Exploitation films always make me happy. Not that they’re supposed to. Generally, they’re meant to either nauseate or titillate, and usually both, but the forced shock value and calculatedly amoral narratives always bring a smile to my face, once I’m done masturbating into my vomit. The shameless mix of violence and sex, often within the same scene, is so unabashed in these types of movies, one can’t help but smile at the mischievousness of the filmmakers, as if Dennis The Menace grew up into a serial killer with a video camera. However, as much as I enjoy the Candy Snatchers and Switchblade Sisters of the world, they do tend to lack some of the elements that most require to take films seriously, such as a cohesive script and performers who can deliver their lines and take their shirts off at the same time, as opposed to taking lengthy breaks to visibly read off screen crib notes between actions. Aunt Rose, while gleefully stepping into most of the pitfalls inherent to exploitation cinema, does manages to impress with the actors’ performances, particularly from star/writer Joshua Nelson, raising it significantly above other films in the same vein.
This does not, of course, make the film good. If Enrico Caruso sang a Good Charlotte song, I’d still try to firebomb the concert hall, and the fact that Aunt Rose is very well-acted won’t prevent me from addressing its other failings it hopes of making myself feel better by making the movie cry. My main quibble is with the script. At the film’s heart is a gripping and tense story of a home invasion, in which a group of hoodlums dressed like Pat Roberston’s impression of the punk rock community take a family hostage in their home while hiding out from the police. This is not an unfamiliar story, as it’s been seen in exploitation films of the 70s and 80s like Last House on the Left, but while it’s not fresh, it does have potential. But there’s a thread of the supernatural crudely woven through the first two thirds of the movie that takes over in the final act, moving the horror of the film away from the real and into the fantastic, thereby loosing its grip on the audience. Still, there’s a great deal of interest here for fans of the genre, and while it’s not recommended for everyone, those of you looking for a little foreplay before drowning a kitten or cutting the faces out of porno magazines will find something of interest here.
Favorite exploitation films, anyone?