Exploitation film

Last updated

Poster for the silent exploitation film The Road to Ruin (1928) The Road to Ruin 1928 poster.jpg
Poster for the silent exploitation film The Road to Ruin (1928)

An exploitation film is a film that attempts to succeed financially by exploiting current trends, niche genres, or lurid content. Exploitation films are generally low-quality "B movies". [1] They sometimes attract critical attention and cult followings. Some of these films, such as Night of the Living Dead (1968), set trends and become historically important. [2]



Exploitation films may feature suggestive or explicit sex, sensational violence, drug use, nudity, gore, the bizarre, destruction, rebellion, and mayhem. Such films were first seen in their modern form in the early 1920s, [3] but they were popularized in the 60s and 70s with the general relaxing of censorship and cinematic taboos in the U.S. and Europe. The Motion Picture Association of America (and the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America before it) cooperated with censorship boards and grassroots organizations in the hope of preserving the image of a "clean" Hollywood, but the distributors of exploitation film operated outside of this circuit and often welcomed controversy as a form of free promotion. [3] Their producers used sensational elements to attract audiences lost to television. Since the 1990s, this genre has also received attention in academic circles, where it is sometimes called paracinema. [4]

"Exploitation" is loosely defined and has more to do with the viewer's perception of the film than with the film's actual content. Titillating material and artistic content often coexist, as demonstrated by the fact that art films that failed to pass the Hays Code were often shown in the same grindhouses as exploitation films. Exploitation films share the fearlessness of acclaimed transgressive European directors such as Derek Jarman, Luis Buñuel, and Jean-Luc Godard in handling "disreputable" content. Many films recognized as classics contain levels of sex, violence, and shock typically associated with exploitation films; examples are Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange , Tod Browning's Freaks , and Roman Polanski's Repulsion . Buñuel's Un Chien Andalou contains elements of the modern splatter film. It has been suggested that if Carnival of Souls had been made in Europe, it would be considered an art film, while if Eyes Without a Face had been made in the U.S., it would have been categorized as a low-budget horror film. The audiences of art and exploitation film are both considered to have tastes that reject the mainstream Hollywood offerings. [5]

Exploitation films have often exploited news events in the short-term public consciousness that a major film studio may avoid because of the time required to produce a major film. Child Bride (1938), for example, tackled the issue of older men marrying very young women in the Ozarks. Other issues, such as drug use in films like Reefer Madness (1936), attracted audiences that major film studios would usually avoid in order to keep their respectable, mainstream reputations. With enough incentive, however, major studios might become involved, as Warner Bros. did in their 1969 anti-LSD, anti-counterculture film The Big Cube . The film Sex Madness (1938) portrayed the dangers of venereal disease from premarital sex. Mom and Dad , a 1945 film about pregnancy and childbirth, was promoted in lurid terms. She Shoulda Said No! (1949) combined the themes of drug use and promiscuous sex. In the early days of film, when exploitation films relied on such sensational subjects as these, they had to present them from a very conservative moral viewpoint to avoid censorship, as movies then were not considered to enjoy First Amendment protection. [6]

Several war films were made about the Winter War in Finland, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War before the major studios showed interest. When Orson Welles' radio production of The War of the Worlds from The Mercury Theatre on the Air for Halloween in 1938 shocked many Americans and made news, Universal Pictures edited their serial Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars into a short feature called Mars Attacks the World for release in November of that year.

Some Poverty Row low-budget B movies often exploit major studio projects. Their rapid production schedule allows them to take advantage of publicity attached to major studio films. For example, Edward L. Alperson produced William Cameron Menzies' film Invaders from Mars to beat Paramount Pictures' production of director George Pal's The War of the Worlds to the cinemas, and Pal's The Time Machine was beaten to the cinemas by Edgar G. Ulmer's film Beyond the Time Barrier . As a result, many major studios, producers, and stars keep their projects secret.

Grindhouses and drive-ins

Grindhouse is an American term for a theater that mainly showed exploitation films. These theatres were popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s in New York City and other urban centers, mainly in North America, but began a long decline during the 1980s with the advent of home video.

As the drive-in movie theater began to decline in the 1960s and 1970s, theater owners began to look for ways to bring in patrons. One solution was to book exploitation films. Some producers from the 1950s to the 1980s made films directly for the drive-in market, and the commodity product needed for a weekly change led to another theory about the origin of the word: that the producers would "grind"-out films. Many of them were violent action films that some called "drive-in" films.


Exploitation films may adopt the subject matter and styling of regular film genres, particularly horror films and documentary films, and their themes are sometimes influenced by other so-called exploitative media, such as pulp magazines. They often blur the distinctions between genres by containing elements of two or more genres at a time. Their subgenres are identifiable by the characteristics they use. For example, Doris Wishman's Let Me Die A Woman contains elements of both shock documentary and sexploitation.

