Saturday, June 18, 2011

Schlock! The Secret History Of American Movies (2001)

What we have here is a 90 minute documentary on Exploitation flicks from the 30's to the 70's. It touches upon many of the important exploitation genres and starts with the drug scare films like Reefer Madness and moves its way onto the "Teenage pictures" movies like I Was A Teenage Frankenstein and I Was A Teenage Werewolf. From here they go on to explaining the importance of poster art and titles. Its not long before American International Pictures and Samuel Z. Arkoff and Roger Corman are explaining their roles in the exploitation world.
Vampira appears and discusses the repression of sexual freedom in the 50's and the need for a darker sex icon. Next up we have Sexploitation greats like Doris Wishman and her take on the Nudist Camp films.
We get the great David Friedman and his view on the general boredom of the Nudist Colony films and the death of the Nudie Cuties and the birth of the new mean spirited Roughies. Schlock! spends quite a bit of time on the violent Roughie films and Sexploitation in general. It briefly goes into the birth of the gore films with Mr. Friedman and H.G.Lewis, with discussion of Blood Feast but doesn't go much further then that.

I felt the only downfall of the documentary was that it didn't explore the exploitation subgenres deeply enough. Rape/Revenge flicks were never touched upon neither were Blaxploitation movies or Biker films, etc.

Still Schlock! is a cool documentary that shows the birth and death of Exploitation movies with the destruction of the drive-inns and its loaded with cool interviews from greats like Forrest J Ackerman, Dick Miller, Harry Novack and we get lots of cool clips from Exploitation movies while poster art fills the screen of hideous monsters of scantily clad women. Schlock! is a perfect time passer for fans of these types of movies.

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