An exploitation film that never actually existed is at the heart of our exhibition by Jamie Shovlin. Hiker Meat and its fictitious Italian director Jesus Rinzoli have been imagined by Shovlin to represent an archetypal exploitation film – a type of filmmaking characterised by its low budget aesthetic and exploitation of sensational subject matter, which boomed from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.
Set in an American summer camp in the 1970s, Hiker Meat includes a full complement of slasher film standards, from a hitchhiking heroine with a troubled past to a charismatic commune leader and a group of teens who disappear one by one.
Shovlin collaborated with writer Mike Harte and composer Euan Rodger to produce a full screenplay and soundtrack for the film. He then made a prototype cut-and-paste feature by collaging over 1500 found clips from existing exploitation films.
With the knowledge that he couldn’t possibly re-make a film like Hiker Meat – and didn’t actually want to – Shovlin instead shot a trailer, and re-created key sequences from the beginning and end sections of the film. The intensive shoot involved two alternate casts (one for live action, the other for dubbed sequences), a fleet of vintage American vehicles and an authentic, puppeteer- controlled B-movie monster.
The exhibition captures the genesis of the Hiker Meat project, revealing the wealth of background thinking and the collaborative nature of its delivery. Bringing together props, costumes, photography, maquettes and residue of the special effects employed, the exhibition will unpick and decode the project floor by floor.
At the centre point of the exhibition is an immersive audio visual installation that references Hiker Meat and Rough Cut, a feature-length film directed by Shovlin. Shot during the filming of Hiker Meat, Rough Cut strips back the wider Hiker Meat project, from the inception of the idea to Shovlin’s attempt to re-make a film that never existed.
Rough Cut, which features in the 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam, screens in our cinemas on select dates during the exhibition. It is a co-commission between Cornerhouse Artist Film and TIFF: Toronto International Film Festival.