1930s and 1940s cautionary films

Although they featured lurid subject matter, exploitation films of the 1930s and 1940s evaded the strict censorship and scrutiny of the era by claiming to be educational. They were generally cautionary tales about the alleged dangers of premarital sexual intercourse and the use of recreational drugs. Examples include Marihuana (1936), Reefer Madness (1938), Sex Madness (1938), Child Bride (1943), Mom and Dad (1945), and She Shoulda Said No! (1949). An exploitation film about homosexuality, Children of Loneliness (1937), is now believed lost. [7]

Biker films

In 1953 The Wild One , starring Marlon Brando, was the first film about a motorcycle gang. A string of low-budget juvenile delinquent films featuring hot-rods and motorcycles followed in the 1950s. The success of American International Pictures' The Wild Angels in 1966 ignited a more robust trend that continued into the early 1970s. Other biker films include Motorpsycho (1965), Hells Angels on Wheels (1967), The Born Losers (1967), Angels from Hell (1968), Easy Rider (1969), Satan's Sadists (1969), Naked Angels (1969), The Sidehackers (1969), Nam's Angels (1970), and C.C. and Company (1970). Stone (1974), Mad Max (1979), and 1% (2017) combine elements of this subgenre with Ozploitation.


Poster for the independent film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) Sweet sweetback poster.jpg
Poster for the independent film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)

Black exploitation films, or "blaxploitation" films, are made with black actors, ostensibly for black audiences, often in a stereotypically black American urban milieu. A prominent theme was black Americans overcoming hostile authority ("The Man") through cunning and violence. The first examples of this subgenre were Shaft and Melvin Van Peebles' Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song . Others are Black Caesar , Black Devil Doll, Blacula , Black Shampoo , Boss Nigger , Coffy , Coonskin , Cotton Comes to Harlem , Dolemite , Foxy Brown , Hell Up in Harlem , The Mack , Disco Godfather , Mandingo , The Spook Who Sat by the Door , Sugar Hill , Super Fly , T.N.T. Jackson , The Thing with Two Heads , Truck Turner , Willie Dynamite and Cleopatra Jones .

Modern homages of this genre include Jackie Brown , Pootie Tang , Undercover Brother , Black Dynamite , Proud Mary and BlacKkKlansman . The 1973 Bond film Live and Let Die uses blaxploitation themes.

Cannibal films

Cannibal films are graphic movies from the early 1970s to the late 1980s, primarily made by Italian and Spanish moviemakers. They focus on cannibalism by tribes deep in the South American or Asian rainforests. This cannibalism is usually perpetrated against Westerners that the tribes held prisoner. As with mondo films, the main draw of cannibal films was the promise of exotic locales and graphic gore involving living creatures. The best-known film of this genre is the controversial 1980 Cannibal Holocaust , in which six real animals were killed. Others include Cannibal Ferox , Eaten Alive! , Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death , The Mountain of the Cannibal God , Last Cannibal World , and the first film of the genre, The Man From Deep River . Famous directors in this genre include Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato, Jesús Franco, and Joe D'Amato.

The Green Inferno (2013) is a modern homage to the genre.


"Canuxploitation" is a neologism that was coined in 1999 by the magazine Broken Pencil , in the article "Canuxploitation! Goin' Down the Road with the Cannibal Girls that Ate Black Christmas. Your Complete Guide to the Canadian B-Movie", to refer to Canadian-made B-movies. [8] Most mainstream critical analysis of this period in Canadian film history, however, refers to it as the "tax-shelter era". [9]

The phenomenon emerged in 1974, when the government of Canada introduced new regulations to jumpstart the then-underdeveloped Canadian film industry, increasing the Capital Cost Allowance tax credit from 60 per cent to 100 per cent. [10] While some important and noteworthy films were made under the program, including The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Lies My Father Told Me , [9] and some film directors who cut their teeth in the "tax shelter" era emerged as among Canada's most important and influential filmmakers of the era, including David Cronenberg, William Fruet, Ivan Reitman and Bob Clark, the new regulations also had an entirely unforeseen side effect: a sudden rush of low-budget horror and genre films, intended as pure tax shelters since they were designed not to turn a conventional profit. [10] Many of the films, in fact, were made by American filmmakers whose projects had been rejected by the Hollywood studio system as not commercially viable, giving rise to the Hollywood North phenomenon. [10]

Notable examples of the genre include Cannibal Girls , Deathdream , Deranged , The Corpse Eaters , Black Christmas , Shivers , Death Weekend , The Clown Murders , Rituals , Cathy's Curse , Deadly Harvest , Starship Invasions , Rabid , I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses , The Brood , Funeral Home , Terror Train , The Changeling , Death Ship , My Bloody Valentine , Prom Night , Happy Birthday to Me , Scanners , Ghostkeeper , Visiting Hours , Highpoint , Humongous , Deadly Eyes , Class of 1984 , Videodrome , Curtains , Self Defense , Spasms , and Def-Con 4 .

