Sex and Violence Sells

analytical Essay
1078 words
1078 words

Gaining prevalence in the 1970’s, exploitation films challenged the accepted standards of film at the time. Taking away more power from mainstream Hollywood, audiences were introduced to previously censored, controversial and disturbing content in film for the first times. Multiple factors contributed to the rise of exploitation; some even credit the films with the final decline of the major studio system. Many famous directors of the last decades got their starts in exploitation, using popular culture of the time to advance their influence in the film industry, eventually leading to the rise of independent studios.
Exploitation films owe much of their credit to cautionary films of the 1930’s. Skirting the established morals of the time by showcasing subjects such as drug use and premarital sex in a negative light, films like Reefer Madness were presented as educational pieces, dramatizing the horrible things that would happen to deviant pot smokers of the time. Similar films such as Sex Madness soon followed suit, showcasing the horrors of venereal diseases plaguing those who engaged in premarital sex. Maintaining Hollywood’s wholesome and clean image was a strict production code, devised to censor many films containing content that one might find disturbing. With the total vertical integration of the studio system, it was almost impossible to distribute a film containing anything objectionable.
The Paramount Decree of 1948 forced the major studio to divest their exhibition holdings including their monopoly over theaters. Soon, an increasing number of smaller theatres began appearing. This rise in independent theaters greatly contributed to a growing number of independent productions, and a widespread introduction of European a...

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... budget film would manage to bring in audiences. Some moralistic individuals viewed films simply to see just how grotesque they could possibly be, but it didn’t matter to directors—a ticket sale was a ticket sale.
Exploitation didn’t end with the rise of the blockbuster film. Even today we see forms of the exploitation film that are immensely popular with audiences. The Evil Dead remake was one of the most popular films of 2013, despite the fact that it featured hipsters being slaughtered in grotesque ways. Yes, I was offended while watching the film, but it didn’t matter to me, the comedic level of violence was entertaining. Something seemed satirical about watching a group of twenty-something hipsters fighting drug addiction and falling victim to angry poltergeists in the woods. I guess the appeal of watching alt-culture individuals getting wrecked lives on today.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how television became the new "family friendly" medium of choice, with art film houses and grindhouses gaining popularity. independent, low-budget studios beat their big-studio counterparts to market violent films based around popular culture.
  • Analyzes how roger corman's bucket of blood was an early example of exploitation that featured a plot centered around the period social movement, the beatniks.
  • Opines that exploitation films had ridiculous levels of violence, sex, and bizzarity — they were satirical or comedic because of their low budgets and limited production design.
  • Opines that the popularity of exploitation films continues today. the evil dead remake featured hipsters being slaughtered in grotesque ways.
  • Explains how exploitation films challenged the accepted standards of film in the 1970's, and credited them with the decline of the major studio system.
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