I am currently working on an assignment at University on the ‘definition of Exploitation Cinema’. So for my research into the genre I have been trying to check out some of these films for myself. Starting off with the documentary Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005) Directed by Stuart Samuels. It was a fascinating insight into six movies released between 1970 and 1977; these movies changed the way audiences viewed certain genres of film. The films were low budget with The Rocky Horror Picture show (1975) Directed by Jim Sharman being the first movie to come from a major Hollywood studio and costing a reasonably more amount to make. They all did extremely well once they were shown at midnight venues.
Next I watched Grindhouse: Trailer Classics Vol 1 (2007), this is a collection of so many different types of Exploitation movies trailers of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Again, a great insight, this time into how these movies were marketed. So on the back of seeing these two DVDs that I actually got hold of from my Universities Library I then decided to purchase some of the movies I had seen on the documentary and on the compilation of trailers.
I picked up El Topo (1970) Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, The Harder They Come (1972) Directed by Perry Henzell and Truck Turner (1974) Directed by Jonathan Kaplin. All were brought from Amazon UK and are brilliant movies. But, further research into some other examples of Exploitation Cinema wasn’t as easy. I found it increasingly hard to find such examples in the UK, well Europe. Many of these films are US imports and not available in the UK. I found this odd especially when looking for the Swedish exploitation film Thriller – en grym film (1974) Directed by Bo Arne Vibenius which is European but incredibly hard to find.
I did watch it recently but on You Tube, which wasn’t great quality. I do understand that some of these films are rather shocking and controversial but, there must be a market for them in Europe. So why are many of them so hard to get hold of?
My assignment is still going and for now I think I have seen enough Exploitation movies to get a big enough picture to help me define Exploitation cinema. But, there are many films of this genre out there that I would love to see. Hopefully these films may become easier to get hold of in Europe or maybe I should just buy myself a multi-region DVD player.
- El Topo 1970 [Film] Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. MEX: Poducciones Panicas.
- Grindhouse: Trailer Classics Vol 1. 2007. [Trailers] Directed by various. US: Nucleus Films.
- The Harder They Come.1972. [Film] Directed by Perry Henzell. JAM: Xenon Pictures.
- Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream. 2005. [Documentary] Directed by Stuart Samuels. US: Stuart Samuels Productions.
- Thriller – en grym film. 1974. [Film] Directed by Bo Arne Vibenius. SWE: BAV Films.
- Truck Turner, 1974. [Film] Directed by Jonathan Kaplin. US: AIP.