The period ended in 1982, when the Capital Cost Allowance was reduced to 50 per cent, although films that had entered production under the program continued to be released for another few years afterward. [10] However, at least one Canadian film blog extends the "Canuxploitation" term to refer to any Canadian horror, thriller or science fiction film made up to the present day. [11]


Carsploitation films feature scenes of cars racing and crashing, featuring the sports cars, muscle cars, and car wrecks that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s. They were produced mainly in the United States and Australia. The quintessential film of this genre is Vanishing Point (1971). Others include Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), The Cars That Ate Paris (1974), Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974), Gone in 60 Seconds (1974), Death Race 2000 (1975), Race with the Devil (1975), Cannonball (1976), Mad Max (1979), Dead End Drive-In (1986) and Black Moon Rising (1986).

Baby Driver (2017) and Death Proof (2007) are modern tributes to this genre (containing some references to Vanishing Point), the latter also being a tribute to slasher films and the films of Russ Meyer.[ citation needed ]

Chambara films

In the 1970s, a revisionist, non-traditional style of samurai film achieved some popularity in Japan. It became known as chambara, an onomatopoeia describing the clash of swords. Its origins can be traced as far back as Akira Kurosawa, whose films feature moral grayness[ clarification needed ] and exaggerated violence, but the genre is mostly associated with 1970s samurai manga by Kazuo Koike, on whose work many later films would be based. Chambara features few of the stoic, formal sensibilities of earlier jidaigeki films – the new chambara featured revenge-driven antihero protagonists, nudity, sex scenes, swordplay, and blood. Well-known chambara films include Hanzo the Razor , Lady Snowblood , Lone Wolf and Cub , and Sex & Fury .[ citation needed ]

Giallo films

Giallo films are Italian-made slasher films that focus on cruel murders and the subsequent search for the killers. They are named for the Italian word for yellow, giallo, the background color featured on the covers of the pulp novels by which these movies were inspired. The progenitor of this genre was The Girl Who Knew Too Much . Other examples of Giallo films include Four Flies on Grey Velvet , Deep Red , The Cat o' Nine Tails , The Bird with the Crystal Plumage , The Case of the Scorpion's Tail , A Lizard in a Woman's Skin , Black Belly of the Tarantula , The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh , Blood and Black Lace and Tenebrae . Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and Mario Bava are the best-known directors of this genre.

The 2013 Argentinian film Sonno Profondo is a modern tribute to the genre.


In Italy, when you bring a script to a producer, the first question he asks is not "what is your film like?" but "what film is your film like?" That's the way it is, we can only make Zombie 2, never Zombie 1.

Luigi Cozzi [12]

Mockbusters, sometimes called "remakesploitation films", are copycat movies that try to cash in on the advertising of heavily promoted films from major studios. Production company the Asylum, which prefers to call them "tie-ins", is a prominent producer of these films. [13] Such films have often come from Italy, which has been quick to latch on to trends like Westerns, James Bond movies, and zombie films. [12] They have long been a staple of directors such as Jim Wynorski (The Bare Wench Project, and the Cliffhanger imitation Sub Zero), who make movies for the direct-to-video market. [14] Such films are beginning to attract attention from major Hollywood studios, who served the Asylum with a cease and desist order to try to prevent them from releasing The Day the Earth Stopped to video stores in advance of the release of The Day the Earth Stood Still to theaters. [15]

The term mockbuster was used as early as the 1950s (when The Monster of Piedras Blancas was a clear derivative of Creature From The Black Lagoon ). The term did not become popular until the 1970s, with Starcrash and the Turkish Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam and Süpermen dönüyor. The latter two used scenes from Star Wars and unauthorized excerpts from John Williams' score.

Mondo films

Mondo films, often called shockumentaries, are quasi-documentary films about sensationalized topics like exotic customs from around the world or gruesome death footage. The goal of mondo films, as of shock exploitation, is to shock the audience by dealing with taboo subject matter. The first mondo film is Mondo Cane (A Dog's World). Others include Shocking Asia , Africa Addio (aka Africa Blood and Guts and Farewell Africa), Goodbye Uncle Tom , and Faces of Death .

Monster movies

These "nature-run-amok" films focus on an animal or group of animals, far larger and more aggressive than usual for their species, terrorizing humans while another group of humans tries to fight back. This genre began in the 1950s, when concern over nuclear weapons testing made movies about giant monsters popular. These were typically either giant prehistoric creatures awakened by atomic explosions or ordinary animals mutated by radiation. [16] Among them were Godzilla , Them! , and Tarantula . The trend was revived in the 1970s as awareness of pollution increased and corporate greed and military irresponsibility were blamed for destruction of the environment. [17] Night of the Lepus , Frogs , and Godzilla vs. Hedorah are examples. After Steven Spielberg's 1975 film Jaws , a number of very similar films (sometimes regarded as outright rip-offs) were produced in the hope of cashing in on its success. Examples are Alligator , Cujo , Day of the Animals , Great White , Grizzly , Humanoids from the Deep , Monster Shark , Orca , The Pack , Piranha , Prophecy , Razorback , Blood Feast , Tentacles , and Tintorera . Roger Corman was a major producer of these films in both decades. The genre has experienced a revival in recent years, as films like Mulberry Street and Larry Fessenden's The Last Winter reflected concerns about global warming and overpopulation. [18] [19]

The Sci-Fi Channel (now known as SyFy) has produced several films about giant and/or hybrid mutations whose titles are sensationalized portmanteaus of the two species; examples include Sharktopus and Dinoshark .


