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Grindhouse NostalgiaMemory, Home Video and Exploitation Film Fandom$
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David Church

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748699100

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699100.001.0001

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Dressed to Regress? The Retributive Politics of the Retrosploitation Pastiche

Dressed to Regress? The Retributive Politics of the Retrosploitation Pastiche

Chapter:
(p.176) Chapter 4 Dressed to Regress? The Retributive Politics of the Retrosploitation Pastiche
Source:
Grindhouse Nostalgia
Author(s):

David Church

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699100.003.0004

By internalizing a blend of ironic distance and earnest appreciation, retrosploitation films tend toward pastiche's evaluatively neutral position between parody and homage—an aesthetic ambivalence matched by a political ambivalence in their fan reception. This middle position toward their historical referents opens the question of to what degree these contemporary films may also imitate the outdated political attitudes found in past exploitation cinema. Yet, when some viewers excuse the anachronistic political incorrectness of retrosploitation films as a temporary escape from critical engagement with contemporary attitudes, others maintain their fan-cultural appeals to connoisseurship by remaining attuned to the political work that these ostensibly regressive films do. Nostalgia's disjuncture between past and present can thus call attention to unresolved social inequalities, particularly if these films encourage us to identify with the viewing expectations of past audiences. Using textual readings and fan responses, this chapter surveys the representational politics in the retrosploitation cycle and its reception, finding openings for more progressive understandings of these films as well.

Keywords:   Pastiche, Retro, Racism, Sexism, Political correctness, Classism, Irony

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