Exploitation films often attempt to financially succeed by exploiting the following: sex, drugs, gore, the bizarre, destruction, violence, nudity and much more. In most cases, these types if movies are low quality B-movies, however they attract people’s attention and they can easily become fans of the film. The earliest form of exploitation cinema was seen around the early 1920’s.
Cara of Popcornhorror.com explains: “Exploitation is very loosely defined, and has more to do with a viewer’s perception of the film than with the film’s actual content. Titillating material and artistic content often coexist, as demonstrated by the fact that art films that failed to pass the Hays Code were often shown in the same grindhouses as exploitation films. Indeed, many films which may at one point been considered exploitation are now considered culturally significant; the most notable examples being Night of the Living Dead or Tod Browning’s Freaks.” – (Cara, 2016)
Taking a look at the remake of the original 1979 film, “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015), directed by George Miller, this movie is a perfect example of a combination of many exploitations featured across the plot of the film.
Immediately at the beginning, the audience is shown a bizarre, two headed lizard, that is then squashed and eaten by a man - which plucks at one’s curiosity.
The film then goes on to show fast paced action with heavily modified vehicles chasing one another, the character being chased by a group of men with white paint all over their bodies (which is again bizarre; the film features a lot of “freaks” to capture the audience’s attention).
The introduction of tough female character Furiosa makes quite a difference to what is usually seen in films – women as eye candy, weak, in need of men, however this is included anyway as the wives of Joe accompany Furiosa on her adventure. Furiosa is also an amputee, which is rarely seen in films, but this shows that it doesn’t slow her down, and she has a robotic arm as a replacement, adding to her toughness. Robbie Collin states: “Fury Road’s alpha male is, in fact, a woman: the rogue soldier Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, who masterminds the escape while Max rides shotgun. Furiosa is one of the toughest, most resilient action heroes in years, with a metal prosthetic arm that hints at past trauma and a steely gaze that sees more on the way.” (Collin, 2015)
Max is placed on the front of a vehicle and has his blood being taken away, which is a very unusual occurrence, but this adds to the viewer wanting to continue watching. Violence, action and explosions follow, including gunshots, punches, car slamming, driving blindly into a storm and vehicles exploding. This adds more excitement to the feature.
Going back to the five wives, the exploitation of women, nudity and sexual references are displayed in this film, to further grab the audience; they are draped in white, are thing, good looking women with soft features and they are the opposite of the main characters. The five wives are also selected for breeding, showing that this is their only real purpose, and in addition, one is heavily pregnant. Joe is desperate to get his wives back, and follows Furiosa and the team on an action packed journey.
Joe is eventually killed by Furiosa, and once they return with the corpse, the citizens are delighted as they are now free.
With all this going on, the real plot is actually rather simple: driving one way, and then coming back again, but with the addition of all these exploitations, the film is thrilling and entertaining to watch. Robbie Collin explains: “Fury Road goes even further: the film is almost nothing but chase, with each high-octane action sequence shunting into the next at breakneck speed.”(Collin, 2015)
A mixture of a number of exploitations combined with an extraordinarily simple plot shows how successful films can really be.
Collin, R. (Accessed on 21/11/2016) telegraph.co.uk http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/mad-max-fury-road/review/
C. (Accessed on 21/11/2016) popcornhorror.com http://popcornhorror.com/exploitation-film/
Fig 1: (Accessed on 21/11/2016) http://www.joblo.com/movie-posters/2015/mad-max-fury-road#image-32826
Fig 2: (Accessed on 21/11/2016) http://media.comicbook.com/uploads1/2015/05/furiosa-and-mad-max-136006.jpg
Fig 3: (Accessed on 21/11/2016) http://static2.businessinsider.com/image/55522244ecad046341df28ab-960/mad-max.jpg
Fig 4: (Accessed on 21/11/2016) https://i.ytimg.com/vi/hEJnMQG9ev8/maxresdefault.jpg
Fig 5: (Accessed on 21/11/2016) http://www.nappertime.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mad-max-stunts-2.jpg