Aesthetics Wiki

Grindhouse is an aesthetic originating in the 1970s involving the poor living conditions of ghettoes, cheap, low-budget genre films, and decaying urban sprawl. The name is derived from lower-class cinemas, or Grindhouses, which would produce and screen films which today escape the public eye. The term was made popular by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez with their 2007 collaborative double feature, Grindhouse, which attempts to capture the essence of sitting in a Grindhouse movie theater, complete with previews and interludes.


Unlike Rollerwave, which captures the clean, "everyday" side of 1970s life, Grindhouse captures the filth and debris of the city. One notable example is Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), which sets itself apart from cleaner, more bubbly films of the age such as Car Wash (1976) with provocative commentary on the social climate of the time and a handheld, realistic approach. Grindhouse is characterized visually by grainy footage, blurry motion, and an attention to detail.


While many grindhouse films separate themselves from their mainstream counterparts in their unflinching and unwavering dedication to accuracy and lewd, often borderline disturbing content, most are not pornographic in nature, featuring a few scenes of mild nudity at most, a focus on complex, well-developed characters, and a lack of shots focusing on the genitalia.

Noted directors in the genre include the aforementioned Marvin Van Peebles, Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, and John Waters. Some might also consider earlier filmmakers, such as Luis Bunuel or Kenneth Anger. This is far from a complete list, as many grindhouse directors are unknown, or went anonymous. Grindhouse includes the subgenres Splatter and Blaxploitation, as well as a few others.

Another important player is Pam Grier, often called the queen of grindhouse, who starred in several notable films, such as Coffy (1973), Foxy Brown (1974), Friday Foster (1975), and later the Quentin Tarantino film, Jackie Brown (1997).

  • Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
  • Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
  • Pink Flamingos (1972)
  • Blacula (1972)
  • Last House on the Left (1972)
  • Lucifer Rising (1972/1980)
  • Coffy (1973)
  • Cleopatra Jones (1973)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Switchblade Sisters (1975)
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
  • Maniac (1980)
  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
  • Cannibal Ferox (1981)
  • Ms .45 (1981)
  • The Beyond (1981)
  • Pieces (1982)
  • Hobo With A Shotgun (2011)

Other Media[]

TV Shows[]

  • Blood Drive (2017)

Video Games[]

  • Alan Wake's American Nightmare (2012)
  • Army of the Damned (2011)
  • Lollipop Chainsaw (2012)
  • MadWorld (2009)
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (2010)
  • Postal III (2011)
  • The Grinder (Cancelled)
  • The House of the Dead: Overkill (2009)
  • Twisted Metal (2012)
  • Wet (2009)
  • Wet 2: Double Feature (Cancelled)