“You’re young, attractive, and healthy — and swimming in a toilet bowl!”
Abandoned by her mother, a 15-year-old (Donna Wilkes) is an honor student by day, and a Hollywood hooker (“Angel”) by night. When Angel witnesses one of her friends being murdered by a necrophilic serial killer (John Diehl), she gains protection from a detective (Cliff Gorman) who tries to convince her to get off the streets.
Response to Peary’s Review:
This infamous teenage exploitation flick by New World Cinema is much tamer than its well-publicized tagline — “High School Honor Student By Day, Hollywood Hooker By Night” — would suggest. As noted by Peary and others (see links below), Wilkes never takes her clothes off, and thus her work is implied rather than shown. If it wasn’t for a deranged serial killer on the loose, it seems that Angel wouldn’t be in trouble at all — indeed, she’s surrounded by countless paternal figures, who we’re sure will keep her from lasting harm. Wilkes is okay here, but most enjoyable are the supporting performances by her “offbeat” friends — including Dick Shawn as a transvestite hooker (with a heart of gold, naturally), and Susan Tyrrell as her crotchety landlady. Angel‘s plot bears some similarity to The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1978): like Jodie Foster’s Rynn, Molly/Angel is dead set against anyone finding out that she’s surviving on her own. Three sequels followed this phenomenal money-maker: Avenging Angel (1985), Angel III: The Final Chapter (1988), and Angel 4: Undercover (1993).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Susan Tyrrell as Angel’s foul-mouthed lesbian landlady
- Dick Shawn as Angel’s transvestite-hooker friend
No, but it’s worth a look simply for its infamous place in the history of exploitation cinema.