60s Week: Exploitation at the Drive-in

60s Week: Exploitation at the Drive-in


“We rob banks.”
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Grab a frosty Coca-Cola. Park a extra large plate of nachos next to your right hand because West Texas Weekly is taking you to the drive-in. My favorites? Roger Corman, Russ Meyer and Gordon Herschell Lewis.

Motion pictures are the art form of the 20th century, and one of the reasons is the fact that films are a slightly corrupted artform. They fit this century – they combine Art and business!– Roger Corman

The Trip: Roger Corman’s story about the tragic effects of drug use. Set in LA, this is a classic of the Youth/Hippie exploitation film.

In this classic, big-chested women whip weak men into shape.

Gordon Herschell Lewis defined the Gore genre: extensive use of blood and organs, color film and sub-par plots. Blood Feast is the great granddaddy of all slasher films.

I’ve often compared “Blood Feast” to a Walt Whitman poem — it’s no good but it’s the first.– Gordon Herschell Lewis.

Ilsa, She-wolf of the SS
features a blond, busty concentration camp commandant abusing and seducing her charges. The most distinctive example of “Nazisploitation”.

What are the themes of the 60s exploitation film? Cold war paranoia. Violence. Youth. Social Revolution.

Film, even commercial film for a mass audience, is becoming more volatile and subversive. The world is jaded an cosmopolitan; it takes more murder and lust to titillate jaded tastes. The Mondo films are a prime example; they just feature shocking footage of strange things from all ove the world:

On a DVD of ”The Intruder” (1962) William Shatner remembers how he and the Corman film crew finished shooting one step ahead of the Ku Klux Klan, which had threatened them in a small Missouri town. In the movie, released on DVD last week by Mr. Corman’s company, New Concorde, a professional race-baiter from the North, creepily portrayed by the young Mr. Shatner, nearly causes a lynching.

Other recent Corman DVD’s include ”Battle Beyond the Stars” (1980), a space saga written by John Sayles; ”Saint Jack” (1979), directed by Peter Bogdanovich and produced by Mr. Corman, about an American brothel keeper (Ben Gazzara) in Singapore; and a newer Corman production, ”Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘The Game of Death’ ” (2000), starring Jonathan Pryce. [Roger Corman’s Grateful Alumni. Peter M. Nichols, New York Times, April 6, 2001.]

Zombie film:

Science fiction:

“Take your stinkin’ paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”
Planet of the Apes (1968)

Youth exploitation:

“Who knows, Robin? This strange mixing of minds may be the greatest single service ever performed for humanity! Let’s go, but, inconspicuously, through the window. We’ll use our Batropes. Our job is finished.”
Batman (1966)

“When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

“I didn’t mean it.”
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

“I’m not even gonna swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They’ll see. They’ll see and they’ll know and they’ll say, ‘Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly.'”
Psycho (1960)
Biker movie:

Spaghetti Western:

Despite all the transformations in the industry, by 1961 the average production cost of an American feature film was still only $2 million—after adjusting for inflation, less than 10 percent more than it had been in 1950.[13] The traditional twin bill of B film preceding and balancing a subsequent-run A film had largely disappeared from American theaters. The AIP-style dual genre package was the new model. In July 1960, the latest Joseph E. Levine sword-and-sandals import, Hercules Unchained, opened at neighborhood theaters in New York. A suspense film, Terror Is a Man, ran as a “co-feature” with a now familiar sort of exploitation gimmick: “The dĂ©nouement helpfully includes a ‘warning bell’ so the sensitive can ‘close their eyes.'” That year, Roger Corman took AIP down a new road: “When they asked me to make two ten-day black-and-white horror films to play as a double feature, I convinced them instead to finance one horror film in color.” The resulting House of Usher typifies the continuing ambiguities of B picture classification. It was clearly an A film by the standards of both director and studio, with the longest shooting schedule and biggest budget Corman had ever enjoyed. But it is generally seen as a B movie: the schedule was still a mere fifteen days, the budget just $200,000 (one-tenth the industry average), and its 85-minute running time close to an old thumbnail definition of the B: “Any movie that runs less than 80 minutes.” Wikipedia Article on B Movies of the 60s