Tag Archives: exploitation

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Format: Blu-ray

Release date: 5 September 2016

Distributor: Arrow Video

Director: Russ Meyer

Writers: Roger Ebert, Russ Meyer

Cast: Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom

USA 1970

110 mins

Much love for Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert’s deliriously libidinous all-girl rock band melodrama.

***** out of *****

‘This is my happening and it freaks me out,’ declares rock impresario Ronnie ‘Z-Man’ Barzell (John LaZar) during his berserker Hollywood party replete with live performances by The Strawberry Alarm Clark, a bevy of boobilicious babes, all manner of fornication and bucket-loads of booze/drug consumption.

Z-Man wasn’t the only one freaking out. When Russ Meyer (Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, Motor Psycho), the king of big-boob cinema extravaganzas, unleashed his first major studio picture Beyond the Valley of the Dolls upon an unsuspecting public, audiences, critics and the film’s major backer, Twentieth Century Fox, were freaked out to the max.

For good reason.

The opening few minutes of Meyer’s Roger Ebert-scripted dive into L.A. sleaze pits proceed to bash us in the face with Z-Man and Martin Bormann (Henry Rowland), Z’s loyal bartender, right-hand man and resident Nazi (nom-de-plumed as ‘Otto’), whilst the nutty pair malevolently chase scantily clad babes within a seaside mansion estate. In a climactic moment to end all climactic moments, we cut to a Luger sensually stroking the supple lips of a beauteous-sleeping-big-bosomed-babe until the deadly firearm is inserted erect-penis-like into her mouth, the wet maw eagerly – nay, greedily – accepting the cold-steel schwance-of-death as our dozing dame proceeds to suck it dry.

Under the circumstances, who wouldn’t? (Be freaked out to the max, that is.) (Oh, okay, and suck it dry, too.)

When Meyer and young film critic Ebert were hired by Fox to concoct a vague semi-sequel reboot to Mark Robson’s through-the-roof sex-and-soap-suds adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s bestselling novel Valley of the Dolls, the artistic pursuits of these perfectly matched reprobates flew under the radar of studio executives during the delightful beginnings of the oft-envied, late lamented and much-revered ‘Easy Riders, Raging Bulls’ days of American Cinema. The film was so low-budget by studio standards, nobody in the front office paid it much mind, but for Meyer, the budget might as well have been as large as Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra.

He did not waste one cent.

Plot wise, things are relatively simple and perfectly in keeping with Susann’s moronically simplistic rags-to-riches-to-rags soap opera. However, the incorrigible lads dole out a cinematic masterpiece of flagrant filth that’s anything but moronic and in its own strangely perverse way is rooted (so to speak) in a queer miasma of morality. If anything the film celebrates perversion to such a deliciously over-the-top degree that the tale cannot help but become a morality play. (That said, the film brilliantly manages to make the morality seem as old-fashioned as it deserves to be – it’s even vaguely derisive.)

So, the film focuses on the buxom Carrie Nations, an all-girl rock band comprised of Kelly MacNamara (Dolly Read), Casey Anderson (Cynthia Myers) and Petronella ‘Pet’ Danforth (Marcia McBroom). At first they’re infused with the down-home, corn-fed morals of the mid-western US of A, but in no time, they’re turfing their regular squeezes for a series of libidinous adventures with a variety of partners. One of the cuckolded beaus (David Gurian) even takes up with a porn starlet (Edy Williams) who drains him to such a degree that he eventually can’t even get it up.

Fun and games, for one and all – especially the audience – but as this epic of sin continues, the freedom of youth increasingly morphs beyond the ‘summer of love’ antics, and the evils of both L.A. and show business in general give way to an unholy Walpurgisnacht that unravels during the film’s deeply dark finale. (The Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten proclaimed that the film was ‘true to life’. Who are we to argue with this?)

Ebert and Meyer created a work that’s drenched in lurid colour and the colours of sleaze, slime and scum, and we’re allowed to revel in the kaleidoscopic picture with all the giddy laughs it wrenches from us from beginning to end, along with the trademark Meyer montages of rapid-fire cuts – a chiaroscuro of madness and freakishness at its finest. This is sheer sex-drenched melodrama; as a director, Meyer might as well be Douglas Sirk on crack cocaine.

