Friday, August 26, 2011

1950s and '60s drug exploitation movie posters tackle sex and drugs |

Poster madness on the Main:
Dave Rosen collects and sells vintage movie posters, 18 of which are on display at Blue Sunshine on St. Laurent Blvd. until July 31. "I put this together because I thought this is something nobody has ever done before," Rosen said.
"Thrills That Kill: Morals and Movie Posters - on the walls of the Blue Sunshine film centre on St. Laurent Blvd. (Montreal) - provides an entertaining glimpse into the fascinating netherworld of what were known as 'cautionary tale' exploitation movies. From the earliest days of American cinema, filmmakers would make movies about sex, drugs and later rock 'n' roll, designed, in theory, to warn viewers of the evils of these things.

The 18 vintage posters in the show belong to Dave Rosen, the former CBC Radio traffic reporter and current Montreal Mirror cartoonist."

"I put this together because I thought this is something nobody has ever done before," said Rosen. "To show specifically this kind of exploitation poster, for the cautionary tale films. It's a sub-genre. Reefer Madness is probably the one that set the pattern for cautionary-tale films. The whole idea is that things are shown on the screen that are forbidden, but it's okay to show them because you're teaching people that they shouldn't be doing this stuff. That's how these producers got around the Production Code. They could show drug use and sexual situations, but it had to be an educational experience. Everyone had to get their comeuppance at the end of the movie."
The Production Code was instituted to try to keep any illicit activity out of American movies and, by the 1930s, filmmakers, mostly independent producers, began churning out these pictures. Most of the posters in Thrills That Kill are from the 1950s and 1960s - for movies like the rock 'n' roll cult fave High School Confidential and Synanon, a drama starring Edmond O'Brien as a reformed alcoholic who starts up a rehab facility.

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