How Shocking Violence Challenges Violence as a Spectacle
DISCLAIMER: As befits a project on exploitation film, this video contains graphic violence, nudity and generally unpleasant behaviour.
The outsiders of cinema have always challenged mainstream film narratives with unusual styles, techniques, content and philosophies. As film becomes increasingly self-recycling and distant from reality, the mixture of absurdity, realism and shock offered by exploitation films offers welcome relief and ensures that the use of violence in cinema is never completely unidimensional. Philosopher Jean Baudrillard introduced in Simulacra and Simulation a semiotic system to describe how representations progress into unreality, eventually achieving a self-imitative state of “hyperreality” in which they possess no relationship at all to the original reality their predecessors intended to depict. In this project, I explain the history of exploitation film until the beginning of the video age and apply Baudrillard’s reasoning to the relationship between conventional narratives of cinematic violence and those present in exploitation film.