[Jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

Grindhouse cinema

The 1948 Hollywood Antitrust Case led to the end of the Hollywood studio system and the development of art-house and grind-house movie theatres. [Nov 2005]

Sleazoid Express: A Mind-Twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse Cinema of Times Square (2002) - Bill Landis, Michelle Clifford [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Parent categories: exploitation film

Related: 42nd Street - drug films - sex film - violent film

Connoisseurs: Eddie Muller - Jack Stevenson - Sleazoid Express

Case study: Avon theatres

Contrast with: art-house cinema

Before the VCR revolution arrived, seeing an "Adults Only" movie meant venturing to a "grindhouse"--a usually seedy (sometimes decrepit) theater characterized by a sticky floor and raincoated patrons. And before the grindhouse, the ticket takers for carnival sideshows tried to lure customers with extravagant promises of sights beyond the imaginable--such as film of an exotic dancer, or a real birth, or the effects of venereal disease. --Gary Johnson, http://www.imagesjournal.com/issue02/reviews/grind.htm [Apr 2004]


A grindhouse is an American term for a theater that shows exploitation films; it is also used as an adjective to describe the kind of films that would play in such a theatre. While just about any film that had too much sex or too much violence to play in a mainstream theatre was fair game for the grindhouses, the term has connotations of leaning more towards violent movies. Frequent fare for such theatres were low-budget Japanese and Chinese movies, specifically kung-fu and samurai movies, usually known for being exceptionally bloody.

The term grind-house may also refer to a kind of low-budget inner-city theater common in American cities from the 1950s until the 1980s. Having been movie palaces during the cinema boom of the 1930s and 1940s, these theaters had fallen into disrepair by the 1960s. Grind-houses were known for "grinding out" non-stop, triple-bill programs of B movies. Beginning in the late 1960s and especially during the 1970s, the subject matter of grindhouse features often included explicit sex, violence, and other taboo content. By the end of the 1970s, many grind-houses were exclusively pornographic and the trashy exploitation movies shown in them were regularly discussed in fanzine Sleazoid Express.

By the 1980s, home video threatened to render the grind-house obsolete. By the end of the decade, these theaters had vanished from New York City's 42nd Street, Los Angeles' Broadway and Hollywood Boulevard, and San Francisco's Market Street, just to name a few. By the mid-1990s, the grindhouse completely disappeared from American culture.

The genre's influence on contemporary cinema can be found in such films as Kill Bill by director Quentin Tarantino, who is a self-declared lover of exploitation cinema. Since the 1990s, this genre has also received attention from academic circles, where it is sometimes called paracinema. [Nov 2006]

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grindhouse

Etymology of the term

Grindhouse was a term coined and perpetuated by the trade paper, Variety, to describe theaters on big-city downtown movie strips, like New York’s 42nd Street or San Francisco’s Market Street, which ran double (and sometimes triple) features of films continuously, practically around the clock, with little or no time between films (i.e., the films 'grinded' up against each other). Such theaters don’t exist anymore. When we talk about 'grindhouse movies,' we refer to the types of action and exploitation movies that played at these theaters (blaxploitation, Italian westerns, kung fu, slasher, etc.)." --Brian Camp , 09/28/2003, 08:56:54 via http://www.mhvf.net/forum/general/posts/124245630.html

Kill Bill cycle

Tarantino pays loving tribute to grindhouse cinema, specifically the Hong Kong action flicks and spaghetti Westerns. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com

Burlesque theaters gone to seed

New York City's grindhouses (burlesque theaters gone to seed) --Bill Landis


The rise of the VCR as a mass consumer product, meant the end of grindhouse cinema in the early eighties.

Meanwhile, at Amazon

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications