The Video Nasties #32 – Exposé (1975, James Kenelm Clarke)

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‘You really look good y’know. Yes, really good.

You look very good. You look very, very good indeed.’

As if you couldn’t tell from the Salvation Army brass band, the rain and the 30-something thugs on bmx’s, Exposé is the first truly British movie to feature on our list. Oh sure, The Living Dead was filmed in England, but by Spaniards and Italians. Here, we have the quintessentially English, errr, Udo Kier, with Ken doll hair and a necktie so wide you could strap it to a yacht and go sailing. Sadly, those hoping for a repeat of his manic performance in Flesh for Frankenstein will be dismayed to know that he’s been dubbed here. More’s the pity.

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The plot concerns Udo as Paul Martin, an author working on his second book. He hires the always welcome presence of Linda Hayden to be his secretary, and things rapidly spiral into a weird psychosexual melodrama. The whole film actually plays out like a proto-Basic Instinct ‘erotic thriller’, sadly lacking in both eroticism and thrills. I mean each to their own and all, but my idea of sexy is not Udo Kier wearing rubber surgical gloves while 70s British glamour starlet Fiona Richmond (you know, star of such films as Let’s Get Laid) grinds against him through the prism of a distorted lens, bucking and screeching like she’s being eaten by a crocodile. And this is how the film opens!

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In what are easily my favourite sections of the movie, we see Kier dictating his masterpiece to Hayden. I think the only proper thing to do is to transcribe it for you, dear reader, much like Linda Hayden is doing in the film. How delightfully meta! So buckle up and prepare yourself for a passage from Paul Martin’s latest opus. I have written it exactly as he describes, so the punctuation is all his. Guys, it’s about to get real saucy in here.

‘He felt soft under the sheets warm, gone was the formal exterior that had presented itself so fearfully this last week. Here in his arms was a sensitive being. Passionate and demanding. Then Angus’ tongue starts it’s slow exploration starting here arousing there playing on Anna like a virtuoso with a Stradivarius or a Steinway, a great wonderful catharsis of lust. Anna’s legs slowly pointed and each caress urgently moving, demanding she was wet with anticipation.’

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There you go. If only someone had written and published the whole book as some kind of delirious promotional tie-in. What a collectors item that would have been! I guess the world just wasn’t ready for such a great wonderful catharsis of lust. And to think that Kier claims the book was in line for the pulitzer prize! What a sorry year for literature 1975 must have been.

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What’s that? You want more? You got it.

‘They turned in at the end of the drive, and Angus stopped the car quietly. Their kiss was neither tender nor affectionate, it was carnal, it was lustful, wet and greedy, lingering, passionate but with warmth; possessive but with calm “I love you” Angus’ voice soft in the interior. Ice crystals forming on the windscreen of the russet sky, an ironical setting after all there had been.’

Fucking hell! Of course it’s later revealed that he had stolen his first book and driven the actual author to suicide (whoops, pretend you didn’t read that) so I guess it makes sense that his book was not quite up to scratch.

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With Kier dubbed, it’s up to Linda Hayden to keep things entertaining. Thankfully, she was one of the brightest stars of the 70s British horror scene, with memorable turns in films like Blood on Satan’s Claw. Here, she spends much of the film nude or masturbating or both, while still finding time to go on a murderous rampage, culminating in a very graphic shower murder that was certainly the reason that this film was banned. And guys, none of that is a spoiler. The original VHS cover spells the whole thing out, giving you the entire plot right up to the final twist!

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It’s not a film I’d urge anyone to seek out. Instead, why not seek out an alternate dimension, where Udo Kier is Paul Martin and has written the novelisation of this film, playing on it like a virtuoso with a Stradivarius or Steinway, his legs slowly pointing and each caress urgently moving, wet with anticipation.

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