Today, big-screen schlock-busters like Machete and Piranha 3-D seek to recapture the heyday of the American exploitation film, a time when film unabashedly celebrated excessive violence, gratuitous nudity and over-the-top gore. The new documentary American Grindhouse traces the exploitation film from the very beginning of cinema on to the "educational" child-birth and "nudie cutie" films of the '50s to the LSD and biker films of the '60s and into the golden age of the '70s, when blaxploitation and "women in prison" films screened nonstop at the cinemas along New York's 42nd Street. Narrated by grindhouse icon Robert Forster, the film boasts interviews with the likes of Herschell Gordon Lewis, Larry Cohen and John Landis, punctuated with countless clips from the A list of B-movies. American Grindhouse screens at 7:30 p.m. this evening in Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries). Tickets are $5 to $6.
Thu., Sept. 16, 2010