Exploitation movies were low-budget feature films, usually considered to be of low moral or artistic merit. Regardless, conceptual artist Jamie Shovlin has now produced an entirely new film of this genre for Cornerhouse, Manchester. The piece, Hiker Meat, and its Italian director Jesus Rinzoli, have been imagined by Shovlin to represent archetypes of the form. This unique style of film boomed from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when their makers pursued financial success by “exploiting” popular trends and lurid subject matter, including suggested or explicit sex, sensational violence, gore, ‘freaks’ and drug-use.
Shovlin collaborated with writer Mike Harte (of whose name Hiker Meat is an anagram) and composer Euan Rodger to produce a full screenplay and soundtrack for the film – a classic slasher movie set in an American summer camp in the late 1970s. In 2009 he then created a prototype version of the film, by collaging over 1500 found clips from original exploitation movies.
Shovlin comments that: “Although most exploitation films might rightly be considered poor in terms of form and motivation I can’t help being inspired by the genre’s potential for very idiosyncratic output, and its disavowal of mainstream film distribution networks. Crucially, there was a striking spirit of collaboration and a ‘can do’ attitude towards film production and distribution which I sought to adopt on this project: people believing in an idea to the extent that they somehow make it happen, regardless of practicalities and funds.”
The beginning and end sections of this prototype, and a Hiker Meat trailer, have now been recreated shot-by-shot by Cornerhouse Artist Film with all effects authentically created by hand. These “re-filmed” sections form the culmination of the Cornerhouse exhibition, which is being curated by Director of Programme and Engagement Sarah Perks.
Jamie Shovlin: Hiker Meat, 18 January – 21 April 2014, Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street, Manchester M1 5NH.