Nazi exploitation films, also called "Nazisploitation" films, or "il sadiconazista", focus on Nazis torturing prisoners in death camps and brothels during World War II. The tortures are often sexual, and the prisoners, who are often female, are nude. The progenitor of this subgenre was Love Camp 7 (1969). The archetype of the genre, which established its popularity and its typical themes, was Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1974), about the buxom, nymphomaniacal dominatrix Ilsa torturing prisoners in a Stalag. Others include Fräulein Devil (Captive Women 4, or Elsa: Fraulein SS, or Fraulein Kitty), La Bestia in Calore (SS Hell Camp, or SS Experiment Part 2, or The Beast in Heat, or Horrifying Experiments of the S.S. Last Days), L'ultima orgia del III Reich (Gestapo's Last Orgy, or Last Orgy of The Third Reich, or Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler), Salon Kitty and SS Experiment Camp . Many Nazisploitation films were influenced by art films such as Pier Paolo Pasolini's infamous Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Salò or The 120 Days of Sodom) and Liliana Cavani's Il portiere di notte ( The Night Porter ) .

Inglourious Basterds (2009) and The Devil's Rock (2011) are modern homages to the subgenre.

Nudist films

Nudist films originated in the 1930s as films that skirted the Hays Code restrictions on nudity by purportedly depicting the naturist lifestyle. They existed through the late 1950s, when the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Excelsior Pictures vs. New York Board of Regents that onscreen nudity is not obscene. This opened the door to more open depictions of nudity, starting with Russ Meyer's 1959 The Immoral Mr. Teas , which has been credited as the first film to place its exploitation elements unapologetically at the forefront instead of pretending to carry a moral or educational message. This development paved the way for the more explicit exploitation films of the 1960s and 1970s and made the nudist genre obsolete—ironically, since the nudist film Garden of Eden was the subject of the court case. After this, the nudist genre split into subgenres such as the "nudie-cutie", which featured nudity but no touching, and the "roughie", which included nudity and violent, antisocial behavior. [20]

Nudist films were marked by self-contradictory qualities. They presented themselves as educational films, but exploited their subject matter by focusing mainly on the nudist camps' most beautiful female residents, while denying the existence of such exploitation. They depicted a lifestyle unbound by the restrictions of clothing, yet this depiction was restricted by the requirement that genitals should not be shown. Still, there was a subversive element to them, as the nudist camps inherently rejected modern society and its values regarding the human body. [21] These films frequently involve a criticism of the class system, equating body shame with the upper class, and nudism with social equality. One scene in The Unashamed makes a point about the artificiality of clothing and its related values through a mocking portrayal of a group of nude artists who paint fully clothed subjects. [22]


The term "Ozploitation" refers broadly to Australian horror, erotic or crime films of the 1970s and 1980s. Changes to Australia's film classification system in 1971 led to the production of a number of such low-budget, privately funded films, assisted by tax exemptions and targeting export markets. Often an internationally recognised actor (but of waning notability) would be hired to play a lead role. Laconic characters and desert scenes feature in many Ozploitation films, but the term has been used for a variety of Australian films of the era that relied on shocking or titillating their audiences. A documentary about the genre was Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! . [23] Such films deal with themes concerning Australian society, particularly in respect of masculinity (especially the ocker male), male attitudes towards women, attitudes towards and treatment of Indigenous Australians, violence, alcohol, and environmental exploitation and destruction. The films typically have rural or outback settings, depicting the Australian landscape and environment as an almost spiritually malign force that alienates white Australians, frustrating their personal ambitions and activities, and their attempts to subdue it.

Notable examples include Mad Max , Alvin Purple , Patrick and Turkey Shoot .

Rape and revenge films

This genre contains films in which a person is raped, left for dead, recovers and then exacts a graphic, gory revenge against the rapists. The most famous example is I Spit on Your Grave (also called Day of the Woman). It is not unusual for the main character in these films to be a successful, independent city woman, who is attacked by a man from the country. [24] The genre has drawn praise from feminists such as Carol J. Clover, whose 1992 book Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film examines the implications of its reversals of cinema's traditional gender roles. This type of film can be seen as an offshoot of the vigilante film, with the victim's transformation into avenger as the key scene. Author Jacinda Read and others believe that rape–revenge should be categorized as a narrative structure rather than a true subgenre, because its plot can be found in films of many different genres, such as thrillers ( Ms. 45 ), dramas ( Lipstick ), westerns ( Hannie Caulder ), [25] and art films ( Memento ). [26] One instance of the genre, the original version of The Last House on the Left , was an uncredited remake of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring , recast as a horror film featuring extreme violence. [27] Deliverance , in which the rape is perpetrated on a man, has been credited as the originator of the genre. [28] Clover, who restricts her definition of the genre to movies in which a woman is raped and gains her own revenge, praises rape–revenge exploitation films for the way in which their protagonists fight their abuse directly, rather than preserve the status quo by depending on an unresponsive legal system as in rape–revenge movies from major studios, such as The Accused (1988) . [29]


The redsploitation genre concerns Native American characters almost always played by white actors, usually exacting their revenge on their white tormentors. [30] Examples are Billy Jack , The Ransom, the Thunder Warrior trilogy, The Manitou , Prophecy , Avenged (aka Savaged ), Scalps and Clearcut .


