Next week, I will be attending a screening for Haywire. As some of you may recall, initially I was a bit on the fence about seeing this one. But my expectations are now set I am ready for an action-packed, highly stylized exploitation film from director Stephen Soderbergh.
That got me thinking about the genre of exploitation films – and what films would fit the bill. I cannot absolutely declare a personal love for the genre, but I have never shied away from seeing any of the films if the opportunity presents itself, which to be honest, is not too often.
So in the small window of time I had to prepare this post, I decided to do a little ‘research’ on the subject. This research revealed that my limited exposure to the exploitation genre was only the tip of the iceberg. Based on what I have seen or read, I make the following observations:
- During the earlier days of cinema films like Reefer Madness (1934), Freaks (1932), Marihuana (1936), Assassin of Youth (1937) and the Road to Ruin (1934) stand out as favorites of mine. Road to Ruin has the dubious distinction of being made TWICE (there was a silent version made in 1928).
- Among the various and sundry sub-genres, there is one called ‘Canuxploitation’ (Canadian B-Films); there is even a website dedicated to the films of the genre
- Some of the titles, however odd they may appear, may actually end up on my Netflix queue in the not too distant future … namely Vanishing Point.
- While several renowned filmmakers have remained in or on the periphery of what would be classified as exploitation cinema (George Romero, John Carpenter, Roger Corman, to name a few) there are a few who transitioned to more mainstream fare, such as Jonathan Demme, who directed the ‘women in prison’ flick Caged Heat (1974).
Others have their own opinion on the topic of exploitation films as well. If you get a moment check out these links:
- Complex Magazine’s 10 Sickest Exploitation Movies: On this list, I have only seen Two Thousand Maniacs
- Rotten Tomatoes’ Top Ten Death Proof Exploitation Films: this list is a little more ‘mainstream’ with selections such as Foxy Brown and Shaft; there is also the more comprehensive Grindhouse Guide.
- Wired magazine gets in on the action with their choice of The Best Exploitation Flicks; this list also features (the aforementioned) Two Thousand Maniacs, Freaks and another favorite of mine, Night of the Living Dead (another one my dad had me watch).
- Another Wired piece takes it to the readers and asks them which films they think are the best exploitation films.
And now I take it to you: Are any of you a fan of exploitation films? If so, what are your favorites?