Millions of Americans have been thrilled, scared, titillated, and shocked by exploitation movies, low budget films with many scenes of sex, violence, and other potentially lurid elements. The term derives from the fact that promoters of such films exploit the contents in advertising that plays up the sexual or violent aspects of the films. This is the first comprehensive study of the American exploitation film to be published. It discusses five distinct genres: the teen movie, the sexploitation film, the martial arts movie, the blaxploitation film and the lawbreaker picture. Contained within these genres are many popular American film types, including beach movies, biker pictures, and women's prison movies. The study provides a history and sociopolitical analysis of each genre, focusing on significant films in those genres. It also discusses the economics of exploitation films and their place in the motion picture industry, the development of drive-in theaters, the significance of the teenage audience, and the effect of the videocassette. Finally, the book applies major film and cultural theories to establish an aesthetic for evaluating the exploitation film and to explore the relationship between film and audience.