Famed as the only British made of the original ‘video nasties’ of the 80s, Expose is still very hard to find in a full uncut form. The version I watched here was a copy of the original Intervision VHS release, the most uncut version that has ever been made available so far to my knowledge. The UK DVD release (as part of the Fiona Richmond collection, and the one given away with DVD world magazine a few years ago are both missing about 51 seconds).
Paul Martin (the wonderful Udo Kier) is a successful writer, who is about to start on his second book (“which is in line for a Pulitzer“!!). He is also very paranoid, and suffers hallucinations of violence and slit wrists, which really is a downer as these happen while he’s getting down to ‘business’ with his girl, Suzanne (Richmond). Part of his love making routine also involves wearing rubber gloves. VERY paranoid Mr. Martin!
He rents a cottage in the country and hires Linda (Linda Hayden) to assist him and do all the typing. He goes to pick her up from the train station in the quintessential British country, complete with Salvation Army playing and two roughians on peddle bikes. When Linda comes from the train, Paul thinks he has seen her before, which she denies, and he makes sure she is “quite used to a strict routine of course“
A little later, she gets unwanted attention from the two lads (Karl Howman ‘Jacko’ from Brush Strokes in a T-shirt that says ‘ I am a vampye’ and Vic Armstrong – who would later go on to be a prolific stuntman and assistant/second unit director – he apparently directed the opening scene from Terminator 2!!), but is saved by Paul who dispatches them with a swift kick to the balls.
As soon as they get back to the cottage they are to get to work on his book, but he lets her have a few minutes to unpack, where we see she has a photo of Paul in her bag, and one of an unknown man. This second man is obviously something special as she can’t resist a quick dirty rummage.
Bringing Paul coffee soon after, he barks “you’ve been a long time!” to which she quips back “in coming?” Zing!
During a break in the heavy writing schedule “this is my second book and the first time I’ve ever had to work to a deadline!” Linda goes for a walk in the straw fields which surround the cottage, where she can’t resist another rummage. Unluckily for her, the two youths from the station are having a walk in the field with a shotgun. We suddenly jump to ol’ Jacko’s bum jigging about on top of Linda (this jump isn’t from it being cut, it just goes that way). Foolishly, they allow her to get the gun, and blam!!
Meanwhile, Paul is rooting through Linda’s drawers – literally – and finds her ‘Saturday’ knickers. Linda returns, and doesn’t see fit to mention her abuse at the hands – and other parts – of the guys. The pair do a little more writing then Paul starts drinking heavily and is suddenly having his hallucinations again, and Linda has her third rummage of the film. This time Paul has a crafty listen at her door.
The dear old housekeeper of the cottage Mrs Aston (Patsy Smart – you might remember from the famous interrogation scene in Pink Panther Strikes Again “I said murder because you said murder!“) is murdered in the night, by an unseen assailant. Has Jacko come back from the field or is it worse?
Expose plays like Last House On The Left meets Straw Dogs, but without the rawness and impact of either. Some of the acting could be better (I’m looking at you Fiona Richmond, who looks like she uses the same tanning salon as David Dickinson) but it’s an enjoyable (or sorts) romp and quite violent, but it’s very debatable if the cut scenes are any worse than what we’ve seen in other films and especially recently, it’s certainly nothing compared to films like Haute Tension (2003) or any of the Saw films. I’m guessing it’s just the old BBFC no no of blood on breasts that keeps it from being released uncut.
A remake is due out very soon, directed by Martin Kemp (yep, the Spandau Ballet guy) called Stalker. It’s being screened at the Manchester Grimmfest in October so hopefully I’ll go and see that then and see how it measures up to this one.
As it is though, it’s an Udo Kier film, and that’s always a good thing even when it’s bad. It does seem as though they’ve dubbed his voice, as it doesn’t have that wonderful accent, but who ever did it, actually did a very good job for once (unless I’m wrong and Mr Kier reigned in the accent) Add in Linda Hayden, a stalwart of British 70s horror (naked as well) and it’s reputation as a nasty, and it’s a fun 80mins. It’s worth noting also, that it has played on UK terrestrial TV at least once (although I’ve no idea on what was cut, if anything. Someone please get a good uncut version released!!
7 out of 10.