Besides, what other movie features (again, from the highly quotable Z-Man) one of the greatest lines of dialogue in movie history: ‘You will drink the black sperm of my vengeance!’

Black sperm, indeed.

Years ago, I met Ebert as a young lad and proceeded to geek him out with my love for the film. He took me for donuts and we spent an hour together talking about it. His final words to me were thus: ‘Never, ever feel ashamed to admit how much you love Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.’

And if you’re listening up there, Mr Ebert, I am not ashamed.

I’m infused with pride to declare my utter, deep passion.

Greg Klymkiw


Freaks 1

Format: Cinema

Release date: 12 June 2015

Distributor: Hollywood Classics / Metrodome

Director: Tod Browning

Writer: Tod Robbins

Based on the story: Spurs by Tod Robbins

Cast: Wallace Ford, Lila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Henry Victor, Harry Earles, Daisy Earles

USA 1932

64 mins

Few films fit into the category of ‘cult film’ quite as well as Tod Browning’s controversial masterpiece, Freaks (1932). Due to its use of real freak show performers and its ‘unwholesome’ themes, the film was almost universally reviled by critics and audiences alike. Already a major director thanks to a string of silent horror hits and the classic talkie version of Dracula (1931), Browning never recovered. His handful of post-Freaks films were hampered by the limitations of the Motion Picture Production Code or suffered extensive studio interference, like 1935’s Mark of the Vampire, and the director finally retired in 1939.

For modern viewers the idea of using real-life genetic anomalies and the disabled in a horror film would seem at the very least tasteless and exploitative; even in Browning’s day it was considered excessive. But from the outset it is clear that the ‘freaks’ are not the horror content here; this is not like the later Rondo Hatton films, where Hatton’s deformities were intended to shock and horrify, made synonymous with villainy and violence. Instead Browning – who spent part of his youth working in a circus and befriended many of the performers – shows us these people in their everyday lives, focussing on their relationships. Although the sight of a man with no arms and legs lighting a cigarette by himself (apparently, the original cut featured him rolling the cigarette too) is certainly bizarre, it’s not presented as ridiculous or amusing.

The only characters given a negative presentation in Freaks are the film’s villains, seductive trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) and her lover, strongman Hercules (Henry Victor). Together they hatch a plan for Cleopatra to marry little person Hans (Harry Earles) – and then murder him for his sizeable inheritance. When the other performers realise that Cleopatra has a murderous agenda, they punish her and Hercules in a terrible fashion. There are other subplots, most obviously the developing romance between Venus (Leila Hyams, Island of Lost Souls) and clown Phroso (Wallace Ford), but Cleopatra’s scheme is the main focus of the film. Even given the film’s short, 60-minute running time (the full 90-minute cut is now considered lost), there isn’t quite enough story here, and the pacing is quite slow.

However, the two key scenes are more than memorable enough to outweigh any minor flaws. The first is the notorious wedding feast (never entirely comfortable with sound pictures, Browning prefaces the scene with a silent-style title card). The assembled troupe try and accept Cleopatra into their community, only to see her flirting outrageously with Hercules and drunkenly giving vent to her true feelings about the ‘dirty, slimy freaks!’ Even more effective is the climactic storm scene, as the troupe of knife-wielding performers slowly descend upon Cleopatra and Hercules. Their actual punishment is not shown; Browning intended to have the strongman castrated, but (unsurprisingly) that did not make it into the final cut. Freaks is not easy viewing, or a pleasant film, but it is far more sensitive than the title would suggest. With the equally controversial Island of Lost Souls, it’s one of the strongest, most memorable horror films of the pre-Code era.

Jim Harper



Format: Blu-ray

Release date: 20 April 2015

Distributor: Arrow Video

Director: Jack Hill

Writer: Jack Hill

Cast: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui

USA 1973

91 mins

**** out of *****

‘I killed them all,’ says the beautiful, coffee-with-cream-coloured beauty sitting on a comfy couch, cradling a mega-pump-action shotgun. ‘I don’t know how I did it. It seems like I’m in a dream and I’m still in this dream.’

