‘Naughty,’ ‘nasty,’ ‘culty’

Exploitation film

Authored by: Ernest Mathijs

The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138950276
eBook ISBN: 9781315668819
Adobe ISBN:


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In 1963, the magazine Film Comment, then one year old, devoted an article to exploitation film. 1 The short essay by Frank Ferrer was an eccentric account of a film circuit shunned by the mainstream media that was nonetheless a popular albeit offbeat part of the film industry. Equally a manual-of-sorts and a warning for investors, the essay is valuable because it is one of the earliest attempts to define exploitation film while it was at a crossroads – in between classical ‘moral danger’ film and modern risqué film, and because it highlights core industry practices. ‘It is obvious that everyone exploits one another,’ Ferrer writes, yet ‘everyone [makes] a contribution, artistically or technically.’ ‘The distributor’ he quickly adds, ‘is a parasite. […] the man who ultimately realizes the biggest profit from the suckers who patronize this kind of film trash’ (33).

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