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American exploitation

Related: American censorship - American erotica - American horror - American culture - blaxploitation - exploitation - exploitation film

Various: 42nd Street - Bizarre (magazine) - Jay A. Gertzman - Harmony Publications - HOM (House of Milan) - Earl Kemp - Richard Kern - Irving Klaw - roughie (film genre) - Eric Stanton - TAO Productions - John Willie - white coaters

Film exploitation directors: Kroger Babb - Larry Cohen - Roger Corman - Dwain Esper - David Friedman - Jack Hill - H.G. Lewis - Joseph P. Mawra - Andy Milligan - William Mishkin - Russ Meyer - Joe Sarno - Doris Wishman

Titles: Freaks (1932) - Blood Feast (1963) - Olga series - Ilsa - She Wolf of the SS (1974)

The Pleasure Machines (1967) - Ronald Víctor García
image sourced here.

BEFORE THE END of Hollywood’s production code and the rise of hard-core pornography, some of independent film’s most creative minds were hard at work in the exploitation, soft-core and nudie genres. A few elevated their craft into an art form. Russ Meyer, Joseph Sarno and Radley Metzger all flourished during the 1960s, offering that extra something the European imports didn’t – violence, plus an underlying American sense of morality. --http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/summer2001/reports/named_olga.php [Apr 2005]

The Place of European art films in American low culture

Influential article by Joan Hawkins on the intersection of exploitation and art film.

European art and avant-garde/experimental films) and popular culture
Open the pages of any U.S. horror fanzine--Outre, Fangoria, Cinefantastique--and you will find listings for mail order video companies which cater to afficionados of what Jeffrey Sconce has called "paracinema" and trash aesthetics.(1) Not only do these mail order companies represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the video market,(2) their catalogues challenge many of our continuing assumptions about the binary opposition of prestige cinema (European art and avant-garde/experimental films) and popular culture.(3) Certainly, they highlight an aspect of art cinema which is generally overlooked or repressed in cultural analysis, namely, the degree to which high culture trades on the same images, tropes, and themes which characterize low culture. --Sleaze Mania, Euro-trash, and High Art, Film Quarterly, Winter, 1999 by Joan Hawkins http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1070/is_2_53/ai_59210751/pg_1 [Mar 2005]

High mingles with low
In the world of horror and cult film fanzines and mail order catalogues, what Carol J. Clover calls "the high end" of the horror genre(4) mingles indiscriminately with the "low end." Here, Murnau's Nosferatu (1921) and Dreyer's Vampyr (1931) appear alongside such drive-in favorites as Tower of Screaming Virgins (1971) and Jail Bait (1955). Even more interesting, European art films which have little to do with horror--Antonioni's L'avventura (1960), for example--are listed alongside movies which Video Vamp labels "Eurocinetrash." European art films are not easily located through separate catalogue subheadings or listings. Many catalogues simply list film titles alphabetically, making no attempt to differentiate among genres or subgenres, high or low art. In Luminous Film and Video Wurks Catalogue 2.0, for example, Jean-Luc Godard's edgy Weekend (1968) is sandwiched between The Washing Machine (1993) and The Werewolf and the Yeti (1975). Sinister Cinema's 1996-97 catalogue, which organizes titles chronologically, lists Godard's Alphaville (1965) between Lightning Bolt (1965) and Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966).(5) --Sleaze Mania, Euro-trash, and High Art, Film Quarterly, Winter, 1999 by Joan Hawkins http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1070/is_2_53/ai_59210751/pg_1 [Mar 2005]

See also: Joan Hawkins

Cool it Baby (1967) - Lou Campa

As crumbling cultural barriers were allowing more and more on-screen nudity, something of a l’age d’or of titillation was developing. From the relatively high-profile Russ Meyer to the lesser-known Doris Wishman, Joe Sarno and Joseph P. Mawra, each filmed their private fetishes, desires and hang-ups for a pittance, normally backed by clueless financiers who were willing to bankroll titles that often had little or nothing to do with the finished picture. Without script or concept, a producer would assemble a crew of inexpensive, hungry talent and tell them, “I want a sex film called Cool It, Baby.” It was their job to make it happen.

Most of what they ended up making, however, was substandard and generally dismissed as trash. But some of the people worked from true creative expression — people like Marzano. Through Lew Waldeck, Joe met Lou Campa and George Weiss, who were ready to embark on a new project. Campa had just finished the tawdry Artist’s Studio Secrets, and Weiss’s reputation dated back to producing Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda?. (Waldeck recalled that Weiss wrote the sensational wording for all four Olga’s Girls trailers and took it as a goof, while Campa accepted his exaggerated prose as serious ad copy.) They gave Waldeck $12,000 to make a picture, and said whatever he didn’t spend would be his salary. Given that enticing stipulation, he brought in Cool It, Baby (1967) for seven grand. --Nathan Schiff via http://home.comcast.net/~flickhead/Venus-in-Furs.html [Nov 2005]

More films in the 'high end' of exploitaton

  1. God Told Me To (1976) - Larry Cohen [Amazon.com]

    See Larry Cohen

  2. What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966) - Woody Allen, Senkichi Taniguchi [1 DVD, Amazon US]

    See Woody Allen

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