Coffy (Pam Grier) is a lean, mean, killing machine with a soul that’s all woman. By day, she’s a caring, highly skilled inner-city nurse, but by night, she transforms into a show-no-mercy vigilante who takes on the underworld, pusher by pusher, pimp by pimp and gangster by gangster. Vengeance drives her, and with every explosive killing she thinks of her teenage sister, lying in a vegetative state in a rest home, the child’s mind and body decimated by drugs, forced sex and all manner of exploitation at the grubby paws of vile men from the lowest orders of their gender.

When her handsome, corrupt boyfriend, an African-American politician, seduces her with his words of hard truth tempered with racial caring (‘Our people want dope to make themselves feel better, but we’re gonna take that money and put it back in the hands of our people.’) and tenderness laced with a let-Daddy-put-it-all-right-again (‘All ya have to know, baby, is that I am your Man and I’m gonna take care of you.’), her gelato-smooth dream becomes not unlike that of fairy tale princesses and Prince Charmings. But when the silly dream of Barbie Doll acquiescence is shattered by the real truth, the dream reverts to the nightmare it’s always been. It’s the suffering necessary to put things right in the world.

Such is the blood-soaked reverie that is Jack Hill’s ground-breaking 1973 action picture Coffy, which is so thrilling, politically charged and exquisitely crafted one hesitates to slap the Blaxploitation monicker upon it to simply categorize the picture with a convenient label. There’s nothing ‘convenient’ about Hill’s picture. His smart, nasty screenplay betrays all expectations whilst kneading in the tropes of the genre when needed, but doing so in a manner that twists the necessary machinations like a pretzel-maker gone mad.

The legendary Pam Grier was already a fixture in the world of Blaxploitation when she played the title role, but this is the film that put her on the map to drive-in movie superstardom and into the hearts and minds of eager, slavering 13-year-old boys (like me, when I first saw it) of all ages (as I have been and am now over 40 years later and with well over 20 viewings of this film behind me).

And never mind just the lads, Grier was a hero to women all over the world. Not only was she a classic screen beauty, but her lithe form was inextricably linked to her prowess as an actress. Nobody moved on screen like Grier; she embodied her character here (and subsequent roles) with the kind of skill that most actresses can only dream about. In Coffy she represented a heroic figure to women of all ages and races because she brought grace, intelligence and humanity to her ass-kicking. Grier embodied the ultimate feminist femme fatales she played with Dirty Harry cool and Veronica Lake sex appeal, all with the soul of Cicely Tyson. There’s never been anyone like her, and her performance in Coffy is perfectly matched to the great Jack Hill’s inspired writing and stunning directorial aplomb.

Watching the film again on the Arrow Blu-Ray, so soon after suffering through the loathsomely directed contemporary smash hit Furious 7, I was again reminded how genuinely talented filmmakers like Jack Hill were. God knows, Quentin Tarantino recognizes this, but we’re stuck in a horrible rut of critics, studios and ADHD-afflicted audiences responding positively to herky-jerky movies that have no sense of spatial geography because they employ a jumble of edits driven, not by story or even character-related emotion, but by sound – screeches, thuds and overwrought scores. Coffy has one terrific action set-piece after another that puts most current pictures to shame. (It’s also got the cool musical styling of soul-funk-jazz composer Roy Ayers working with the film’s visuals instead of noisily, annoyingly driving them.)

There’s an astonishing chase scene involving Pam Grier on foot as corrupt cops in their black and white cruisers pursue her on, across and through a crazy-ass Los Angeles freeway and eventually into a wide-open rail-line storage field, which is so edge-of-the-seat thrilling because Hill uses superbly composed wide master shots, spare mediums and close-ups only when necessary. We see real choreography and real danger. There isn’t a single frame of Furious 7 and most other modern pictures of its ilk that can match the sheer virtuosity of Jack Hill’s meagerly budgeted Coffy.

It’s not a franchise, it’s a film.

Greg Klymkiw

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

Electric Boogaloo
Electric Boogaloo

Format: Cinema

Release date: 5 June 2015

Distributor: Metrodome

Director: Mark Hartley

Australia 2014

107 mins

Australian exploitation fan boy par excellence, Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood, Machete Maidens Unleashed!) wraps his schlock doc trilogy with this suitably energetic ride through the highs and lows of Israeli film moguls Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus’s career – otherwise known as the bold, brash forces of nature behind infamous B-movie studio Cannon Films in the 1980s.

