An Audience for the Independents: Exploitation Films for the Nation's Youth

Yannis Tzioumakis

in American Independent Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748618668
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670802 | DOI:
An Audience for the Independents: Exploitation Films for the Nation's Youth

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While top-rank independent filmmaking was absorbed by Hollywood and its major studios, low-end independent filmmaking persisted but it was reinvented, especially once exploitation cinema techniques started making their presence strongly felt both in the narratives of these films and in their advertising and marketing. The chapter argues that the introduction of television put an end to low-end independent cinema of the 1930s and 1940s as television delivered a similar type of cheap entertainment for free, while the double bill was gradually being phased out. However, the emergence of the youth audience in the 1950s as a key demographic and the studios' persistence in providing entertainment for a mass audience gave low-end independent filmmakers a new, clearly defined market in which they have operated successfully. The chapter then explores the ways low-end independent producers and distributors exploited the youth market with specific reference to American International Pictures, and other key players such as Roger Corman and William Castle. Case study: Rock around the Clock (Sears, 1956).

Keywords: Paramount Decree; Low-end independent production; Exploitation filmmaking; American International Pictures; Roger Corman; Teenpics; Drive-in theatres; Youth audience

Chapter.  12200 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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