Features Philly Film — 08 May 2011 » Written by
Exhumed Films’ eX-Fest

Exhumed Films’ first (annual?) eX-Fest has come and gone and man was it sleazy.  For the uninitiated/uninterested, eX-Fest was twelve hours of 70’s exploitation madness held at the International House yesterday from 11 AM to 11 PM.  As is the case with their annual 24 hour Halloween marathon, the titles of the festival’s films were not announced ahead of time, which led me to wonder if they would have attained a sold out event had the audience known what they were in store for (I would have certainly been there regardless, but what about the guy that sat there holding out hope for Shaft or Rolling Thunder or one of a hundred other major exploitation titles?).  It’s not that the films were bad, they were simply unknown.  The Exhumed gang obviously went for rarity over quality, which is fine since it’s really the crowd that makes the film at these events.  Here’s the screening rundown:

1.  Cut-throats Nine:  1972 Spanish film styled like a spaghetti western.  Well-made, but forgettable.  The founder of Rue Morgue magazine is apparently in the process of remaking it with Harvey Keitel in the lead.
2.  No Way Out:  1973 Italian revenge film starring the great Alain Delon.  Amazing car chases.  Definitely the classiest film screened at the festival.
3.  The Face with Two Left Feet:  The rarest film of the day (not even Google has heard of it*) was this 70’s disco comedy from Italy starring a young man who looked exactly like John Travolta.  His six friends, all of which work at the same luxury hotel, convince him to pose as the Saturday Night Fever star so that he can get a girl or get them into discotheques or something.  Terrible humor, laughter guaranteed.
4.  Savage!:  1973 blaxploitation film from the Philippines.  A bit of a bore.
5.  Redneck Miller:  1977 “hicksploitation” film starring authentic southern rednecks.  A sample scene:  Our hero, misogynist disc jockey DJ Miller, explains to the married woman that he’s sleeping with (one of three women he beds/cars in the film) that he didn’t attempt to stop a group of thugs from raping her because “You can take a lot of loving, I can only get killed one time.”  Fun stuff, read what Tarantino had to say about it here.
6.  Five Fingers of Death:  Run Run Shaw’s kung-fu classic from 1972 that wasn’t nearly as fun as I remembered, but still worth a revisit.
7.  [The Other] Cinderella:  X-rated musical comedy with the humor of a Russ Meyer film and the pageantry of an Adam Ant video.  Definitely felt some awkwardness in the theater, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as when I saw a 3-D John Holmes film at the Roxy six or seven years ago.

Throw in a few compilations of thematically-grouped trailers, a nice-looking eX-Fest poster, and a t-shirt for the gang’s upcoming Planet of the Apes marathon and it was quite the day to remember.  God bless Exhumed Films.

Now excuse me, I have to go wash the filth out of my brain.

* UPDATE:  Phil Nobile (@PhilfromPHL) has located The Face… online under an even better title: The Lonely Destiny of John Travolto.


About Author

Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of Cinedelphia.com whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He's served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.

(8) Readers Comments

  1. Nicely done, sir.

  2. My only real disagreement here is on the emphasis you give to calling the fest sleazy. We all have our own gauge, of course, but I could write several hundred words about this wonderful fest, and it would never have occurred to me to describe it as sleazy. And as a fan of “sleaze”, I’d have certainly welcomed it. Still, I would suggest that the only film to even spit in the direction of sleaze was (The Other) Cinderalla, a jaw-dropping X-Rated outing starring the legendary Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith, and it tilts at sleaze due to the sometimes uncomfortable racial content, rather than the nudity (the Fairy Godmother is a Gay male Black house thief who turns a watermelon into a carriage, among other things).

    Other than that, I actually liked Cut-Throats Nine more than you did, and The Face With Two Left Feet far less (loved the goofy concept, but the attempts at comedy struck me as so unfunny that I was not able to laugh with it or at it for more than 20 minutes… might have enjoyed it more were it broken up and turned into an ongoing SNL skit).

    I also enjoyed Five Fingers of Death much more than I thought I would. I was initially disappointed to see it unspool, having seen it a couple of times before, but I quickly realized I had never seen it on the big screen, and it struck me as far better than I remembered it to me, based upon my previous viewings via faded, cropped VHS.

    Also, though the fest organizers referred to Redneck Miller as “hicksploitation”, I’m not sure that’s accurate, unless all a film needs to be so labeled are a couple of car chases, some scenes in a dark bar, and a couple of “redneck” references. “Hicksploitation” suggests to me heavy Southern accents, and extreme redneck stereotypes, neither of which were present here . In fact, I’m inclined to go out on a limb and claim that the blaxploitation elements outweigh any hicksploitation, as there was A LOT of stereotyping of involved in the depiction of the Black characters. Regardless, this film surprised me with how technically well made it was, and also with the entirely competent performance by the male lead.

    Finally, I agree 100% that No Way Out (aka Big Guns) was the classiest of the films. For me, it was also the most thoroughly satisfying.

  3. Cinderella and the discosploitation film were the best ones of the day, in my opinion. And Google has not heard of the English title of that flick, but there’s some info on the Italian title. What a find!

  4. @Paul: It certainly does come down to one’s own gauge on “sleaze”. My girlfriend has been repeating the comments by the two guys sitting behind us during Cinderella all morning, they were definitely sleazy. I’m sure even the great Joe Bob Briggs would agree with my consensus if I were to count up the number of rapes (both actual and implied), racial stereotypes (both lighthearted and deeply offensive [not to me, but in theory to others]), misogyny, abuse, and the like that was spread out across those seven films. Like my brave girlfriend said post-show “Those movies were for boys.”

    And besides, I meant “sleaze” in the kindest possible way. Thanks for visiting!

    • Interesting that you should mention Job Bob. I actually used to write for his “We Are The Weird” and “Joe Bob Report” filmzines!

      Anyway, should you readers be interested and not yet know, this coming Saturday is the date of Hudson Horror Show III in Poughkeepsie, NY, featuring ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST (aka DR. BUTCHER M.D.), CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, ALLIGATOR, THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Joe Bob, no doubt, would urge everyone to “Check it out!”

  5. Very enjoyable read and glad to see you had as much fun as my friends and I had yesterday.

    Paul’s comment nailed any disagreements I had about your assessment of the films on display (ie: I liked CUT-THROATS NINE quite a bit) — I also found SAVAGE! very entertaining as well, and thought the Travolta comedy was probably the weakest film of the day (although that being said, I still liked it quite a bit and don’t regret seeing it). But who’s complaining? We all had a blast and that’s what matters.

    Speaking of the faux-Travolta flick, I just wanted to point out that one of things that made its inclusion a little bit “sleazier” is that the blonde woman the Travolta look-alike is trying to impress is Ilona Staller — more famously known as Italian adult film actress (and ex-Parliament member) Cicciolina — which made the film that much more interesting to me.

  6. I’m debating with my boyfriend right now if you are being cheeky by calling it “The Lonely Destiny of John Travolta” or if your translation is just a bit off by mistake.

    The title is a pun-ish play on words for the title of “Swept Away” in Italian, which is “Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto” or as it is in English: “Swept away by a peculiar destiny in the blue sea of August”

  7. @Natalie: Thanks for the info, quite interesting…not sure where that The Lonely… title translation came from, but I’ll begin circulating your response for the sake of discussion.

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