The pair – already the subject of Hilla Medalia’s Cannes-feted and officially sanctioned doc The Go-Go Boys – are notable in their absence from Hartley’s film (Globus and the late Golan reportedly wished to torpedo his efforts with Medalia’s project), and appear only in archive material (much of it drawn from the BBC). But Hartley rises to the challenge admirably. Talking heads – of which there are a staggering 80 in total – fire off anecdotes and sound bites with increasingly gleeful abandon, in an enjoyable ride through one of Hollywood’s more bizarre eras.

Oddly, there is scant mention (or analysis) of the cousins prior to their film association in Israel, nor does Roger Corman (whom Golan briefly worked with) appear to warrant a nod. The trash traders’ about-turn later in Cannon’s life, chasing credibility by pursuing the likes of John Cassavetes, Peter Bogdanovich and even Jean-Luc Godard, is also frustratingly not explored beyond a quick, cursory glance.

But what Hartley’s film does do, it does rather well. The absurdity of Cannon’s low-brow, worry-about-the-plot later mentality, its shameless pre-sales for so-called star-led vehicles that existed in poster form only, its Gargantuan output (up to 50 films a year) and appetite (buying up over 40 per cent of Britain’s film exhibition in one fell swoop) allowed its uncouth stars to shine briefly but brightly. Although few mourned the loss of the pair’s studio – brought down by box-office bombs such as Superman IV and Masters of the Universe, amidst reports of false accounting – many of those interviewed clearly look back with bemused fondness at what went on.

Cannon, as several note in the film, evidently provided a blueprint of sorts for the likes of Miramax (and for recent bone-head franchises like The Expendables) to flourish. It made a star out of Chuck Norris (who is not interviewed), discovered Jean-Claude Van Damme and set a precedent with Sylvester Stallone (both of whom are also absent), with the latter scoring an absurdly inflated pay cheque, in excess of $US10million, for the doomed arm-wrestling romp Over the Top. At one point, Cannon even owned the rights to Spider-Man, Superman and the Captain America franchises, despite its shocking appetite for sexual violence (brazenly on show notably in Michael Winner’s Death Wish sequels).

Golan and Globus’s eventual falling out (and subsequent reconciliation) is less effectively visualized here (see Medalia’s film for that). But otherwise, Hartley’s geek-fuelled journey down memory lane (with its generous serving of clips in tow) delivers a vibrant, often frenetic look at a remarkable pair of film-fawning men who were – if nothing else – determined to take on Hollywood at its own game. That they ultimately failed (or were, at least, kept firmly on the periphery) only adds to the fascinating nature of their screen story. Some detail may be lacking (and the story is hardly ‘untold’), but a ‘wild’ ride it most certainly is. Cinephiles and Cannon obsessives should form a line here.

Ed Gibbs

This review is part of our TIFF 2014 coverage.

Immoral Tales

Immoral Tales
Immoral Tales

Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk Collection

Format: Blu-ray

Release date: 8 September 2014

Distributor: Arrow Academy

Director: Walerian Borowczyk

Writer: André Pieyre de Mandiargues

Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Lise Danvers, Charlotte Alexandra, Paloma Picasso, Florence Bellamy

Original title: Contes immoraux

France 1974

103 mins

Walerian Borowczyk’s art/filth portmanteau film consists of four stories. Set in the modern world, on a barren pebble beach ‘La Marée’ (‘The Tide’) has Fabrice Luchini as a 20-year-old boy using his seniority to impose his desires on his 16-year-old cousin (Lise Danvers).

Set in 1890, ‘Thérèse Philosophe’ has Charlotte Alexandra as a pious girl, locked in her room, who gets all hot and bothered by the stations of the cross (and a mucky illustrated tract), before falling victim to a malicious vagrant.

The third episode is a staging of the Erzsebet Bathory legend, as Paloma Picasso rides into a Hungarian village and rounds up all the suitably pulchritudinous females for a ritualised sequence of bathing, frock ripping and eventual slaughter. She bathes in their blood before making love to her female squire, who then betrays her to the King’s men.

‘Lucrezia Borgia’ is a carnival of power, corruption and hypocrisy as Lucrezia (Florence Bellamy), the Pope, and various holy lackeys indulge in cackling murder and blasphemous three-way fornication, while a preacher who denounces their regime is burnt at the stake for his troubles.

