Film is a great way to escape the everyday and participate in a rich and wonderful fantasy world, whether you're heading to Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings or future Detroit in RoboCop, where Dick Jones is so gonna get his because that guy is a total asshole. At its best, film can act as a mirror for the audience and make us see ourselves -- our desires, our secrets, and our hopes and dreams -- for better or for worse and give us insight into the human condition. At its worst, it probably was directed by Uwe Boll and/or starred Ashton Kutcher.
While nearly every genre of film has its merits, from the real world presented in documentary to the laughter brought on by comedy and the stirring emotion of a good drama, probably the most notably awesome genre of all is exploitation. Why? Because it exists solely to exploit something, and it doesn't even hide it. It wallows in it. But weirder than even that, than the knowledge that people are making films to exploit most famously sex in sexploitation films and (slightly less popular but still very famous) black culture in blaxploitation films, is that there are just oodles of subgenres out there, all dedicated to exploiting some subset of people. I figured I'd share some of my favorites with you because it's good to know this stuff exists.
Generally speaking, nuns are about as culturally relevant these days as telegrams, zeppelins, and Tony Danza. How often do you even see nuns anymore? And when you do see nuns, do you ever think, "Mmm, I'd like to Hail Mary a piece of that?" No. No you don't, because all nuns have to be at least 60 and reminiscent of Abe Vigoda in the looks department. Nonetheless, for a time in the 1970s a certain group of filmmakers and filmgoers all shared a beautiful dream -- that nuns were hot and either a) desperate to shed their religious oppression and clothes to engage in frolicky nun debauchery or b) two seconds away from a homicidal rampage at any given moment.
Shining Example: Images in a Convent
Italian director Joe D'Amato, mostly known for horror movies produced on a budget that wouldn't get you a pair of Nyke sneakers at a ghetto flea market, gave us one of the best examples of nunsploitation. (I'm using the word "best" in the same way you'd use it to describe the different shits you see in a zoo. Like "The elephant clearly has the best shit, it can bury a man whole.")
I found a 15-minute clip on YouTube and was surprised because I didn't think there were 15 minutes in this movie that didn't feature nudity. I was surprised again to discover that there aren't, and you can see naked nuns on YouTube, apparently. I checked with the bosses at Cracked and they watched the clip and then told me to find them more clips and a bottle of white wine. Then they told me I was pretty and my mouth was the sort of mouth built for kissing and other naughty things, some other stuff happened, and, long story short, I couldn't use that clip.
Even the box art is chock-full of nudity, but at a more acceptable level. It calls this the most explicit nunsploitation film ever made, but it's not that it's full-on nun porn (there is a bit of full-on nun porn, but it's not the whole movie) so much as they just never stay clothed. And even when they are clothed, like in a nun's habit, they have boobie panels cut out. There's also some demon possession, because of course there is.
The "-ploitation" suffix makes it sound like something is being taken advantage of, which makes Nazisploitation sound bizarre at first, because how do you exploit Nazis? Are there civil rights attorneys out there to prevent innocent Nazis from being taken advantage of? Can we donate to a charity on their behalf?
Luckily for you, none of that is a concern -- these are just good ol' fashioned movies about Nazis committing sex crimes. There may be other plot elements, but basically they're very focused on the idea that, as part of their day-to-day Nazi routine, the SS were really into sexual depravity. And there were a number of busty SS officers as well. I can't speak to the historical accuracy of that.
Shining Example: Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS
I can't express in a way that will ever be profound enough just how ill-advised the very existence of this movie is. Imagine building your own car from scratch in your garage. It takes years to do and you literally machine all the parts yourself, you cut the panels and shape them, every aspect of this thing was made by you, by hand, and when it's finally finished, you realize with some consternation that you've assembled it with the gas tank attached to the front bumper and it's padded with TNT for some reason. And also the car was responsible for one of the most atrocious genocides in the history of mankind. This movie is wrong like that.
Ilsa starts with a disclaimer against the horrors of the Nazi regime, a nice, classy touch, given that this movie is mostly about German boobs and torture. Misplaced sentiment is a thing that never existed in the basement where this movie was filmed. Ilsa starts by humping a POW, but he fails to satisfy her, so she has to castrate him. How will he ever learn if you do that? That's foolhardy, is what that is.
Much of the rest of the movie is about torturing women to prove that they can handle pain intercut with more dirty Nazi sex. If someone made this movie today, it would be trending on Twitter for days.
Davis McCardle/Digital Vision/Getty Images
The first time I heard of Ozploitation, I of course hoped it had something to do with Munchkins buttfucking flying monkeys, but alas, I was in the wrong Oz. Please don't question my motives. This subgenre is focused mainly on the Land Down Under, where everything is just a little bit more awesome thanks to Vegemite and deadly snakes.
Most North American audiences probably had little contact with Aussie films before Mad Max came out, and Mad Max is a pretty great example of the genre. I'd use it here if I didn't think everyone had seen it already. Basically, Ozploitation came into existence when Australia introduced an R rating in the early '70s and filmmakers responded by trying to make as many R-rated films as they could on a budget that wouldn't get you a Happy Meal.
The Howling III: The Marsupials
The Howling was a pretty popular horror movie, but the franchise really fell to shit after the first part, so much so that a lot of people weren't aware that it's even a franchise. Did you know that there are eight Howling movies? And literally none are good after the first one? Now you do.
The Howling III is arguably the best of the worst in the series and a fine Ozploitation flick. How do you make an Australian werewolf movie? Drop the wolves and use kangaroos. It's about werekangaroos. Maybe they're werewombats. Werekoalas. WereTasmanian tigers. Doesn't matter. There's even a birth scene with a little joey in a pouch. However lame that sounds to you, it's actually worse when you see it. There's also this scene:
The film is loosely about a scientist researching werewolves and this dude making a movie and how they both end up having sex with werewolves. There's also a scene in which a ballet dancer turns into a werewolf on stage and eats a guy. It's pretty much fantastic.