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Exposé (1976)

Dir: James Kenelm Clarke


Paul Martin (Udo Kier, "Flesh for Frankenstein") is a successful Novelist. He's also having a few psychological problems.
Whilst having sex with his girlfriend Suzanne (Fiona Richmond, "Let's Get Laid"), who is making sounds like a jackal giving birth, a less than interested Paul starts to have a mental flip-out and hallucinates slamming typewriter keys and somebody's slit wrists!

Thinking that this is not a good thing, Paul lodges at a remote farm cottage and attempts to work on his next book in peace.
He hires a secretary/typist to help him out, and she arrives in the rather lovely form of Linda (Linda Hayden, "Blood on Satan's Claw").

But there is something not quite right about Linda, and as an increasingly disturbed Paul pulls pissed off faces and is rude to everyone, his plans for a bit of peace don't seem to be working out as he hoped.
Then the first deaths occur….


(In)famous for being the only British film to get itself stuck on the dreaded UK 'Video Nasties' list, "Expose" (or "The House on Straw Hill"as it was originally known) is actually an overblown soap opera drama enlivened by a few sex/nudity scenes and a spot of the old bloody violence.

A sadly dubbed Udo Kier gives a muted performance as the highly unlikeable Paul, who spends the entire film being rude to people, moaning, being arrogant and pulling faces that seem to suggest he was just a few seconds too late getting to the toilet.
His pleasant manner is perfectly shown in his very first words to Linda when he picks her up at the station;
"As a rule I don't like people about, I don't trust them". How's that for a warm greeting?

He does have a few good lines, but his best scene is actually after pulling some unexpected 'Novelist Kung Fu' on a couple of yobs who are hassling him and Linda.
Driving away he pulls a wonderfully wide-eyed expression and rants…"They were after me! Going for me"! If only this could have been delivered in his own distinctive tones!

And given the crap he dictates as part of his new novel it's safe to say he should give up the day job.
Best of all are his fevered erotic passages…
"Here in his arms was a sensitive being. Passionate and demanding!
Then Angus's tongue starts it's slow exploration…darting here, arousing… there.
Playing on Anna like a virtuoso with a Stratovarius, or… a Steinway. A great, wonderful catharsis of lust"!

Oh dear!

So it's left to the ladies to entertain us.
The delightful and sexy Linda Hayden looks great and given the non-role she has to play with she does as well as can be expected as the mysterious secretary.
She actually hates this film because it's not the film she thought it was going to be and was just plain sleazy, and is on record as saying as much very recently. But I have to say I fail to see her reasoning.
She openly masturbates (many times…careful Linda, you could go blind)) has a couple of lesbian encounters, strips to the waist and gets screwed in a cornfield while masturbating a shotgun!
Given all that, it does make you wonder what kind of film she THOUGHT she was making!

Fiona Richmond's grossly over the top, but passionless, moans of passion get very annoying very quickly.
And basically she is all big hair and ridiculous tan with nothing else worth noting except for her willingness to strip off her clothes (including some welcome full frontal shots) and pout a lot.

One of the yobs that Paul Karate chops is played by Karl Howman, who went on to make the very popular, prime-time TV comedy "Brush Strokes" (and can also be seen in the superb "Long Good Friday") and is now in a successful ad campaign for 'Flash' cleaning liquid!
But I'm sure he hopes that this obscure film (barely released in the UK before being banned and only getting a near invisible re-release, heavily cut, years later) stays obscure...as I'm sure the sight of his pale, white arse bouncing up and down in a field in a 'Video Nasty'' is not something he puts very high up on his CV when he goes for jobs. If it's on there at all!

Violence wise it's pretty tame except for (perhaps it's most infamous and oft censored scene) a naked stabbing that is a fine piece of sex 'n' violence melding in the best Exploitation fashion.

The sex is pretty tame, but the nudity, multiple positions (no one flips 'em over like Udo!) and a nicely staged lesbian breast kissing sequence add to the movie's entertainment value. And Paul feels the need to slap on a pair of latex gloves before feeling up Suzanne...though this may be a way to stop her tan staining his fingers! Who can tell.

But it's the awfully lifeless direction, equally lifeless and unpleasant characters and it's cheap look that really damage the film. There is just no energy here, nearly 10 minutes is spent on watching Linda slouching around the cottage and unpacking as the camera just fixes her in it's emotionless gaze.
Thank goodness for the lean running time. Anymore padding and close-ups of emotionless faces and you could well find yourself slipping into a deep sleep.
And all the blame has to thrown at the feet off Clarke, as he wrote the script as well as directing..

The movie also attempts to play like an English 'Giallo' (the mystery thrillers made in Italy like Dario Argento's "Deep Red") with only the hands of the killer being shown. But seeing as there are only 3 characters in the cottage, and given the way many of the scenes/events are set up…it can be only one person. And we all know it. We know it from the first killings in fact as nothing is hidden!
It's pointless, and as such comes across not as suspenseful just irritating.

So…Not much to speak highly of here except the sex, nudity, Linda Hayden (who is a pleasure to watch as always) and one murder sequence.
There was a good framework here to build a suspenseful, sleaze and violence packed little psycho thriller…but sadly it fails to build on this framework except for slapping a few nipples, pubic hairs and a bit of blood around the place.

Best way to sum it up is thus. Linda gets dirty, Fiona gets naked and Udo gets dubbed.