Plotwise, we are in a brutal and troubling world here, where the urge to power and the sexual drive are hopelessly entwined; where authority is corrupt and murderous and innocence or righteousness are doomed. There’s a Sadean delight in perversity, an emphasis on anti-clericalism and a delight in the blasphemous. This being a Borowczyk film, though, it’s all incredibly seductive, a sensual world of white lace, creamy marble and peachy flesh where everything is sexualised. The carefully chosen objects decorating his sets and locations are there to be stroked, fondled and played with; the elaborate costumes are there to be elaborately removed. Dialogue is sparse, the visual takes precedence. It’s gorgeous, feeling at times like we’ve wandered into a Brueghel, or Dutch master painting.

Immoral Tales brings Pasolini’s Salò (1975) to mind on more than one occasion, but while that film is hellish, cold and ultimately depressing, Borowczyk’s is just that bit more playful – you can sense a knowing smile playing around his lips as the outrage hits home. Sexuality in his films is overwhelming and dangerous and often twisted, but it’s also natural and human and obviously a source of immense pleasure. He often intercuts his scenes of carnality with on-looking animals and uncaring nature, as if they are sitting in judgement, wondering how we let something so simple get so fucked up.

Immoral Tales had a convoluted release history. The episodes were made over 1973-4, and an unfinished version played at the London Film festival in 1974. This disc includes the longer French edit, including another episode, ‘ La Bête’ (‘The Beast’). This was the version that won the L’Age d’Or award (as judged by Max Ernst, among others) and became a box office hit, before it was removed and expanded to become its own feature film La Bête in 1976. I’m grateful for the episodes’s inclusion here because it’s probably my favourite of the Tales: a virginal 18th-century French woman breaks off from playing the harpsichord to follow a straying lamb into the woods, whereupon she is chased and ravaged by a beast, a huge brown-eyed bear-like creature with a seemingly permanent, jism-dripping erection*. Her sexuality awakened, she throws off her corset and proceeds to hump the exhausted creature to death. She then tenderly covers its body with dry leaves, grabs what remains of her clothing and returns to civilisation. This is, I realise, pretty much indefensible from any sexual/political point of view, but as a piece of uninhibited Freudian fantasy cinema it takes some beating. Borowczyk’s Tales all work on this level, troubling wet dreams emerging from his id.

I’m not sure how well they would function as straight pornography, how much use the raincoat brigade would have for cutaways of a snail crawling over a silk shoe, or all that choral and keyboard music. And while the tales are clearly meant to provoke, they simply don’t follow the exploitation playbook. The Bathory and Borgia episodes are notably coy about onscreen violence considering their blood-soaked possibilities. An animator and a supremely visual stylist, the Borowczyk of Immoral Tales is akin to a sensationalist Buñuel , an old-school surrealist with a one-track mind.

Special features include Private Collection, an odd, amusing short in which a man, his head never in shot, displays to us his extensive collection of historical smut: prints, projections, dildos and mechanical toys. There are a couple of informative featurettes, the aforementioned L’Age d’Or award cut of the film, and a trailer. All in all, a fine package for an essential piece of weird cinema.

Mark Stafford

*As arthouse lust monsters go, it’s up there with Isabelle Adjani’s tentacled lover in Zulawski’s Possession (1981). Incidentally, a young Adjani was to be cast in ‘La Marée’, which would have been her first film, before she got cold feet.

Pit Stop

Pit Stop 1
Pit Stop

Format: Dual Format (DVD + Blu-ray)

Release date: 7 April 2014

Distributor: Arrow Video

Director: Jack Hill

Writer: Jack Hill

Cast: Richard Davalos, Brian Donlevy, Ellen Burstyn, Sid Haig

USA 1969

92 mins

After the cult obscurity of Spider Baby (1968), and the even weirder art-house porno trip film Mondo Keyhole (1966), director Jack Hill’s career was sufficiently vegetative to make a drag racing movie offer from Roger Corman look good, and Hill hated drag racing. But inspired by the theme of a man who wins the race but loses his soul, he set out to make an art movie in exploitation guise (again), and succeeded admirably.

