Schlock: The Secret History of American Movies
From The Deuce
- Released in 2004
- B & W/Color
- Running Time: 90 Min.
- Distributed by Pathfinder Entertainment
Cast and Crew
- Directed by Ray Greene
Schlock is a well executed documentary on the history of Exploitation cinema of the early to mid 20th century and looks at the beginnings of the original Exploitation genres including: Nudies, Roughies and Gore. Each chapter of the film takes a look at the different genres and filmmakers of the time. Theres some nice interviews on the film with Exploitation King Roger Corman, Sexploitation pioneers Harry Novak, Doris Wishman and David F. Friedman and also interviews with the legendary TV host Vampira (Maila Nurmi), Sci Fi-Horror Guru Forrest Ackerman, B Movie regular Dick Miller (A Bucket of Blood, The Terror) and Director Peter Bogdanovich (Targets). Sadly there were no interviews with Sexploitation king Russ Meyer or The Godfather of Gore: Herschell Gordon Lewis included. Writer-Director Ray Greene explains in the audio commentary that when he contacted Meyer, he really turned his nose up at him, because the project wasn't special enough.
Greene does a very good job bringing us through Exploitation Cinema's main roots. Starting with an introduction to Exploitation Cinema by one of its pioneers: Roger Corman who gives us his definition of what Exploitation means. In the next chapter we meet Vampira aka Maila Nurmi, who hosted her own TV show in the 1950s which showcased classic B-movies. We move on to the films of American International Pictures and Roger Corman and Samuel Z. Arkoff. Ray Greene uses alot of Exploitation movie art in the film, which is really great.
For the Sexploitation lovers, theres plenty of nudity in the film as well. You'll see Birth Hygiene film clips, Nudist Camp clips and segments from the infamous Roughie films. NOTE: The graphically bloody clips of HG Lewis' seminal gore classic Blood Feast were edited. Director Ray Greene chose not to show the violence of these films for personal reasons. Its understandable, but then why do a documentary on Exploitation films and not show the films in their entirety? It left me feeling sort of "gyped".
Schlock is an entertaining and educational look at the roots of the Exploitation genre. I wish there was more to the film regarding the 70s Exploitation genres like Blaxploitation and Kung Fu etc, but this film only covers a short period. Mainly the 50s and 60s. For newbies to the Exploitation genre, it will give you some nice info and let you know what they are about, where they came from and where to start if you want to watch some of these often unappreciated gems of pop culture. Pathfinder did a very nice job with this release.
Reviewed by Popeye Pete - 6/20/06
- Region 1
- Studio: Pathfinder Pictures
- Picture: Fullscreen
- Special Features: Exclusive behind the scenes footage with sexploiteers Harry Novak, Doris Wishman and David F. Friedman | Nuclear propaganda short: "The Atom and Eve" | KPCC Radio Interview with Director Ray Greene | Exploitation art gallery | Cast and Crew Bios | Unreleased Soundtrack Music | Audio commentary with director Ray Greene and co-producer Wade Major.