Part 24 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster!
KISS – Exposed (VHS 1987, DVD 2002)
While Kiss took some time off as Gene continued to pursue his movie career, Exposed was released in lieu of a studio album. 1986 was the first year to ever come and go without new Kiss music. The band sought commercial success, and an outside producer as they worked hard to record hits. This video nicely documented their career to that point.
A lot of long term KISS fans absolutely hate Exposed. It is not without flaws, but considering when it came out and what it aimed to do, it is actually one of the best home videos from the era.
Exposed is an early example of a mockumentary, or, as they say in the opening, “A rousing docu-drama. It will be disgusting to some, titilating to others. But whether it disgusts you, or titilates you, it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” That right there tells you everything you need to know. Interspersed with the docu-drama bits are video clips, and live clips of the band during the makeup years.
The biggest flaw with Exposed is that it’s pretty sexist. It’s all meant to be in good fun I guess, but many will be offended by Gene using women as wall decorations. It was the 80’s; every band influenced by Kiss was doing the same thing, and Kiss responded by taking it to the limit. It is what it is, and if you’re likely to be offended, don’t watch. It’s still nothing compared to some rap videos I’ve seen.
The second biggest flaw is the lack of Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick participation. They each get two scenes: In Eric’s scene, he meets the interviewer and leaves without any audible lines. In Bruce’s scene, he chases a girl down the stairs and has the line, “Is this for the documentary? Edit her out!” In the final scene, Bruce and Eric are seen taking Paul’s monkey Sonny Crocket for a stroll. Everything else is the Gene and Paul Show.
The docu-drama takes place at “Paul’s mansion”, and this is where the jokes begin. It’s kind of an 80’s Monkees, with the band all living together in the same house. There’s a butler and women everywhere. Gene of course has a throne.
Paul and Gene are funny in Exposed. The interview segments are 50% “straight”, talking seriously about the early years of Kiss, and 50% comedy segments. I enjoyed the comedy. Gene in partiular is a very funny guy. In the “straight” segments there is a comraderie rarely seen between Gene and Paul, such as Paul razzing Gene about early song lyrics he had written. (“My mother is beauuuuutiful…,” Paul croons to an old Gene lyric.)
The music videos include some rarities such as the banned “Who Wants To Be Lonely” clip (more girls). Basically you get every music video from 1982 through to 1985., with a couple exceptions.
The live stuff proved to be just a taster for what Kiss had in their vaults. At the time, bands didn’t release a lot of archive concerts on home video, instead concentrating on documenting current tours. Now they do release such archival concerts on DVD, and since then Kiss have released more complete footage on Kissology I-III. The film quality, despite complaints from the fans, is pretty decent, especially the old 1974 clip of Deuce. Some fans claim their bootleg home videos look and sound better than the official KISS releases; I haven’t seen that.
The video ends with a brief audio clip of Paul answering the question, “What do we call this?” He responds, “Why don’t we call it Volume I?”
Volume II would come later in the form of Kiss’ X-treme Close Up, a more “serious” video, stripped of the girls and the jokiness. I find Exposed to be a much more entertaining video.
Check it out if you are a fan, particularly for 80’s Kiss. Avoid if you are not.
Incidentally, you can get Kiss Exposed as a third bonus disc in a deluxe edition of Kiss Gold. Seen below, the regular edition of Kiss Gold. We’ll be talking about that CD much later on.