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Troma is a film production and distribution company, started by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz that, since 1974, has been producing low budget independent movies non-stop. Troma's films have a solid cult following, and are unique in that they are well known in the mainstream Hollywood circles, even though their films are not mainstream pictures.

Troma films are known for their use of very shocking imagery; some would categorize them as "shock exploitation films". They typically contain overt sexuality, graphic violence, gore and nudity, so much that the term Troma Film has become synonymous with these characteristics. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troma_Entertainment [Nov 2005]

Can The Films Of Troma Studios Be Considered True Exploitation?

... from the work of roadshow operators, such as Dwain Esper and the Forty Thieves, through the days of sexploitation and the drive in and the work of such figures as Russ Meyer and the glory days of American International Pictures, to the birth of gore with Herschell Gordon Lewis and all he inspired, up to right up to the eighties.

A Brief History And Definition Of Exploitation Film
A lot of people have very different definitions of what constitutes an exploitation film and over the years there has been much debate on the subject. For some any film that is slightly out of the ordinary, or any film that deals with subjects rarely found in the mainstream would be considered exploitation. Others use the word to describe films that contain “an obvious cheap thrill, be it sex and nudity, violence or some other real life aberration – physical or sexual.” [2] Other’s still, such as Eric Schaefer, in his book “Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!” only count those films made up to around 1959 as being true exploitation and classes those made after as “Hollywood B-Movies and low budget genre pictures” [3] . But exploitation films are no different from other, usually bigger budget films, as all have to appeal “to some desire or fear that the audience may have” [4] otherwise how could anyone sell them to an audience? Roger Corman, director and producer of over four hundred films, also comments on exploitation and big budget films saying, “ “Exploitation”, films were so named because you made a film with about something wild with a great deal of action, a little sex, and possibly some sort of strange gimmick; they often came out of the day’s headlines. It’s interesting how, decades later, when the majors saw they could have enormous commercial success with big-budget exploitation films, they gave them loftier terms – “genre” films or “high concept” films” [5] .

The origins of exploitation film lie in the very early days of cinema itself and also have roots in the days of travelling carnivals and roadshow operators in America when exhibitors travelled from town to town showing “educational” films warning of the dangers of things such as white slavery, “Traffic In Souls” (1913), and even the dangers of Mormons in the film “Trapped By The Mormons” (1922), which was quickly banned by the Mormon church. Exploitation then became a recognised category of film in the 1920’s and 1930’s after restrictions on what could be shown in films was started to be imposed on the industry in the form of The Thirteen Points or Standards in 1921 and the Motion Picture Production Code (the Hays Code) in 1930. These new rulings meant that any topics considered taboo, such as sex, nudity and drug use, could no longer be shown in films. This is therefore where the exploiters found a niche in the market and it wasn’t long before filmmakers and showmen were making and touring America with films on a whole range of subjects, untouchable for most filmmakers working within the studio system. The subjects of the films included such things as abortion, single motherhood, contraception and drug use and were advertised under the guise of being warnings about the evils of the world. These films were shocking enough to appeal but also made sure to include enough moralising to get past the local censors. From the late 1930s to the 1950s America’s exploitation film industry was run by the “roadshow operators”, who working both with and against each other toured America with the sole aim of making money from taboo films. The most famous group of operators were known as “The Forty Thieves” (due to the fact that their films rarely contained the lurid scenes what was promised in the promotion and they were effectively stealing customers money), who included promoters and filmmakers like Kroger Babb and David Friedman. --Matt Richardson, 2002 via http://www.troma.com/fansart/term/dissertation.htm

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