Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Minor lesbian content
Short Take: Exploitation film documentary
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2010
Duration: 80 min
Language: USA/English
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Elijah Drenner
Writer: Elijah Drenner, Calum Waddell
Starring: Robert Forster, Allison Anders, Judith Brown, Larry Cohen, Don Edmonds, David Hess, Jack Hill, Jonathan Kaplan, Jeremy Kasten, John Landis, Herschell Gordon Lewis, and Kim Morgan.

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American Grindhouse

There are a lot of films out there about movie genres but American Grindhouse does better than most with a very coherent, entertaining and educational documentary. Grindhouse is an American slang term for an exploitation movie. In the 1960s these movies replaced the live burlesque “bump and grind” shows on New York’s 42nd Street. Lesbians (along with nuns and Nazis) were popular in the sexploitation sub-genre of grindhouse. And let’s not forget those women in prison films, where the tough butch dyke seduces the jailhouse newbie!

While it’s not pretty or PC, Grindhouse has been with us since Edison invented the movie camera.  American Grindhouse, narrated by Robert Forster, tells us how the genre developed and why. With clips of more than 200 movies, the documentary also highlights the breakthrough movies of several sub-genres: roughies, nudie cuties, blaxsplotation, gore and gross-out and more.

Along with Forester, filmmakers old and new (Hershell Gorden Lewis, Blood Feast and several others, and John Landis), actors (Judy Brown of The Big Doll House and Women in Cages), and film historians (Kim Morgan, of Huffington Post and GQ) chime in on grindhouse. Landis especially seems to get joy from talking about the genre which he spoofed with his own Kentucky Fried Movie.

American Grindhouse gives even exploitation fans a new appreciation for this “shameless, and sometimes shocking” part of American film history. (CJ)