Sexploitation film

A sexploitation film (or "sex-exploitation film") is a class of independently produced, low-budget[4] feature film that is generally associated with the 1960s,[5] and that serves largely as a vehicle for the exhibition of non-explicit sexual situations and gratuitous nudity. The genre is a subgenre of exploitation films. Sexploitation films were generally exhibited in urban grindhouse theatres, the precursor to the adult movie theaters of the 1970s and 1980s that featured hardcore pornography content. The term soft-core is often used to designate non-explicit sexploitation films after the general legalisation of hardcore content. Nudist films are often considered to be subgenres of the sex-exploitation genre as well. "Nudie" films and "Nudie-cuties" are associated genres.[5]

Armando Bó y la Coca Sarli 1974
Argentine director Armando Bó and actress Isabel Sarli in the 1974 film El sexo y el amor. The couple produced numerous sexploitation films,[1] and Sarli is considered one of the biggest stars of the genre.[2][3]


Following a series of United States Supreme Court rulings in the late 1950s and 1960s, increasingly explicit sex films were distributed.[5] In 1957, Roth v. United States had established that sex and obscenity were not synonymous.[5] The genre first emerged in the U.S. around 1960.[6]

There were initially three broad types: "nudie cuties" such as The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959), films set in nudist camps like Daughter of the Sun (1962) and somewhat more "artistic" foreign pictures, such as The Twilight Girls (1961).[4] Nudie cuties were popular in the early 1960s, and were a progression from the nudist camp films of the 1950s.[7] The Supreme Court had previously ruled that films set in nudist camps were exempt from the general ban on film nudity, as they were deemed to be educational.[7] In the early 1960s, films that purported to be documentaries and were thus "educational" enabled sexploitation producers to evade the censors.[8]

Nudie cuties were soon supplanted by "roughies," which commonly featured male violence against women, including kidnapping, rape and murder.[9][10] Lorna (1964) by Russ Meyer is widely considered to be the first roughie.[10] Herschell Gordon Lewis and David F. Friedman's Scum of the Earth! (1963) is another film that is cited as among the first in this genre.[11] Other notable roughie directors include Doris Wishman.[10]

Sexploitation films initially played in grindhouse theatres[12] and struggling independent theaters; however, by the end of the decade they were playing in established cinema chains.[4] As the genre developed during the 1960s films began showing scenes of simulated sex.[13] The films were opposed by religious groups and by the MPAA, which was concerned that sexploitation films were cutting into the profits of major film distributors.[14] Customers who attended screenings of sexploitation films were often characterised by the mainstream media as deviant, "dirty old men" and "raincoaters."[6]

In the mid-1960s some newspapers began banning ads for the films.[15] By the late 1960s the films were attracting a larger and broader audience, however, including couples rather than the single males who originally made up the vast majority of patrons.[14] The genre rapidly declined in the early 1970s due to advertising bans, the closure of many grindhouses and drive-in theaters and the growth of hardcore pornography in the "Golden Age of Porn."[12]

White coaters

In the late 1960s, American obscenity laws were tested by the Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow).[5] After the 1969 ruling by the Supreme Court that the film was not obscene[16][17] because of its educational context, the late 1960s and early 1970s saw a number of sexploitation films produced following this same format. These were widely referred to as "white coaters," because, in these films, a doctor dressed in a white coat would give an introduction to the graphic content that followed, qualifying the film as "educational." The ruling led to a surge in the production of sex films.[5] Language of Love and other Swedish and American films capitalised on this idea until the laws were relaxed.[18]

