Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Still on experimental/exploitation cinema

I write this in English, even though my earlier post about the subject was in Finnish. I exclaimed in my original paper that there were no contact points between the exploitation and experimental cinema, with the exception of one Morgan Fisher who worked as an editor for Roger Corman in the early seventies and also made experimental films of his own (Standard Gauge, for example [I had a wrong title for it: "Narrow Gauge"]). (The film doesn't get mentioned in Imdb, though.)

For some reason, I didn't remember Curtis Harrington who started out making short experimental subjects in the fourties and was an active member of the East Coast art movement. Later on he switched to exploitation, mainly cheap horror flicks of which some are somewhat famous (such as Queen of Blood, What's the Matter with Helen? and magnificently titled Killer Bees). Night Tide from 1961 served as a turning point in his career. In the eighties he directed TV series, such as The Colbys. He returned to experiments in his last film, though - it was a short film based on Poe's Usher. Harrington's experimental stuff includes also photography for Kenneth Anger's Puce Moment from 1949 and appearing in another film by Anger.

I also forgot Robert Florey who made a film called The Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra, shot by Gregg Toland who later made Citize Kane and Grapes of Wrath. Florey's filmography includes such titles as Beast with Five Fingers (for which Luis Buñuel submitted the idea and claimed having directed some scenes) and Tarzan and the Mermaids. Not pure exploitation, though, but you get the idea.

There must be others who worked in both fields. Any names, anyone?

I've also often wondered how much the film noir cycle of the fourties and fifties was mutated into the more experimental horror film of the early sixties, in films like Night Tide (or just more experimental films, like The Savage Eye, by Ben Maddow who wrote The Asphalt Jungle for John Huston). I don't know how much this issue has been explored, but it would be interesting. I'd like to write articles about this kind of things, but I can't find the time to watch the films...

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