He's a Bad Mutha... Shut yo mouth!
Michael Blowhard asks some interesting questions about what has become of exploitation movies as a genre in today's world where mainstream fare is a product of Hollywood's basic aim to exploit the viewing public. Of the methodology of movie marketing and production today, Michael writes, "Whatever the virtues of some of these movies (and some did have virtues), there's been a huge shift in the culture. These days, many if not most mainstream movies are conceived of in the "exploitation movie" way."
I tend to agree with his basic premise. There was a time that major studios were concerned with quality projects and directors like John Ford could flourish in a studio system, but let us not wax too nostalgic about those days of yore. Much main stream studio fare has always been driven by marketing campaigns and "hooks", and many a great director was chewed up and spit out by the Hollywood studios.
Probably the greatest purveyors of exploitation film were Roger Corman, along with American International's Samuel Z. Arkoff. There was a looseness and fun sensibility to those movies that is lacking from most Hollywood films. Mainstream movies, even though they are made with the marketing driven intent of exploitation movies, have the problem of taking themselves way too seriously. I can forgive schlock and even revel in it, but I can't forgive schlock posing as quality film making, no matter how expensive it was to produce.
Today's movies that fill the hole left by the exploitation movies of the past are more likely to be found in art houses than in drive-ins. Films that are the true heirs to '60s and '70s exploitation flicks are either the little art house horror jobs, like Cabin Fever, or possibly masquerading as high art, like most of Tarantino's work such as Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill. Occasionally Hollywood will do it right, such as with The Fast and the Furious, which Michael credits for the fun movie it was, but mostly even movies like that are saddled with too big a budget, too many big names and egos, and a marked lack of humor.
Read the whole thing here.