Notable sexploitation directors

See also


  1. ^ Intellect Books (2007). Film Studies. ISSN 2053-5066. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  2. ^ Parish, James Robert; Stanke, Don E. (1975). The glamour girls. Arlington House. p. 463. ISBN 978-0870002441. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  3. ^ Turan, Kenneth; Zito, Stephen F. (1975). Sinema: American pornographic films and the people who make them. New American Library. p. 66. ISBN 978-0275507701. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Sconce, p.20
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Weitzer, Ronald John (2000). Sex for sale: prostitution, pornography, and the sex industry. Routledge. p. 51. ISBN 0-415-92295-X.
  6. ^ a b Sconce, p.19
  7. ^ a b Sconce, p.49
  8. ^ Sconce, p.60
  9. ^ a b Sconce, p.50
  10. ^ a b c Sconce, p.52
  11. ^ "The Defilers/Scum of the Earth (1965/1963)". 2001-02-25. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
  12. ^ a b Sconce, p.42
  13. ^ Sconce, p.28
  14. ^ a b Sconce, p.35
  15. ^ Sconce, p.36
  16. ^ Supreme Court of the United States (Byrne v. Karalexis, 396 U.S. 976 (1969) and 401 U.S. 216 (1971))
  17. ^ "Film International". Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  18. ^ Harris, Will (2005-08-31). "Harry Reems Interview: Harry Reems lays it on the table".
  19. ^ Sconce, p.10
  20. ^ Sconce, p.24
  21. ^ Sconce, p.22


Further reading

  • RE/Search No. 10: Incredibly Strange Films RE/Search Publications, 1986 by V. Vale, Andrea Juno, ISBN 0-940642-09-3
  • Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies 1956-1984 (1994) by Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs, ISBN 0-312-13519-X

External links

48 Hours of Hallucinatory Sex

48 Hours of Hallucinatory Sex (original title: 48 Horas de Sexo Alucinante) is a 1987 Brazilian trash/sexploitation film by Brazilian film director José Mojica Marins. Marins is also known by his alter ego Zé do Caixão (in English, Coffin Joe). The film is the third of several sexploitation films Marins released in the 1980s. It was preceded by World Market of Sex (1979) and 24 Hours of Explicit Sex (1985).

Bad Girls Go to Hell

Bad Girls Go to Hell is a 1965 sexploitation film, written, produced and directed by Doris Wishman. The film stars Gigi Darlene, Sam Stewart, Barnard L. Sackett and Darlene Bennett.

Black Emanuelle 2

Black Emanuelle 2 (Italian: Emanuelle nera n° 2), also known as The New Black Emanuelle, is a 1976 Italian psychological drama-sexploitation film directed by Bitto Albertini. It is an unofficial sequel of Black Emanuelle.

Bonnie's Kids

Bonnie's Kids is a 1972 American crime sexploitation film written and directed by Arthur Marks.

Daddy, Darling

Daddy, Darling is a 1970 Danish / American sexploitation film directed by Joseph W. Sarno.

Dr. Minx

Dr. Minx is a 1975 sexploitation film.

Emanuelle Around the World

Emanuelle Around the World (Emanuelle – Perché violenza alle donne?), also known as The Degradation of Emanuelle and Confessions of Emanuelle, is a 1977 sexploitation film by Italian director Joe D'Amato, starring Laura Gemser and George Eastman.The film was one of the most expensive films ever made in Italy at that time, not just in cast but in locations. The filming was done in many countries; Hong Kong, Iran, Nepal (though it is billed as being shot in India), America and in a studio in Italy. It features a notable cast, including Gemser, Karin Schubert, Ivan Rassimov and Eastman.

Emanuelle in America

Emanuelle in America is a 1977 Italian sexploitation film, the third in a series starring Laura Gemser made to cash in on the success of the French film Emmanuelle (1974) and its sequels. It was the second in the series to be directed by Joe D'Amato. It is infamous for its "hardcore footage of unsimulated fellatio, penetration, ejaculation and unconventional horse husbandry".

Fiebre (film)

Fiebre, also known as Fever, is a 1971 Argentine sexploitation film directed, produced and written by Armando Bó and starring Isabel Sarli.

Fly Me

Fly Me is a 1973 United States-Filipino sexploitation film about the adventures of three flight attendants.

