While the Golden Age-style second feature was dying, B movie was still used to refer to any low-budget genre film featuring relatively unheralded performers sometimes referred to as B actors. In William Paul's description, "it is the film that really established gross-out as a mode of expression for mainstream cinema So they provide a good starting place for ambitious would-be filmmakers who can't get more conventional projects off the ground. The distribution strategy was a major success, despite what was widely perceived as the movie's poor quality. Crafted for constant titillation but containing no nudity, it was aimed at the same "passion pit" drive-in circuit that screened AIP teen movies with wink-wink titles like Beach Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini , starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. The age of the hour-long feature film was past; 70 minutes was now roughly the minimum. Blaxploitation was the first exploitation genre to picked up by the major studios in a substantial way. On behalf of its genre, Universal 's American Graffiti did something similar. The little studio had its own house auteur:
Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow The Meyer and Corman lines were drawing closer. The days of six quickies for a nickel were gone, but a continuity of spirit was evident. Jean Hersholt played Dr. The double feature, never universal, was still the prevailing exhibition model: Restrictions were also placed on the majors' ability to enforce blind bidding. And despite its high status in studio terms, it was not sent out into the world on its own, but screened in tandem with a crime melodrama asking the eternal question Why Must I Die? David Cook credits AIP with leading the way "in demographic exploitation , target marketing , and saturation booking, all of which would become standard procedure for the majors in planning and releasing their mass-market 'event' films" by the late s. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Grier has the distinction of starring in the first widely distributed movie to climax with a castration scene. The crime-based plot and often seedy settings would have suited a straightforward exploitation film or an old-school B noir. Raw Deal , writes scholar Robert Smith, is "resplendent with velvety blacks, mists, netting, and other expressive accessories of poetic noir decor and lighting. The project was first taken by one of its cocreators, Peter Fonda , to American International. One of the most influential films of the era, on Bs and beyond, was Paramount's Psycho. So they provide a good starting place for ambitious would-be filmmakers who can't get more conventional projects off the ground. Produced by B horror veteran William Castle, Rosemary's Baby was the first upscale Hollywood picture in the genre in three decades. In , Corman had a producorial hand in five movies averaging The major studios' top product was continuing to inflate in running time—in , the ten biggest earners averaged Imports of Hammer Film's increasingly explicit horror movies and Italian gialli , highly stylized pictures mixing sexploitation and ultraviolence, would fuel this trend. At the same time, many local television stations began showing B genre films in late-night slots, popularizing the notion of the midnight movie. The Exorcist made cruelty respectable. Cohen's The Private Files of J. Even as Rocky Horror generated its own subcultural phenomenon, it contributed to the mainstreaming of the theatrical midnight movie. Despite Psycho's impact and the growing popularity of horror, major Hollywood studios largely continued to disdain the genre, at least for their own production lines. In the early s, exploitation movies in the original sense continued to appear:
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