Here is a documentary that looks at some yellowed pages from the history of film. They are not mainstream, nor talked about openly in the academic circles. When a deluge of films is made on the current trend of the time, they are called exploitation films. Looked down upon by the big studios, these films play an important role in the history of films. What we find in these pages are the obscure details about exploitation films, starting from Edison’s ‘magical light shows’ through the golden era of exploitation films, the 60 and 70s, and into the end an era with the demise of the VHS cassette in the 90s.
The history of films cannot be complete without the stories of those who have tried to profit from it and to control it throughout history. It is these people who often lays down the rules for the industry and shapes the social thought of the period. The exploitation films never confirmed to the diktats of this powerful group and the studios hated them for it. These films stayed on the edges of acceptability and often stretched the boundaries of the film rating system. They embraced concepts and ideas which the big studios were sacred to touch They were the truly independent films. This experimentation with the risqué is what has moved cinema forward to where it is today.
Detailed, well researched, well represented and well laid out, VHS Massacre Too by Tom Seymour is a must-watch for everyone who with an interest in the future of the industry. As this medium evolves, transmuting from one format to other, this, in particular, is a chapter every independent filmmaker should read, to anticipate the future and prepare for the next change coming along.