12 Trashiest Films Ever Made

An exercise in bad taste.

Basic Instinct
TriStar Pictures

In this ultra-sensitive era, where people are routinely shamed and humiliated for using the wrong terminology, it€™s heartening to discover the kinds of films whose makers didn€™t care what anyone thought. No pandering to political correctness here; these films want to entertain you with merry tales of sadistic biker gangs, Nazi zombies and bisexual lap dancers.

The natural home for such pictures was New York€™s 42nd Street which during the €œgolden age€ of exploitation cinema consisted of porno stores and movie theatres showing double or triple bills promising sex and violence. Plywood archways fitted around the entrances to the theatre lobbies were adorned with film stills to which fake blood would be added, along with words like SHOCK, LURID or SEX. It was, in short, a long way from when John Barrymore had performed Hamlet there during the 1920s.

Once inside, the coming attractions promised yet more sex and violence. €œSex Experiments In Pursuit Of A Better Tomorrow!€ claims the tagline for SS Experiment Camp, which turns out to be better than the movie itself. Exploitation filmmakers might not have been up there with Kubrick and Kurosawa, but they knew how to sell their product.

What happened to 42nd Street is what ultimately happened to American cinema: it was sanitized and made €œrespectable.€ Major studios began releasing €œprestigious€ films that, for all their A-list talent, were nothing more than glorified exploitation pictures.

As the following movies prove, a trashy movie is a trashy movie, regardless of how much it cost to make.

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Ian Watson is the author of 'Midnight Movie Madness', a 600+ page guide to "bad" movies from 'Reefer Madness' to 'Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.'