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American Grindhouse Reviews

Page 1 of 5
Lucas M

Super Reviewer

July 28, 2012
Informative, entertaining and unforgettable, American Grindhouse it's a great study about exploration movies, U.S. modern pictures inspirations, the fight to adapt "cinema fashion" and win money. A trip into remarkable and 'bad taste' films. Criative and inspired, dispite doesn't mention some important people in underground low budget industry cinema. Fresh.

Super Reviewer

September 11, 2011
This follow-up of sorts to NIGHTMARES IN RED, WHITE AND BLUE provides a history of (non-horror) exploitation films in the U.S. Compared to NIGHTMARES, this shorter documentary covers its shallower subject in greater depth (if that makes sense).

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2011
Not perfect. Skips over some important figures such as Roger Corman. However, a pretty excellent primer on one of the most notorious and misunderstood genres in cinema history.

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2011
A pretty interesting and very entertaining look at the low class exploitation films of the past. What makes the documentary good is that John Landis and Joe Dante are involved. They are two very interesting directors who have made good movies. They love movies and it really shows in American Grindhouse. When they are talking it feels like an extended Trailers From Hell episode. Landis says probably the most important quote for people who are looking at getting into grindhouse films. "Most of them are shit, but every once in awhile you'll find a good one."
Byron B

Super Reviewer

October 2, 2012
A very entertaining documentary! The talking heads have fascinating things to say. The stills, audio, and video clips illustrate so well the history this movie is trying to share. A couple American International pictures are mentioned, but the biggest surprise for me is that Roger Corman's name is never uttered. Besides this exception, this doc covers a wide range of exploitation genres and the filmmakers who were happy to oblige the public. The "chapter" headings are: In the Beginning: From Edison to Freaks, Let He Who Is Without Sin... See Our Movie, It's Not Vulgar... It's Educational, Perversion... For Profit, Teenage... Rampage, Sexploitation: From Nudie Cuties to Roughies, Gore- Galore, The Times... They Are a Changin', Blaxploitation: You Dig?, They Caged Their Bodies... But Not Their Desires, The Schlocky... Seventies, Send In... The Nazis, Porn-O-Copia, and The Final Grind... Or Is It?. It is out on DVD, but I watched it free on Hulu.

Super Reviewer

November 1, 2011
As a Historian of Art I was interested in this documentary which chronicles the history of the American exploitation film, especially when I found out that I can see exclusive interviews with John Landis, Joe Dante, Jack Hill, Don Edmonds, Fred Williamson, Allison Anders, James Gordon White, Larry Cohen, William Lustig, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Judy Brown, Jeremy Kasten, Jonathan Kaplan, Bob Minor, Lewis Teague, David Hess and Fred Olen Ray. Interviews were not bad, but this is sold as a documentary.

Disappointment was in the part that I felt that this documentary exploits the history of exploitation film - and doing it very superficially! I liked the part where we could see the obscure, mostly-forgotten '50s childbirth films that were produced and promoted as educational... because just reminds us that nothing has changed! Same things are done today! And this documentary is just a part of it.
Christopher H

Super Reviewer

March 4, 2011
Perfect for those interested in film history, "American Grindhouse" takes a look at American exploitation films from their start in the early 1900's to present-day with director's like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez bringing the classic nature of the film back. Focusing on giving the audience what they want, like sex, violence, and special effects, these films took on a life of their own. What will surprise you from this film are certain films that are considered exploitation films, like Hitchcock's "Psycho" and Spielbergs' "Jaws" as well as how popular many of these films were, even the ones completely considered smut. With many interviews with film historians, directors, and actors, "American Grindhouse" feels like a quick starter course for anyone interested in the subject, showing many clips from the films it talks about, creating one of the most well put together film documentaries I've witnessed in a long time.

Super Reviewer

November 8, 2011
A documentary about the history of grindhouse/exploitation cinema. It does a very good job introducing Grindhouse to people who may not know much. It misses a few things and has a little room for improvement but overall it does a great job.