Sexploitation films resemble softcore pornography. Films in this genre are an excuse for showing scenes involving nude or semi-nude women. Many movies contain vivid sex scenes, but sexploitations are more graphic than mainstream films. When sexploitations are plot-driven, most of the plot could include killers, slavery, fem-dom, martial-arts, similar style and lines from glamour and screwball comedies, features love interests and flirtation akin to romance films, over-the-top direction, like cheeky homages, fan service and caricatures, and broad performances that may contain sleazy teasing and alluding to foreplay or kink. Extending the sequences or showing full frontal nudity are typical genre techniques. Films such as Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Supervixens , by Russ Meyer, the work of Armando Bó with Isabel Sarli, Emmanuelle series, Showgirls , and Caligula . Caligula is unusual among exploitation films for its high budget and eminent actors (Malcolm McDowell, John Gielgud, Peter O'Toole and Helen Mirren).

Casting pornstars and hardcore actresses is semi-common. Sexploitation may contain sex shows to shock or tantalize their audiences.

Slasher films

Slasher films focus on a psychopath stalking and violently killing a sequence of victims. Victims are often teenagers or young adults. Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) is often credited with creating the basic premise of the genre, though Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974) is usually considered to have started the genre while John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) was responsible for cementing the genre in the public eye. Halloween is also responsible for establishing additional tropes which would go on to define the genre in years to come. The masked villain, a central group of weak teenagers with one strong hero or heroine, the protagonists being isolated or stranded in precarious locations or situations, and either the protagonists or antagonists - or possibly both - experiencing warped family lives or values were all tropes largely founded in Halloween.

The genre continued into and peaked in the 1980s with well-known films like Friday the 13th (1980) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Many 1980s slasher films used the basic format of Halloween, for example My Bloody Valentine (1981), Prom Night (1980), The Funhouse (1981), Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) and Sleepaway Camp (1983), many of which also used elements from the 1974 film, Black Christmas .

The genre experienced a mainstream revival in the 1990s with the success of Scream , which both mocked and paid homage to traditional slasher conventions. Slasher films often prove popular and spawn sequels, prequels and remakes that continue to the present day.[ citation needed ] Adam Green's Hatchet and Ryan Nicholson's Gutterballs bill themselves as throwbacks to the slasher films of the 1980s.


A subtype featuring space, science fiction and horror in film. [31] [32]

Spaghetti Westerns

Spaghetti Westerns are Italian-made westerns that emerged in the mid-1960s. They were more violent and amoral than typical Hollywood westerns. These films also often eschewed the conventions of Hollywood studio Westerns, which were primarily for consumption by conservative, mainstream American audiences.

Examples of the genre include Death Rides a Horse , Django , The Good, the Bad and the Ugly , Navajo Joe , The Grand Duel , The Great Silence , For a Few Dollars More , The Big Gundown , Day of Anger , Face to Face , Duck, You Sucker! , A Fistful of Dollars and Once Upon a Time in the West . Quentin Tarantino directed two tributes to the genre, Django Unchained , and The Hateful Eight.

Splatter films

A splatter film, or gore film, is a horror film that focuses on graphic portrayals of gore and violence. It began as a distinct genre in the 1960s with the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis and David F. Friedman, whose most famous films include Blood Feast (1963), Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), Color Me Blood Red (1965), The Gruesome Twosome (1967) and The Wizard of Gore (1970).

The first splatter film to popularize the subgenre was George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968), the director's attempt to replicate the atmosphere and gore of EC's horror comics on film. Initially derided by the American press as "appalling", it quickly became a national sensation, playing not just in drive-ins but at midnight showings in indoor theaters across the country. Foreign critics were kinder to the film; British film magazine Sight & Sound included it on its "Ten Best Films of 1968" list.[ citation needed ] George A. Romero coined the term "splatter cinema" to describe his film Dawn of the Dead .

Later splatter films, such as Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series, Peter Jackson's Bad Taste and Braindead (released as Dead Alive in North America) featured such excessive and unrealistic gore that they crossed the line from horror to comedy.

Women in prison films

Women in prison films emerged in the early 1970s and remain a popular subgenre. They usually contain nudity, lesbianism, sexual assault, humiliation, sadism, and rebellion among captive women. Examples are Ted V. Mikel's "10 Violent Women", Roger Corman's Women in Cages and The Big Doll House , Bamboo House of Dolls , Jesus Franco's Barbed Wire Dolls , Bruno Mattei's Women's Prison Massacre , Pete Walker's House of Whipcord , Tom DeSimone's Reform School Girls , Jonathan Demme's Caged Heat and Katja von Garnier's Bandits .

