Grinding out the Grindhouse: Exploitation, Myth and Memory

Glenn Ward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This chapter contributes to a significant and well-received volume of new sholarshio on transnational and global exploitation cinemas. The chapter draws on recent work in memory studies to argue that the 'grindhouse' constitutes a memory-place of the imagination: one which evokes a mythologisation of pre-digital cinema going experiences. While the 'death' of analogue cinema and the 'grindhouse' were effectively predicted by a kind of pre-emptive nostalgia even during its suposed 'hey day', the nostalgic elements of the myth (far beyond the often radicality of the films) belie a conservative and masculinised desire for a a particular kind of hazardous cultural space.“ "The Grindhouse is a fascinating phenomenon but it is too often seen as a wild and eclectic one, something that is praised for being chaotic and anarchic. The current collection goes beyond this celebratory rhetoric to examine the multiple forms and histories that converge in the Grindhouse. It unpicks and unpacks the phenomenon in ways that demonstrate its richness and variety, but also make sense of that richness and variety. Most significantly, it does so without destroying the pleasures of the Grindhouse. On the contrary it manages to question the experience while preserving its sense of fascination. And that is a very rare thing.”–Mark Jancovich, Professor of Film and Television Studies, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom “Grindhousesets a new standard for the study of exploitation cinema history. In a time when grindhouse aesthetics have become retro chic, this book moves us beyond the seedy, cult mythologies of grindhouse. Examining grindhouse cinema beyond myth and morality, beyond genre conventions or industrial norms, and even beyond the U.S. context, this collection takes a nuanced look at this complex body-no cadaver-of film history. The book demands that we interrogate how the turbulent racial, national and sexual politics of the 1960s to 1980s gave birth to a movement in cinema whose significance to the popular and film cultures of today cannot be underestimated. A tour de force and a must read for anyone interested in film on the (not so) perverse margins of cinema history.”–Mireille Miller-Young, Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrindhouse: Cultural Exchange on 42nd Street, and Beyond
EditorsJ. Walker, A. Fisher
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781628927450
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2016

Publication series

NameGlobal Exploitation Cinemas

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Bloomsbury Academic in Grindhouse: Cultural Exchange on 42nd Street, and Beyond on 22/09/2016, available online:


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