Exploitation film may be technically defined as cheaply made photographs that are distributed by road showmen or by any local independents also known as state’s-righter. The exploitation pictures had a characteristic of having between 15 to 20 pictures and they were being moved from place to place. Another thing that happened is that they leased the theatre, and could do whatever they wanted provided the exhibitor had been paid and they had their own cashier manning the operations of the theatre (Schaefer, 1999: 3).
The above definition of exploitation film indicates that for quite a long time, exploitation film was a broad term which included movies which were engineered to appeal to kids. It also went further to include those that were even more disrepute. The broad term showed the extent to which the historical way of looking at things had been changed over time to embrace a wide range of practices. Films that heavily talked about forbidden topics that came from the mainstream industry sometimes were being referred to as blues or sometimes Main street movies. These terms were used because they used to refer to the low end theatres which frequently booked them. Even though exploitation film most used in conversations, it was also being used in the print to mean picture as early as 1933 (Clover, 1992:138)
Exploitation film can also be described as one which focuses more on morbid elements. Such elements always excite or fascinate people (Nourmand, 2006:67). A good example would be a movie which focuses more on the ways of committing crime than on the steps that should be taken to combat such crimes. Another instance would be a film that is too violent for no apparent reason. A film which contains a lot of sexual scenes would also qualify to be referred to an exploitation film.
Exploitation film was also a term used during the period of 1970 to mean movies that were cheaply made, from materials which were highly of low quality. These films were made by poorly developed firms. Very few well known artists associated themselves with this kind of movies because they feared such movies would injure their reputation. They used shoddy standings which relied heavily on stock footage and had quite a number of continuity mistakes. This is because they only used simple cameras with basic editing while the sound system recording systems were very poor. The budget that sometimes was allocated to such movies was also too small to accommodate its production (Imanjaya, 2009:147)
Exploitation film also meant the films that were release at any time of the year. The films that were considered non-exploitative had a specific duration or time spam that passed before they were released. The exploitation films are described as those which could be produced for ten, twenty or many more years. These films lacked familiar artists and hence they lacked general public appeal. Going to watch the exploitative films was sometimes not a better thing to do. This is because there were several activities which occurred after the show of the film. There were quite a number of odd things like selling pamphlets, slide presentations or even lectures. Sometimes there were the uniformed nurses who were always ready to attend to the viewers who had problems watching the shocking sights. Gender issue as well as race issues also dominated such kind of films. Several scenes were meant for adults only (Anne, 1997:6)
The exploitation films were quite a number. The makers of these films had specific individuals on mind and had the message which they intended to reach a particular audience. Some the films which had been considered as been exploitative include Cannibal Holocaust, Hard Candy, Reefer Madness, Child Bride and many more. This discussion however focuses on Bound and Gagged and the Hard Candy.
Bound and Gagged is a film about a little kid who is in distress. She is captured by the villain and restrained in an old building. To prevent her from making noise, she is gagged so that the hero cannot come to her rescue. In the olden days, such scenes would incorporate some kind of death trap. The main reason of using the death trap was to create suspense in the movie, a factor which makes the viewer to continue watching (Kipnis, 1996:13). The victim’s mobile phone is taken away from her and when anybody calls, it’s the villain who receives and gives demands that ought to be met within a particular time span. In this film, the villain tells the captured person that they now have them. Such words are mainly used to make angry the captured and and so they always show a picture of being defiant.
This may also be done for the purpose of adding humor into the blockbuster movies. This is done in a situation where the captured person has an annoying attitude. The group decides to tie him or her up as a way of getting rid of him or her. The individual may also be gagged if need be. At some point, the tying up of an individual may be as a result of a mishap. Such incidences also add humor into the exploitative film.
When such scenes are included in a drama with scenes that talks about death, there will always be very dark lighting sessions with very few. Mostly such movies tend to have quite a number of light-hearted expeditions which try to incorporate horrific sessions. In most cases, the humorous part is seen when the hero tries to escape. When exploitation film is played for drama purposes, the emphasis is always on how terrible the person who had been captured feels. A lot of focus is always put on the facial expressions and very little is given on the bonds.
Another exploitation film is the Hard Candy, which features Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page. Ellen acts as the photographer here. The two meet in a restaurant after they had at first chatted on a social platform. They agree to have fun at Jeff’s place. Jeff drinks and loses his consciousness and when he comes back to normal, he finds himself tied up and he is being interrogated by a teen girl. This is followed by psychological torture sessions, several arguments (Kipnis, 1996:13).
The film is made lively because of its controversial nature and it’s the way its characters are hard to categorize. This film also tries to show how the blockbuster movies which had an audience whose characteristic are hard to determine.
“Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!” a history of exploitation films, 1919-1959.Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Dissertation Services, 1997. Print.
Clover, Carol J. Men, Women and Chain Saw: gender in the modern horror film. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992. Print.
Erick, Schaefer. A History of Exploitation Films. Duke: Duke University Press, 1999. Print.
Imanjaya, Ekky. The Other Side of Indonesia: New Order’s Indonesian Exploitation; Cinema as Cult Films. USA: Monash University, 2009: (18)143-143-159. Print.
Kipnis, Laura. Bound and gagged: pornography and the politics of fantasy in America. New York: Grove Press, 1966. Print.
Lescroart, John T..Hard Evidence. New York: D.I. Fine, 1993. Print.
Nourmand, Tony. Film posters: exploitation. Koln: Evergreen/Taschen, 2006. Print.
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