We’ve had plenty of studies on the effects of stalk and slash pics on impressionable young minds. What about the effects of grisly exploitation on the filmmakers themselves and their forever in jeopardy damsels? Odette Springer, former music supervisor for Concorde/New Horizons, addresses that intriguing question in “Some Nudity Required,” an insightful, outrageously entertaining docu memoir that’s made to order for voyeuristic arthouse habitues.
Classically trained Springer, who shared writer director chores with Johanna Demetrakas, eschews a standard approach to the material by often turning the camera on herself, asking, “How did I go from Beethoven to B movies?” Self analytical approach, shored up by interviews with exploitation vets and blood soaked scream queens, sometimes feels contrived, melodramatic (“Something beyond my control was pushing me all the way to the bottom”). Still, Springer asks the hard questions and doesn’t shy away from more perverse aspects of the trade. Near the end of her tenure at Concorde, she admits to getting off on the S&M herself.
Like “Boogie Nights,” “SNR” evokes its own perverse to endearing milieu and, in the end, suggests the straight to video grindhouse vets enjoy a sense of community. Generous use of clips (from “Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold,” “Angel of Destruction,” etc.) illustrates biz’s misogynist bent; comments from Roger Corman (who comes off as something of a dirty old man) and Corman’s former boss, American Intl. Pictures pioneer Sam Arkoff, provide useful context.
Edward Albert Jr., marquee name in the ’70s, bravely attempts to laugh off his participation in a gory supernatural quickie. B superstars Maria Ford and Julie Strain provide antithetical motives for allowing themselves to be stalked and slashed. Strain, Amazonian in stature, sees trash trade as a means to an end and disrobes before crew with gusto; more petite and articulate Ford, known for “Stripped to Kill II,” plays activist, accusing the industry of forcing actresses to strip for their supper. “I haven’t gotten jobs because of the size of my breasts,” Ford fumes.
Of the exploitation auteurs interviewed, Jim Wynorski comes off as the most colorful and crass. “Big breasts are the cheapest special effects in the business,” he observes when he isn’t groaning over Springer’s Psych 101 questions. Chuck Moore makes the argument that the men in these movies are also typed, and therefore, just as exploited; Catherine Cyran (“Slumber Party Massacre 3”) is refreshingly candid about “selling your soul” — and feminist principles — to survive in the biz.
Regulars in the trade are so trashy and colorful that Springer’s final bombshell, that she may have been abused by a voyeuristic aunt and uncle and therefore drawn to S&M movies, feels like it belongs to a weightier PBS case study.
Tech credits are generally in keeping with those on straight to video slasher films. Some of the funniest moments find Springer’s former colleagues instructing her on camera placement and composition. Their exasperation says boatloads.