The gratuitous nudity and unlikely glamour shoots used to promote exploitation films and their female stars.
It’s almost unthinkable in the current climate, but for pretty much the whole of the 20th century, horror and exploitation movies were sold as much on the physical appeal of the female stars (or, just as often, supporting players) as on the levels of horror, action or melodrama on offer. There’s a possibly apocryphal story about the director of a low budget slasher film trying to persuade a reluctant actress to take her top off, finally saying in exasperated fashion “if you don’t take your clothes off, how will anyone know it’s a horror film?”, and certainly in the 1980s and the Scream Queen era, indie genre films were often as much about the T&A as the gore, with the likes of Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer becoming the new faces of horror – quite a change from the days of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Entire production companies and magazines like Scream Queens Illustrated and Femme Fatales sprang up to feed the demand.
But glamour girls have been a staple of exploitation cinema since the 1930s, and filmmakers would regularly produce glamour shots to promote their movies (even if the film itself was notably lacking in anything sexy), while the stars themselves – keen to either promote a fledgeling career or boost a flagging one – would pose for glamour mags in teasingly provocative or fully nude spreads. Hammer Films were legendary for selling sex, but they were far from alone.
In the tradition of those days gone by, here is a (doubtless continually expanding) gallery of gratuitously sexy press shots and sexy shoots from exploitation movie stars.
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