Last summer, my buddy Steve Bissette waxed eloquently about the virtues of one nasty little horror film "Creature."
Steve's reason for such a display of manly movie love was that "Creature" was an unadorned, unapologetic 1970s style drive in movie. It is low down, no holds barred film that would have been at home at any "ozoner" – a term Variety used to denote a drive-in – back in the day.
The fact that "Creature" was an abject failure at the box-office clouded some people's perception about the film. The mere fact it had a national theatrical run at all was a story in itself. Distribution is so tied up in this country it's next to impossible to get a low budget film into a theater.
Here's the trailer so you can get some of its retro flavor.
Sex, violence, a man in a monster suit and Sid Haig – get the picture?
Now, I've not yet seen "Creature," but I recently bought a film that is my candidate for a perfect little exploitation film: "Bitch Slap." Why is this a gem?
First, it has a wonderful exploitation title. I saw this film on the racks about two years ago and instantly wondered just what the heck it was. Getting someone to question what a film is about is a great marketing tool and exploitation is all about marketing.
The film makers knew exactly where they were going with the film. There is no pretension to aspire to art. Instead, as revealed in the great making of feature, the director and producer wanted to make an over-the-top film featuring three very hot women beating the crap out of some men, but primarily themselves as they search for some sort of treasure.
They chose performers who did the roles proudly. The three female leads were not known to me, but these women certainly gave it their all. There is only one brief moment of naked breasts in the film and none of the principals are involved with that scene. Instead there is a whole lot of old fashioned sizzle. I'm sure the push-up bras made up a significant part of the costuming budget!
With exploitation you have to deliver what the audience expects and with a film like this, the fight scenes need to be epic. Thanks to stunt coordinator Zoe Bell, they are exactly as what would hope.
The producer also made sure there were surprises. Eric Gruendeman and Rick Jacobson worked on both the "Xena" and "Hercules" televisions series. Michael Hurst, the co-star on "Hercules" plays a major role here, and Lucy Lawless and Kevin Sorbo makes cameos.
The budget was used well and with the use of a green screen, there are multiple virtual locations, but actually only one real one – a smart move. The script was obviously written to the budget, another smart move.
I had a ball with this politically incorrect movie. Perhaps it and "Creature" would make for a solid double bill. Now, if you have a countdown clock to run in the intermission your show would be complete!