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  Exposé Writer Wears Rubber Gloves For Sex Shocker!
Year: 1976
Director: James Kenelm Clarke
Stars: Udo Kier, Linda Hayden, Fiona Richmond, Patsy Smart, Vic Armstrong, Karl Howman
Genre: Horror, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Paul Martin (Udo Kier) is a novelist whose previous two books have been bestsellers, and the public are clamouring for a third, but he's having trouble settling down to writing it. To assist in the process, he heads out to an isolated house in the country where he can have some peace and quiet, but while he's there the loneliness he feels begins to have a detrimental effect on his mental health and hallucinations are the order of the day. He had invited his girlfriend Suzanne (Fiona Richmond) over, but then sent her away so he could get on - yet maybe company is what he needs.

Though if you judge a man by the company he keeps, then Paul is something of a nutter in this, the film best recalled today for being the sole British title to turn up on the infamous "Video Nasties" list back in the mid-eighties. What it probably isn't better remembered for was the fact that UK porn baron Paul Raymond was the reason it was made, in the hopes that it would make a movie star of his protege and then-current sex symbol Richmond, who penned saucy columns in his magazines and appeared in photoshoots for the same publications. They had a go at this three times, all directed by ex-BBC documentary man James Kenelm Clarke, and it's only notoriety which kept Exposé in the history books.

After all, who today recalls Let's Get Laid (where Robin Askwith played a Mr Laid who people wanted to get) or Hardcore (no, not the George C. Scott drama, and not hardcore in the porno way either)? Not many, that's who, which makes it surprising that although Richmond was certainly hired for this to take her clothes off for the camera, she wasn't actually in the finished results for very long: just the beginning and the end, really. Mainly this was handed over to two thesps with more experience, though that also came from appearing in exploitation movies: Kier, fresh from the Andy Warhol horrors though sadly dubbed, and Linda Hayden, another British sex symbol who was somehow more wholesome than her female co-star.

Yes, Hayden disrobed in most of her films, but she was of the girl next door variety rather than the jaded woman of the world who Richmond appeared to be, so her casting as a possible psychopath was somewhat against type here. That said, the story kept you guessing as to what exactly was happening, as there's a strong hint that much of the strangeness was emanating from the tortured psyche of Paul, and given he was played by Kier, a past master already at portraying unbalanced characters, it's fair to say this kept the audience on their toes. But rather than the orgy of violence which its inclusion on the video nasties list indicated, it was evidently more the sex which caused the problems.

Although even then it wasn't especially explicit, simply the usual softcore gropings which emerged from British X-rated cinema in the seventies, with Hayden showing up to act as secretary to Paul, but spending most of her time masturbating in scenes which may or may not be occurring in the author's mind, and that includes the rape at gunpoint she suffers from two locals. However, as she blankly undergoes this ordeal, she grabs the gun and blows the two men away (one of them being future star of popular sitcom Brush Strokes, Karl Howman), and we remain unsure of whether this has actually taken place anywhere but in Paul's fevered imagination. If this sounds like a predecessor to The Shining, then it was more influenced by Straw Dogs, as indicated by its original title The House on Straw Hill, with heavy dose of the tricksy psychothriller prevalent in the previous decade. The violence, when it arrived, was perfunctory, as it was the bare flesh Clarke had been instructed to concentrate on, but even that was unimaginative - all that was required. The risible art movie trappings assuredly were not. Music by Steve Gray.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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