Four Dimensions of Greta

Four Dimensions of Greta (1972) is a low budget British comedy sexploitation film, directed by Pete Walker, featuring four 3-D film sequences. It was the first British film to be made in 3-D, and the tagline on the poster read, "A girl in your lap". The film is also known as "The Three Dimensions of Greta".

Images in a Convent

Images in a Convent (Italian: Immagini di un convento) is a 1979 sexploitation film by Italian cult filmmaker Joe D'Amato starring Paola Senatore, Marina Hedman and Donald O'Brien.

The film belongs to the 'nunsploitation' subgenre. It contains strong scenes of graphic violence relating to demonic possession and is among few films containing original hardcore pornography that already passed Italian censorship in 1979 and were projected in some Italian cinemas. It includes explicit lesbianic depictions of digital penetration and cunnilingus.

Mantis in Lace

Mantis in Lace is a 1968 sexploitation film directed by William Rotsler and starring Susan Stewart, Vic Lance, Steven Vincent, Pat Barrington, and Stuart Lancaster. It was produced by Harry Novak. At least two differently edited versions have been released, one of which has more emphasis on sex and one of which emphasizes violence. Per the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the movie was released under the title, Lila, which coincides with the movie's opening scene also crediting the film's title as Lila.

Nazi exploitation

Nazi exploitation (also Nazisploitation) is a subgenre of exploitation film and sexploitation film that involves Nazis committing sex crimes, often as camp or prison overseers during World War II. Most follow the women in prison formula, only relocated to a concentration camp, extermination camp, or Nazi brothel, and with an added emphasis on sadism, gore, and degradation. The most infamous and influential title (which set the standards of the genre) is a Canadian production, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1974). Its surprise success and sequels led European filmmakers, mostly in Italy, to produce dozens of similar films. While the Ilsa series were profitable, the other films were mostly box-office flops, and the genre all but vanished by the mid-1980s.

In Italy, these films are known as part of the "il sadiconazista" cycle, which were inspired by such art-house films as Liliana Cavani's The Night Porter (1974), Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), and Tinto Brass's Salon Kitty (1976). Prominent directors of the genre include Paolo Solvay (La Bestia in Calore, also known as The Beast in Heat and SS Hell Camp), Cesare Canevari (Last Orgy of the Third Reich, also known as L'ultima orgia del III Reich, Gestapo's Last Orgy and Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler), and Alain Payet (Train spécial pour SS, also known as Special Train for Hitler and Helltrain), all from 1977.

Nymph (1973 film)

Nymph is a 1973 sexploitation film directed by William Dear, in his feature film directorial debut.


Silip (lit. "peek") is a 1985 Philippine sexploitation film directed by Elwood Perez and written by Ricardo Lee. The film was released outside of the Philippines as Daughters of Eve.


"Supervixen" is a song by alternative rock band Garbage from their self-titled debut studio album (1995). The song was titled after Russ Meyer's 1975 sexploitation film Supervixens.In the United States, "Supervixen" was released as an airplay-only single to alternative radio in October 1996. At the time, "Stupid Girl" was still charting highly on the Billboard Hot 100, and the band's debut album had been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping a million units within the United States.

The Amazing Transplant

The Amazing Transplant is an American 1970 sexploitation film, written, produced and directed by Doris Wishman. The film stars Juan Fernandez, Linda Southern, and Larry Hunter.

Tonight for Sure

Tonight for Sure is a 1962 Western softcore comedy film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It was written by Coppola and Jerry Shaffer. Jack Hill was the Director of Photography. The music was composed by Carmine Coppola. It is a film set in August 1961 on the Sunset Strip starring Karl Schanzer and Don Kenney and featuring Electra, Exotica, Laura Cornell, Karla Lee, and Sue Martin.

The film features footage from The Peeper (a short sexploitation film of Coppola's), and an unfinished Western set in a nudist colony.

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