An exploitation film that never actually existed has been ‘remade’ for a new exhibition at Cornerhouse, Manchester – the biggest to date by conceptual artist and director, Jamie Shovlin. The movie Hiker Meat, and its 1970s Italian director Jesus Rinzoli have been imagined by Shovlin to represent an archetype of the exploitation genre, which boomed from the late 1960s to early 1980s.
Exploitation movies were low-budget feature films, usually considered to be of low moral or artistic merit. Their makers pursued financial success by ‘exploiting’ popular trends and lurid subject matter, including suggested or explicit sex, sensational violence, gore, ‘freaks’ and drug use.
Jamie collaborated with writer Mike Harte (whose name is an anagram of ‘hiker meat’) and composer Euan Rodger to produce a full screenplay and soundtrack for the film, before creating a prototype in 2009 by collaging over 1500 found film clips. The beginning and end sections of this prototype, and a Hiker Meat trailer, have now been recreated shot-by-shot, during filming in the English Lake District.
I was unit stills photographer during the filming of this production and created documentary images throughout the shooting process along with pictures for publicity material. This project had a small and intimate crew that saw us working and living together. The crew formed a fast and close working relationship and one of utmost trust and respect. With larger productions the opportunity to openly discuss ideas with the director or DOP would be almost impossible, but here this was the norm and collaboration between us all made this a once in a lifetime experience.
Extending the collaborative approach, Jamie, Cornerhouse Artist Film and Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) are also producing a feature film, in the form of a ‘meta-mentary’ about the making of Hiker Meat. Rough Cut, released in 2013, will combine the filmed sections of Hiker Meat with the equivalent of modern DVD extras, including ‘fly-on-the-wall’ production footage and interviews with cast and crew. Special thanks to Jamie for allowing me to use his artwork in the form of the movie posters and lobby cards
2013, 90 mins (Cert 15)
Director: Jamie Shovlin
Executive Producer: Sarah Perks
Producer: Bren O’Callaghan
Writer: Mike Hart
Music: Euan Rodger
“A horror film from the world of make-believe” The Guardian
“Clever stuff, brimming with B-movie affection” Time Out
“Ambitious, assured and amusing” Empire Magazine
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