Minor subgenres

See also

Related Research Articles

B movie Low-budget commercial film genre

A B movie or B film is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not an arthouse film. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified films intended for distribution as the less-publicized bottom half of a double feature. However, the U.S. production of movies intended as second features largely ceased by the end of the 1950s. With the emergence of commercial television at that time, film studio B- movie production departments changed into television film production divisions making much of the same type of content in low budget movies and series. The term B movie continues to be used in its broader sense to this day. In its post-Golden Age usage, there is ambiguity on both sides of the definition: on the one hand, the primary interest of many inexpensive exploitation films is prurient; on the other, many B movies display a high degree of craft and aesthetic ingenuity.

Splatter film Subgenre of horror film that deliberately focuses on graphic portrayals of gore and graphic violence

A splatter film is a subgenre of horror film that deliberately focuses on graphic portrayals of gore and graphic violence. These films, usually through the use of special effects, display a fascination with the vulnerability of the human body and the theatricality of its mutilation. The term "splatter cinema" was coined by George A. Romero to describe his film Dawn of the Dead, though Dawn of the Dead is generally considered by critics to have higher aspirations, such as social commentary, than to be simply exploitative for its own sake.

Jesús Franco Spanish filmmaker, composer, and actor

Jesús Franco Manera was a Spanish filmmaker, composer, and actor, known as a prolific director of stylish exploitation and B-movies. In a career that spanned from the early 1960s to 2013, he wrote, directed, produced, acted in, and scored approximately 173 feature films, working both in his native Spain and abroad.

Grindhouse Low-budget movie theater that shows mainly exploitation films

A grindhouse or action house is an American term for a theatre that mainly shows low-budget horror, splatter and exploitation films for adults. According to historian David Church, this theater type was named after the "grind policy", a film-programming strategy dating back to the early 1920s which continuously showed films at cut-rate ticket prices that typically rose over the course of each day. This exhibition practice was markedly different from the era's more common practice of fewer shows per day and graduated pricing for different seating sections in large urban theatres, which were typically studio-owned.

Doris Wishman

Doris Wishman was an American film director, screenwriter and producer. She is credited with having directed and produced at least thirty feature films during a career spanning over four decades, most notably in the sexploitation film genre.

Sexploitation film Genre of independently produced, low-budget feature films

A sexploitation film is a class of independently produced, low-budget feature film that is generally associated with the 1960s and early 1970s, and that serves largely as a vehicle for the exhibition of non-explicit sexual situations and gratuitous nudity. The genre is a subgenre of exploitation films. Sexploitation films were generally exhibited in urban grindhouse theatres, the precursor to the adult movie theaters of the 1970s and 1980s that featured hardcore pornography content. The term soft-core is often used to designate non-explicit sexploitation films after the general legalisation of hardcore content. Nudist films are often considered to be subgenres of the sex-exploitation genre as well. "Nudie" films and "Nudie-cuties" are associated genres.

Nudity in film

Nudity in film is the presentation in a film of at least one person who is fully nude, showing one or more bare, groin, breast, or buttocks nude. Since the development of the medium, inclusion in films of any form of sexuality has been controversial, and in the case of most nude scenes has had to be justified as being part of the story, in the concept of "artistically justifiable nudity". Many actors and actresses have appeared nude, or exposing parts of their bodies or dressed in ways considered provocative by contemporary standards at some point in their careers.

David Frank Friedman was an American filmmaker and film producer best known for his B movies, exploitation films, nudie cuties, and sexploitation films.

Something Weird Video is an American film distributor company based in Seattle, Washington. They specialize in exploitation films, particularly the works of Harry Novak, Doris Wishman, David F. Friedman and Herschell Gordon Lewis. The company is named after Lewis' 1967 film Something Weird, and the logo is taken from that film's original poster art. Something Weird usually focus on B to Z movies. It has distributed well over 2,500 films to date.

Ruggero Deodato

Ruggero Deodato is an Italian film director, and has also performed as both a screenwriter, and more recently an actor in both his own and other projects.

Cannibal films, alternatively known as the cannibal genre or the cannibal boom, are a subgenre of horror films made predominantly by Italian filmmakers during the 1970s and 1980s. This subgenre is a collection of graphically violent movies that usually depict cannibalism by primitive, Stone Age natives deep within the Asian or South American rainforests. While cannibalism is the uniting feature of these films, the general emphasis focuses on various forms of shocking, realistic and graphic violence, typically including torture, rape and genuine cruelty to animals. This subject matter was often used as the main advertising draw of cannibal films in combination with exaggerated or sensational claims regarding the films' reputations.

Nazi exploitation

Nazi exploitation is a subgenre of exploitation film and sexploitation film that involves Nazis committing sex crimes, often as camp or prison overseers during World War II. Most follow the women in prison formula, only relocated to a concentration camp, extermination camp, or Nazi brothel, and with an added emphasis on sadism, gore, and degradation. The most infamous and influential title is a Canadian production, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1974). Its surprise success and sequels led European filmmakers, mostly in Italy, to produce dozens of similar films. While the Ilsa series were profitable, the other films were mostly box-office flops, and the genre all but vanished by the mid-1980s.

