Anyone who knows Dr. Randall Clark, assistant professor of Journalism at Clayton State University knows the depth of his passion for films. Clayton State faculty and staff are given the opportunity to see this passion through his outstanding work and by simply having the pleasure of knowing him. Students also get the opportunity to see this passion through a few of his film classes such as History of Film, Film Genres and Introduction to Media Studies.
Clark has recently received the word that his book, “At a Theatre or Drive-in Near You: The History Culture and Politics of the American Exploitation Film,”
is being reprinted, without any revisions, from the original publication in 1995. The new edition is available from Amazon and will be available from Barnes and Noble this month.
Clark originally wrote this book in the hope of settling the confusion between exploitation movies and B-movies, more commonly known as “Drive-ins.” Despite the fact that many people believe these two are the same, they most certainly are not, he explains, noting that exploitation films are low budget films with lots of sex, violence and action. The term derives from the fact that promoters of such films exploit the contents through advertising that ultimately heightens the sexual or violent aspects of these films.
“These movies were kind of under the radar and they were able to make social statements that mainstream films couldn't make as well as addressing social phenomena while it was still happening,” says Clark. His book is the first published comprehensive study of the American exploitation film.
The 248 page hardback discusses five distinct genres: The Teen Movie, The Sexploitation Film, The Martial Arts Movie, The Blaxploitation Film and The Lawbreaker Picture. It is also broken into four different components: Film Studies, Cinema Studies & Popular Cinema, Film Genre and Media Studies.
From beach party movies to biker films and kung fu movies, Clark provides a substantial amount of research and information on each genre mentioned in this theoretic study. He even discusses the moonshine movies that were popular in the South in the wake of Thunder Road; a drama–crime film about running moonshine in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee in the late 1950s.
Clark originally wrote the book as his dissertation in 1989 and decided to refurbish it for publication in 1995. Although it has been out of print for quite some time and there seems to be an abundance of popular books on exploitation films, this book in particular is still one of the few academic works which ultimately contributes to the value of this exceedingly attention-grabbing book.
The two factors mentioned above may appear to have an effect on the exposure of its re-publication, but to the contrary, the pricing as well as the popularity of the book has risen since the book made its debut 18 years ago.
“There's been an odd demand for it and even used copies are expensive,” says Clark. He notes that Amazon is currently selling the book for $350, but it is being sold for more than $1000 in other places.