Welcome To Times Square!
Yes, it’s America’s most brightly lit playground of fun for the entire family! Times Square is well lit, filled with upbeat tourist attractions and offers all of the big chain restaurants you expect when on vacation – it’s a street filled with fun!
Well, it is NOW – but New York’s Times Square wasn’t always so wholesome…here’s what it looked like just a few decades ago…
This Wasn’t Your Mother’s Times Square!
Folks, these pictures are from Times Square in the 70’s and early 80’s – a seedy strip filled with movie houses that showed exploitation films 24 hours a day – that’s how the term “grindhouse” came to be: theaters that were grinding out cheap “dirty movies” all day and night…
I have posted many stories about this era in the history of Times Square…it’s fascinating because these movie theaters were as dangerous inside as the action onscreen! They also showed films that weren’t being seen in your neighborhood theater:
“A Smell Of Honey! A Swallow OF Brine!”
These films were rough morality tales – in this case, a young woman who likes to tease her suitors gets her comeuppance in a rough rough way…it’s a common theme in these movies: young women who stray into “bad” territory, and of course stupid guys who want a cheap thrill and pay the ultimate price for it…
This is a classic example of early sexploitation – a hint of nudity and sexual situations designed to attract lonely men who wanted a thrill, and they found it on 42nd street…read more about this cult classic – and see the trailer – by clicking here:
As the 60’s ended, the films being shown in grind house theaters continued to up the ante…New York’s times Square became even rougher, and the posters for these sexploitation films were more suggestive than ever…
It’s not hard to understand what they are selling here, and that kept dozens of these Times Square theaters in business! “Forbidden Flesh” is a perfect example of an era when the films were beginning to show more, suggestion turning to overt sexuality. and you can see more by clicking here:
These films got away with a lot because they were promising an “educational” experience – yes, some of these films skirted obscenity laws by purporting to show a “documentary” aspect to their sexuality – they were showing you shocking perversions going on in your very own country!
Yes, hillbillies were taking “child brides”, and only one film had the nerve to uncover it…and “uncover” they did…this movie poster is as suggestive and exploitive as they come, and you see the trailer here:
As the 70’s progressed, many of these movie theaters went hardcore, showing XXX-rated movies…in order to keep up, savvy Producers upped the lurid content of their own software erotic movies as well…
You have to see “Wham Bam, Thank You Spaceman” to appreciate it! It’s as “over the top” as grind house films were…anything to keep the customers satisfied! Here is the trailer:
Movies from Europe flooded the US in the early 70’s as well – these films were called “Artsploitation”, because they offered intelligent, moody storytelling – albeit with a lot of nudity – “artistic exploration” – and the best ones featured the “Queen of Artsploitation”, Christina Lindberg!
Lindberg’s most notorious film is called “Thriller: A Cruel Picture”…which also went by this title, because in those days, Producers would simply retitle movies and release them again:
Lindberg inspired Quentin Tarantino to give Darryl Hannah an eye patch in “Kill Bill”…see more about Lindberg by clicking here:
Europe’s other “sexploitation superstar” was the iconic Lina Romay:
Romay starred in some of the most outrageous european sex shockers of all time, such as this classic piece of what was known as “euro sleaze”:
“Lorna The Exorcist” took advantage of another popular film of the time of course. Most of her films were directed by her husband, Jess Franco…read all about them here:
The US had it’s own iconic, erotic filmmakers well….yes, that would be the legendary Russ Meyer:
Meyer achieved fame for his classic sexploitation film “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” He went on to make a number of cult classics such as these:
His films were bright, full of sight gags, ample bosoms, and a sense of humor that was usually lacking in sexploitation films…see more of his work here:
There are now many film companies who are trying to keep exploitation alive by releasing classic cult films from that era…
Here is a great new documentary from Something Weird Video that looks at the entire genre, it’s terrific! The documentary “That’s Sexploitation” gives an in-depth look at this era of film making. See the trailer here:
I hope you enjoyed your journey into cinema’s dirty bad alley…let me know your favorites!
Categories: 70's Cinema, Action Films, Books / Media, British Cinema, Christina Lindberg, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Foreign Films, Great Films, Grindhouse, Hollywood, Horror films, Independent Cinema, Los Angeles, Movies, Movies About Movies, New York, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Russ Meyer, Sexploitation Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized