What is an Exploitation Film?

Exploitation film is a type of film that eschews the expense of “quality” productions in favor of making films on-the-cheap, attracting the public by exciting their more prurient interests. “Exploitation” is the show business term for promotion, and an exploitation film is one which relies heavily on the lurid advertising of its contents, rather than the intrinsic quality of the film.

Exploitation films feature explosions, drug use, scantily clad women, nudity, machismo, forbidden sex, wanton violence, freaks and geeks, gore, monsters, destruction, rebellion and mayhem. Such films have existed since the earliest days of moviemaking, but they were popularized in the 1960s with the general relaxing of cinematic taboos in the U.S. and Europe. Since the 1990s, this genre has also received attention from academic circles, where it is sometimes called paracinema.


Exploit This will be a feature length documentary (120 minutes) exploring the vast history of exploitation filmmaking. It will explore the development of exploitation film starting with with the birth of cinema itself, to its golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, its death and then makeover in the 1980s, and ultimately, to its revitalization in the present. Exploit This will feature interviews with all of the major players in the industry of exploitation filmmaking as well as major Hollywood Producers/Directors/Actors and those of what is now called “adult cinema.”  This documentary will show how low-budget cinema has shaped the independent film industry as we see it today.


We want to tell the complete history of exploitation cinema in America through the lens of the people who lived that history. Due to this genre, the needle of the first amendment was pushed forward, minds were opened, censorship was damned, and film history was forever changed.