The plot is simple: moody racer Dick Davalos succeeds through sheer ruthlessness, wrecking or discarding everyone around him. This morality tale unfolds against the background of figure 8 racing, a stock car race with a lethal intersection in the track. Hill filmed the collisions and, even more scarily, the near-misses, for six weekends and then staged action with his leads to blend in with the most exciting footage, capturing a weird subculture of American sport.

As an action movie, Pit Stop is imperfect, or at any rate highly individual: the dodgem-car violence is abstracted into a series of smashes, interspersed with intense close-ups of drivers. There’s no way to follow who is where, except when a face rotates upside down and we cut to a car rolling belly-up. This is montage as percussion, anticipating the New Incoherence of Michael Bay or Paul Greengrass, in which the violence is not in front of the camera, it is produced by the camera and Moviola bashing fenders.

Hill keeps the energy up between collisions with zestful performances from his rogue’s gallery of cheap players. Davalos was a second-string method guy best known for having played James Dean’s brother. He invests totally in his unsympathetic role, astonishing with his callousness rather than trying to steal our respect. From Spider Baby, Hill borrows two of his beautiful freaks. Her eyes sparkling with a pixilated innocence, Beverley Washburn chews gum nonstop with her huge, smushy lips wriggling all over her face. When she grins, her mouth threatens to separate the top of her head from her body altogether, like a South Park Canadian – for an instant, the cranium seems to dangle upwards on a thread of gristle like a helium balloon on a string.

Sid Haig essays the role of Hawk Sidney, Davalos’s arch-rival and ‘the dingiest driver’ of them all. It’s a role for which the eccentric player is well equipped. Another huge grinner, his crescent moonful of mouth seeming to extend beyond the edges of his face as if he had back teeth made of vacuum, Haig has a vast, long visage made of wet clay, with jagged pores and pockmarks apparently put in with an awl. His lanky body proves unexpectedly adept at quasi-obscene dancing, and surprising subtleties of performance writhe out between his bouts of furious grimacing. He is an original.

Hill also drafted in Hollywood legend Brian Donlevy, or as I call him, Quatermass McGinty, for his last role. Aged, in trouble with the taxman, and at times visibly struggling to get his lines out, Donlevy seems to be either drunk much of the time or else very tired, which is possible since all his scenes were concentrated into three days of shooting. It could have been a sorry swan song, but as with Lon Chaney Jnr’s memorable turn in Spider Baby, the broken-down old relic is afforded respect as a broken-down old relic. The movie doesn’t try to pretend he’s young, a star, or particularly appealing. He’s just happy to be working, and just about able to pull it off. Donlevy was always best as a loud-mouthed jerk, strapped into a corset, teetering on elevator shoes and wrapped in a hairpiece. The corset seems to be gone, and the expanded waistband relaxes him. He’s playing the embodiment of capitalist evil, but we kind of like having him around. We just hope he doesn’t keel over in mid-take.

These pictures are where talent on the way down brushes shoulders with that on the way up, and Donlevy shares screen time with Ellen McRae, a TV actress with a couple movies to her credit, soon to find fame under a new name, Ellen Burstyn. She’s alert, pert and winning: only in a couple of shots does she seem uncertain what to do, when the script has her stand around while the men try to impress each other, and Hill evidently hasn’t had time to either supply her with motivation or frame her out. But when she’s properly on, you can tell she’s the one in this cast who’s going places: the other actors are great, but too bizarre for mainstream success.

Arrow’s disc captures the source material’s sometimes shaky, sometimes graceful cinematography: the blackness of night appears alternately crushed and milky, or pulses between the two in a single shot; there are occasional scratches and variable grain. But the white desert sands, the imperfect skin textures and the flaring lights are sensually beautiful.

Pit Stop has the modest virtues you’d want from a Corman production: pace and aggression. It also has a point, which most racing movies don’t bother with: it takes a political view, and demonstrates the dangerous allure of winning, without getting preachy or po-faced. It makes its points by showing you rottenness and letting you vicariously enjoy it and then retract from it as if from a rattlesnake. Its impact is testimony to Hill’s smart approach, one too few exploitation filmmakers (or filmmakers generally), have taken: ask the question, ‘how can this junkyard thing become the best version of itself possible?’

David Cairns

Watch an interview with Jack Hill on the new restoration of Pit Stop: