“Exploitation films have an attitude more than anything,” says Basket Case director Frank Henenlotter. “It’s an attitude that you don’t normally find with mainstream Hollywood productions. They’re a little ruder, a little cruder, they deal with material people don’t normally touch upon.”
Henenlotter knows all about exploitation films, having cut class as a kid to visit 42nd Street, which in the 1970s was lined with run-down movie houses that played double and triple bills of filth and sleaze. There were low-budget horror films, kung-fu films, dubbed foreign oddities, and of course there were sexploitation films.
In seeking an edge over the major studios, filmmakers relied on gimmicks, and no gimmick proved cheaper than female nudity. When the rubber monsters attack the nude beach babe in the Roger Corman-produced Humanoids From The Deep, for instance, you suddenly forget about all those times you saw the cameraman’s shadow, the boom mike or the zipper running down the monster’s back.
A well-rounded cinematic diet needs sexploitation films just as surely as it needs Kurosawa and Fellini. Probably more so, because they’re in English and feature cheerleaders who can do things with a baton you wouldn’t believe.
Until Henenlotter and Corman make another movie, here’s 10 sexploitation films guaranteed to give you sweet dreams.