the likes of Stripped to Kill (1987), Dance of the Damned (1988), Stripped to Kill II: Live Girls (1989), Poison Ivy (1992) and The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999), are occasionally more interesting than the run of the mill in that they are exploitation films that contain a gritty social realism – the characters in her films are strippers and teenage runaways. It is almost as though Ruben wants to make one type of film – to portray the harsh realism of the lives of her characters – while the genre she works amongst demands psychos and sexploitation elements.

Streets is an interesting little film. It portrays the lives of teen runaways living on the streets. Ruben shows the lifestyle with neither approval nor disapproval. The film contains a good performance from Christina Applegate, the bimbo sex symbol of tv’s Married … With Children (1987-97), who plays with a convincing hard-bitten realism. Considering the bimbo cult surrounding her, one always wondered if the part of Kelly Bundy was acting for Applegate or not, but this proves she is capable of serious work.

Katt Shea Ruben, writing with her then husband Andy, delivers some occasionally snappy dialogue, although the film is not tightly paced enough as a whole. It is serviceable but not that memorable. In the end, despite an assiduous attempt to portray its situation neutrally, Streets holds an underlying conservative message. The psycho is written in as an adjunct to the mean streets and at the end, for David Mendenhall’s character, home is seen as the traditional place of the heart where everything is safe. The point that should be made for most teenage runaways, the reason they are there, is because that is exactly what home is not for them.

Film online in several parts beginning here:-

Actors: , , , ,
Themes: ,