Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Phil's Cult Classics: THAT'S SEXPLOITATION (2013) from Something Weird Video/Severin Films - May 14, 2015

As some of you might know, I'm a big fan of the old exploitation films, and I've been an avid fan of Something Weird Video, home of the largest library of exploitation films ever from the 1930's to the 1970's. Founded by Mike Vraney in 1990, the company has released thousands of films from all subgenres: Nudie Cuties, Roughies, Nudist Camps, Roadshow Rarities, Burlesque, Horror, Drive-In Classics, and Sexploitation. Before Vraney passed away in 2014, he along with filmmaker Frank Henenlotter teamed up with the "King of Exploitation" David F. Friedman to make the documentary THAT'S SEXPLOITATION, "The Untold Story of American Cinema from the 1920s to the 1960s!"

Original Theatrical Poster (2013)
The film's official synopsis: From director Frank Henenlotter (BASKET CASE, BRAIN DAMAGEand co-producer Mike Vraney (the late founder of Something Weird Video) comes the epic documentary critics call “fascinating” (Video Watchdog), “titillating” (Time Out Los Angeles) and “jaw-dropping” (Seattle Weekly): Henenlotter and legendary exploitation monarch David F. Friedman – in his final film appearance – are your hosts for this eye-popping expedition through the world of pre-code peekaboos, stags, sex-hygiene films, goona-goonas, nudie-cuties, roughies, druggies, white-coaters and more, featuring thousands of spicy, steamy and downright sleazy slips from the SWV archives.

This was a very insightful, and fun documentary that sheds a bright spotlight on these overlooked and forgotten within film history. Friedman is our ringmaster; guiding us through the hills and valleys of exploitation's vast library of subgenres and movies. Highlights are the early Roadshow Films of the 1930's and the sex hygiene movies of the 1940's: BECAUSE OF EVE, MOM AND DAD, CHILD BRIDE, SECRETS OF A HIGH SCHOOL GIRL, and WAGES OF SIN are personal favorites of mine. I own them and have watched them repeatedly. It's so amusing at what was so controversial back then is so tamed by today's society (however CHILD BRIDE is still hard to watch today). I would have loved to see these movies play in theaters back then! All the balleyhoo, posters, lobby cards, fake doctors selling sex hygiene books, it all sounded like so much fun! And people like Friedman laughed all the way to the bank.

Henenlotter shows up from time to time in the movie to give us some information about the changing times in America, what and how each decade was defined by the exploitation movies that were made, and how the filmmakers, producers, and distributors stayed on step ahead to make sure their product was bringing in the cash. Henenlotter is also a great historian in his own right, and would love to meet him one day and just pick is brain. I mean, his first film BASKET CASE actually played in a grindhouse theater on 42nd Street! That's bragging rights till the end of time!

Last person I would like to talk about is the late, great Mike Vraney, who produced the documentary. Vraney. He and Something Weird Video has released thousands of films, not only Friedman's movies, but also films from Harry Novak, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Doris Wishman, and many others. He championed these films and made them available for all those people who were into seeing something new and different. Mike Vraney died after a lengthy battle with lung cancer on January 2, 2014. He was just 56 years old. We owe this great man a debt that will never be able to pay back.

This was also David F. Friedman final film appearance. On February 14, 2011, Friedman died in his home in Anniston, Alabama at the age of 87. There will never, ever be another "King of Exploitation." But rest assured, both Friedman and Vraney are reunited somewhere out there.

Besides looking fantastic, the Blu-Ray also contains an audio commentary with Frank Henenlotter and Lisa Petrucci  (Vraney's widow who's now in charge of Something Weird Video), film's trailer and over "3.5 hours of Sexploitation Shorts from the Something Weird Archives!"

THAT'S SEXPLOITATION is a highly entertaining, wonderfully absurd and informative documentary that diehard exploitation fans will love and new viewers will get an education on these outrageous films!! I've been a fan for decades, and it's incredible to have this movie for us to watch over and over again!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THAT'S SEXPLOITATION is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD from Something Weird Video and Severin Films. To purchase a copy visit www.somethingweird.com or severin-films.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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