The age old question "is it porn, or is it art?" could be asked of Expose (a film in which nothing is the subject of an expose, except, possibly, Fiona Richmond's fanny). It's not porn (well, not quite - especially if you're watching the butchered British version), but it is horrendously violent.
Hence this film being the only home grown entry into the reprehensible DPP "video nasties" list in the mid 80s, and also (in the copy I've got at least) absolutely hacked to pieces by the censor. Unlike Lifeforce or Hellbound, which also suffered major slicing and dicings by the BBFC, Expose's plot doesn't suffer too much - mainly because there isn't a plot to speak of. Woman gets job, woman takes clothes off. Woman does some typing, has a wank, takes clothes off, shags other woman, gets raped, kills people, explains why. Possibility of more nudity and onanism cut short by Jacko from Brushstrokes and a knife. That's about it. Oh, there's some nice shots of the Norfolk countryside chucked in for good measure - probably so they could subtitle it "The House On Straw Hill" and connect it in some spurious way to the also-banned (but not technically a video nasty) Straw Dogs.
The only thing the cutting succeeds in doing is destroying any tension or possible horror in the film, turning it from a blood soaked Jacobean-style revenge tragedy into a succession of humping scenes punctuated by an occasional non-violent stabbing, slashing, or shooting. Perhaps the worse thing the censor's scissors manage to do is make the rape scene (about the only part of the film that furthers the plot) an almost matter-of-fact occurrence. And that can't be right.
But there's also much to enjoy, because Expose is just so baaad - and what makes it even better, is that it has such high pretensions. Udo Kier is an author of sex books, but he's having problems (sample of his latest work: "To harass, to worry to harass, to worry " no wonder he chucks it in the bin), so he decides to employ a secretary to do his typing for him. He's already thrown out his lover (Fiona Richmond) because she's putting him off with her bizarre over-tanned body, fenzied mugging during their gymnastic sex sessions and inability to close the window shutters properly (they keep banging in the wind during the aforementioned activities). As well as window ornaments, Udo's also got a few slates loose - before he can bring himself to shag Richmond, he dons a pair of rubber gloves (considering her - ahem - acting CV, a full protective body suit and welders mask might be preferable) and he keeps seeing images of slashed wrists and bloody death during coitus.
After picking his new secretary (slightly podgy nymphet sex kitten Linda Hayden) up from the railway station and remarking how familiar she looks, he kicks the shit out of two likely lads (on pushbikes!?) who come on a bit strong with her (one of them bath cleaning shirker Karl "Jacko" Howman in a fetching "I'm A Vampyre" t-shirt)
Back at the cottage, Udo starts his dictation, point. And he's crap, point new paragraph.
Linda goes upstairs to quote unpack unquote semi colon, and cops a quick feel of herself before returning with the coffees, point new paragraph end of quote comedy unquote dictation.
"You've been a long time " says Udo. "In coming?" she replies, biting suggestively into a digestive (and probably getting crumbs all down her bra).
Udo starts his dictation again (and please remember, this stuff could win the Pulitzer Prize, apparently): "Then Angus' tongue started its slow exploration - darting here, arousing there playing on Anna like a virtuoso Anna's legs slowly at each caress urgently moving, demanding she was wet with anticipation. Done."
Wet with anticipation herself after this barrage of crap, Linda goes for a walk in the cornfield and takes matters in hand again. Unfortunately, the two likely lads have spotted her. Oh oh. As they rape her we get a quick glimpse of her nonplussed face before she grabs the shotgun she's just been stroking and blows them both away.
Back home she carries on her eyesight damaging hitchhiker activities and Udo continues having bad dreams, which are by now making it abundantly clear that he didn't write his last book. The housekeeper gets her neck slashed (sending blood everywhere), and there's more stultifying dialogue between Udo and Linda.
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Do you like girls?"
Then he sticks his hand down her top, the charmer.
Having had his subtle advances spurned by the suddenly coy Linda, Udo brings Richmond back for a spot of fellatio and gurning. Luckily for all of us, he keeps his kecks on for a spot of doggy-style sex, too. After a bit of sweaty girl-on-girl action whilst Udo finds the brakes on his Morris Minor have failed and crashes into a nearby river, Richmond finds the body of the cleaner, discovers that the phone line is dead, and decides to take a bath (your guess is as good as mine ) where she promptly gets killed.
Hayden starts displaying some dodgy secretarial skills (she can't spell to save her life, although she can spell "fraud") and it's not long before the "plot" (such as it is) is explained in a welter of violence and sweaty running about.
Expose is a bizarre film. The acting is terrible, the pretensions to artiness are unintentionally hilarious, even the sex scenes are rubbish (and Richmond's body just looks odd). The deaths are brutal, but stupid. However, its reputation as a video nasty will ensure its continuing notoriety, and who knows? Perhaps one day we'll get to see it in all its uncut glory, and it'll be revealed as a misunderstood masterpiece. But I doubt it.
Last updated: February 22, 2010
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