Great for people interested in the genre and in movie history.
July 15, 2012
Good documentary even though I think they focused only on the idea that grind houses were just a place to promote sex in the USA.
June 29, 2012
Informative and wildly entertaining history of American B-movies with a number of engaging clips and much great commentary from its various talking heads. Right up my alley.
March 3, 2012
Fun little look into the American exploitation film genre, even if at times it feels like little more than a video essay, the interviews really elevate it above that. It's no NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD (which is not only informative but incredibly fun to watch), but it's informative and... pretty fun.
April 2, 2011
Informative but seems to gloss over certain parts during the remaining 20-30 minutes. But in its defense I think this era (predominately 70s exploitation) are the most widely recognized sub-genres the general audience would be most familiar with. The doc really does give a more broader overview of things we, especially me, wouldn't have recognized or even consider part of exploitation flicks and giving different sides of how such films are accepted: influential, trash, entertainment, offensive, and just plain art.
March 17, 2011
This documentary was a decent movie about movies, and shows the audience a great portfolio to support the story. It gives a great history and has an amazing list of people they interview. The people they speak to are entertaining and knowledgeable. They seem excited about the genre and make you excited to see some of these movies. But the biggest fault is that it goes really fast. It seems like they wanted to get it all in so they just mashed it all up. I guess that's the Grindhouse style. But they really should have took their time on some key people and themes.

Still, a good watch for movie buffs.
November 29, 2010
Covering much more than I expected (in that it doesn't focus solely on the 70's era of exploitation), this one is a great overview of the history of U.S. Cinema outside of the mainstream.

What frustrates me now is not being able to own this one right now, as it's only available in streaming formats.

November 23, 2013
"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." - H.L. Mencken.
October 4, 2013
Some interesting history but way slower than I expected.
June 16, 2013
A great documentary for anyone interested in film history or learning about 20th century fringe culture. Some of it was too gory for me, but it comes with the territory of exploring exploitation films. Overall, well-made and engaging.
January 31, 2013
As long as film has existed, filmmakers have found a way to exploit it, as Elijah Drenner shows us in this shocking look at the cinematic underground, AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE. Drenner presents a complete and fully informed history of the Exploitation genre, from its early beginnings in films like Thomas Edison's TRAFFIC IN SOULS to the more recent trend in so-called "Torture-Porn" pictures like HOSTEL. Few realize just how outrageous and scandalous the films of the pre-Code era truly were, with a proliferation of sex and violence that Drenner brings back to the surface for a startling effect. The evolution of Exploitation is then documented in great detail, traveling through the stages of the early sex films, educational pictures, horror and the grand guignol, Film Noir, burlesque, teenage delinquency, Sexploitation, and gore (and that's just in the first half!). However debatable the content of these films may be, the cultural impact that filmmakers like Russ Meyer, Samuel Arkoff, and Herschell Gordon Lewis had on cinema is unmistakable. Robert Forster's dry narration often seems out of place given the sensational subject matter, but the colorful commentary of the Exploitation genre's most knowledgeable historians and filmmakers help to liven things up. An excellent ensemble of classic film trailers and vintage posters also accompany this informative look into filth, with key editing attributed to Andy Goldenberg, Dan Greene, and Drenner, himself.
November 24, 2012
Awesome documentary on grindhouse filmmaking and spectatorship.
November 9, 2012
Successfully got me hooked on the subject. I saw Tarantino's Grindhouse several times and loved it. I knew it was supposed to be done in a old, cheesy, B-movie style, but I had no idea what exactly that was. As a designer, I am deeply, deeply fascinated with grindhouse art/style. While I have yet to develop a taste for the sort of movies they advertise (I'm not in any big hurry to see "Slave Girls of the SS") I love their posters, title sequences, logos...I love the tone they convey. For the documentary itself, it isn't anything new; it's pretty vanilla and to the point and it's set up in neat sections that go from Thomas Edison in the 1920's to present day. I will admit that the ending of the American Grindhouse was rushed. I wish they would have more greatly explored the direction 'Grindhouse' and exploitation is taking today. Is there modern exploitation films? What do they think will be the next big thing that makes the masses squirm? They made a great point in saying that the graphic, independent essence of the style as been fully absorbed into popular culture; in 2012, we have seen everything and for the most part, are pretty numb to the bells and whistles that once made these exploitation movies a hit. Maybe the style is dead, maybe it will take a new form soon enough.
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