Poliziotteschi constitute a subgenre of crime and action films that emerged in Italy in the late 1960s and reached the height of their popularity in the 1970s. They are also known as polizieschi all'italiana, Euro-crime, Italo-crime, spaghetti crime films, or simply Italian crime films. Influenced by both 1970s French crime films and gritty 1960s and 1970s American cop films and vigilante films, poliziotteschi films were made amidst an atmosphere of socio-political turmoil in Italy and increasing Italian crime rates. The films generally featured graphic and brutal violence, organized crime, car chases, vigilantism, heists, gunfights, and corruption up to the highest levels. The protagonists were generally tough working class loners, willing to act outside a corrupt or overly bureaucratic system.

Sex comedy, erotic comedy or more broadly sexual comedy is a genre in which comedy is motivated by sexual situations and love affairs. Although "sex comedy" is primarily a description of dramatic forms such as theatre and film, literary works such as those of Ovid and Chaucer may be considered sex comedies.

B movies (exploitation boom)

The 1960s and 1970s mark the golden age of the independent B movie, made outside of Hollywood's major film studios. As censorship pressures lifted in the early 1960s, the low-budget end of the American motion picture industry increasingly incorporated the sort of sexual and violent elements long associated with so-called exploitation films. The death of the Production Code in 1968 and the major success of the exploitation-style Easy Rider the following year fueled the trend through the subsequent decade. The success of the B-studio exploitation movement had a significant effect on the strategies of the major studios during the 1970s.

Stanley Long

Stanley A. Long was an English Exploitation cinema and sexploitation filmmaker. He was a writer, cinematographer, editor, and eventually, producer/director of low-budget exploitation movies.

Ozploitation films are exploitation films – a category of low-budget horror, comedy, sexploitation and action films – made in Australia after the introduction of the R rating in 1971. The year also marked the beginnings of the Australian New Wave movement, and the Ozploitation style peaked within the same time frame.

<i>Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!</i> 2008 documentary film directed by Mark Hartley

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! is a 2008 Australian documentary film about the Australian New Wave of 1970s and 1980s low-budget cinema. The film was written and directed by Mark Hartley, who interviewed over eighty Australian, American and British actors, directors, screenwriters and producers, including Quentin Tarantino, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dennis Hopper, George Lazenby, George Miller, Barry Humphries, Stacy Keach, John Seale and Roger Ward.

Sex in film Sex in mainstream film

Sex in film is the presentation of aspects of human sexuality in film. The presence in films of any form of sexuality has been controversial since the development of the medium. Some films containing such sexuality have been criticized by religious groups or have been banned or the subject of censorship by governments, or both. In countries with a film rating system, films containing sex scenes typically receive a restricted classification. Nudity in film may be regarded as sexual or as non-sexual.

Gender in horror films

The horror film genre is a movie genre containing multiple subgenres. A goal of this genre includes invoking responses of trepidation and panic from the audience. Critics and researchers claim that these films depict graphically detailed violence, contain erotically or sexually charged situations which verge on becoming pornographic, and focus more on injuring or killing female as opposed to non-female characters. Many also see recurring themes of misfortune for male characters who perform overt masculinity or sexuality. Audience reception is suggested by researchers to be affected by the respective gender representation depicted in these movies.



