Pat Barrington was known for her bust. She was athletically built, like a belly dancer, and typically a brunette, though she often appeared in wigs, as above. In many of her films she was featured only as a dancer, particularly in those short reel works. Often they were hippie or drugsploitation pieces with a bunch of people getting high and watching Pat strip. Many of these are available on the Something Weird editions of her films.
This week we'll look, not so much at Pat, as the movies she appeared in, and what makes them interesting, important, or ridiculous. Here is what is on deck:
- Monday: Stephen C. Apostolof's Orgy of the Dead, written by Ed Wood Jr.
- Tuesday: Russ Meyer's Mondo Topless
- Wednesday: William Rostler's Lila (aka Mantis in Lace)
- Thursday: More William Rostler with The Girl with the Hungry Eyes
- Friday: Even more William Rostler with The Agony of Love
A word about exploitation. It comes in many forms, typically all involve sex. There is Blaxploitation, Nunsploitation, Britsploitation, Drugsploitation, Teensploitation... If it is trashy, it is a flavour of Mother Exploitation. Now, the terms sounds like it means the films exploit the people in them (particularly women), and this is not necessarily a falsehood, but there is a sound argument that those exploited are actually the viewers. If you have ever watched a terrible movie just because there was nudity in it, guess what? You were exploited. Inclusion of sex and nudity is to many directors and producers license to make crappy films. Before Deep Throat (Jerry Gerard, 1972), explicit sex was not commonplace in American cinema, and many viewers had to take what they could get. Many people making Exploitation films were out to make a buck, lure young starlets into their Hollywood dream, or perhaps even launder money.
Some of filmdom's great people began in exploitation before making it big in the mainstream, while many other greats stayed. Jonathan Demme, director of Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, and the remake of The Manchurian Candidate worked for Roger Corman early on. Demme's directorial debut was the Women in Prison classic Caged Heat (1974, Erica Gavin, Juanita Brown, Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith, Roberta Collins). Jack Hill, who brought us Coffy and Foxy Brown (both featuring Blaxploitation Goddess Pam Grier) also made many Women in Prison and Cheerleader Exploitation films. Russ Meyer, while not everyone's cup of tea, was a visionary, and one of the last great writer/director/cinematographers who stayed in Exploitation because he could not stand the constraints placed upon him by the big studios. Others, like Ed Wood Jr., were unfortunate souls with great vision, but little talent. Exploitation is not always something to be ignored, as there are often real gems amongst the rhinestones.