  1. Schaefer 1999, pp. 42–43, 95.
  2. Zinoman, Jason (1 March 2008). "How "Night of the Living Dead" Ushered in a New Golden Era of Horror". Vanity Fair .
  3. 1 2 Lewis, Jon (2000). Hollywood V. Hard Core: How the Struggle Over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry. New York University Press. p.  198. ISBN   978-0-8147-5142-8.
  4. Keyvan Sarkhosh and Winfried Menninghaus (2016). "Enjoying trash films: Underlying features, viewing stances, and experiential response dimensions", Poetics vol. 57 (2016), pp. 40–54. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2016.04.002.
  5. Hawkins, Joan. "Sleaze Mania, Euro-Trash, and High Art: the Place of European Art Films in American Low Culture". Film Quarterly. Dec 1999, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 14–29.
  6. Payne, Robert M. "Beyond the Pale: Nudism, Race, and Resistance in "The Unashamed"". Film Quarterly. Vol. 54, no. 2 (winter 2000–2001). p. 28.
  7. Barrios, Richard (2003). Screened Out: Playing Gay in Hollywood from Edison to Stonewall . New York: Routledge. ISBN   978-0-415-92328-6.
  8. Walz, Eugene P. Canada's Best Features: Critical Essays on 15 Canadian Films Rodopi, 2002. P. xvii.
  9. 1 2 "The History of the Canadian Film Industry". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  10. 1 2 3 4 "Tax Shelter Terror: How the Canadian government created a whole new generation of fright flicks" Archived 20 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine . Toronto Film Scene, 22 October 2012.
  11. "Canuxploitation! Your Complete Guide to Canadian B-Film".
  12. 1 2 Hunt, Leon. A Sadistic Night at the Opera. In the Horror Reader, ed. [ clarification needed ] Ken Gelder. New York, Routledge, 2002. p. 325.
  13. Patterson, John. "The Cheapest Show on Earth". The Guardian (London). 31 July 2009.
  14. McLean, Tim. "God Bless the Working Man: the Films of Jim Wynorski". Paracinema. Jun 2008.
  15. Harlow, John (10 May 2009). "Mockbuster fires first in war with the Terminator". The Times (London).
  16. Evans, Joyce A. "Celluloid Mushroom Clouds: Hollywood and the Atomic Bomb". Westview Press, 1999. Pp. 102, 125.
  17. "Notes Toward a Lexicon of Roger Corman's New World Pictures". Accessed 10 August 2009.
  18. Antidote Films / Glass Eye Pix. The Last Winter press kit. [ permanent dead link ] n.p. ,[ clarification needed ] n.d. [ clarification needed ]
  19. Weissberg, Jay. "Mulberry Street". Variety. 407 no. 1. 21–27 May 2007.
  20. Lewis, Jon (2000). Hollywood V. Hard Core: How the Struggle Over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry. New York University Press. pp.  198–201. ISBN   978-0-8147-5142-8.
  21. Payne, Robert M. "Beyond the Pale: Nudism, Race, and Resistance in 'The Unashamed'". Film Quarterly, vol. 54, no. 2. (Winter, 2000–2001.) Pp. 27–29.
  22. Payne, Robert M. "Beyond the Pale: Nudism, Race, and Resistance in "The Unashamed"". Film Quarterly. Vol. 54, no. 2 (winter 2000–2001). pp. 32–34.
  23. Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! at IMDb
  24. Neroni, Hilary. The Violent Woman: Femininity, Narrative, and Violence in Contemporary Cinema. Albany, State University of New York Press, 2005. p. 171.
  25. Schubart, Nikke. Super Bitches and Action Babes: the Female Hero in Popular Cinema 1970–2006. McFarland, 2007. p. 84.
  26. Cohen, Richard. Beyond Enlightenment : Buddhism, Religion, Modernity. London, New York. Taylor & Francis Routledge, 2006. pp. 86–7.
  27. Horton, Andrew. Play It Again, Sam: Retakes on Remakes. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. p. 163.
  28. Schubart, Nikke. Super Bitches and Action Babes: the Female Hero in Popular Cinema 1970–2006. McFarland, 2007. pp. 86–7.
  29. Hollinger, Karen. "Review: The New Avengers: Feminism, Femininity, and the Rape/Revenge Cycle". Film Quarterly, vol. 55, no. 4 (summer 2002). pp. 61–63.
  30. "What Is Redsploitation?" (6 August 2010). Vice.com. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  31. Rigney, Todd (4 June 2015). "Space Rippers Releases Its First Intergalactic Teaser" . Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  32. Wells, Mitchell (4 June 2015). "Spacesploitation Slasher Releases Teaser Trailer" . Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  33. maniac. "Britsploitation". Grindhouse. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  34. Oller, Jacob (3 November 2015). "Christsploitation – Hollywood gives thanks for the new wave of faith movies". The Guardian . Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  35. "Learning Hebrew: A Gothsploitation Movie". www.learninghebrew.wibbell.co.uk.
  36. "MONDO MOD WORLDS OF HIPPIE REVOLT (AND OTHER WEIRDNESS). - THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE". thesocietyofthespectacle.com. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  37. Muñoz Castillo, Fernando (1993). Las Reinas del Trópico (The Queens of the Tropic). Grupo Azabache. pp. 16–19. ISBN   968-6084-85-1.
  38. "How 'Jaws' Forever Changed Our View of Great White Sharks". Live Science. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  39. Bealmear, Bart. ""The Pom Pom Girls": How a plotless 1976 teensploitation flick led to the rise of the slasher film". www.nightflight.com. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  40. Thomas, Bryan. ""The Beatniks": Hollywood hoodlums on a rock 'n' roll rampage that has absolutely nothing to do with beatniks". www.nightflight.com. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  41. McPadden, Mike (16 April 2019). Teen Movie Hell: A Crucible of Coming-of-Age Comedies from Animal House to Zapped!. New York: United States: Bazillion Points. ISBN   978-1935950233 . Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  42. McPadden, Mike. "Hot Dogs, Hamburgers & Porky's Gone Hog Wild: The TEEN MOVIE HELL Fat Guy Hall of Fame". www.dailygrindhouse.com. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  43. Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Türkische B-Movies: Süpertrash aus Hüllywood - SPIEGEL ONLINE - einestages". SPIEGEL ONLINE.
  44. Kolker, Robert Philip. "A Cinema of Loneliness". Pp. 258–265. New York, Oxford University Press, 2000.
  45. 1 2 Novak, Glenn D. "Social Ills and the One-Man Solution: Depictions of Evil in the Vigilante Film". International Conference on the Expressions of Evil in Literature and the Visual Arts, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Nov 1987. N.d. [ clarification needed ] .
  46. Lictenfeld, Eric. "Killer Films". The new vigilante movies. – By Eric Lichtenfeld – Slate Magazine, slate.com. 13 Sep 2007, accessed 30 July 2009.
  47. Haynes, Gavin (14 April 2015). "Sollywood: the extraordinary story behind apartheid South Africa's blaxploitation movie boom" via The Guardian.