Thanks to the fine folks at the upcoming Philadelphia Film Festival/Cinefest 09 we’re going to be running a ton of early reviews from their Danger After Dark program, as well as some other of their genre films. For tickets and schedule information check out their official site.
Ozploitation! It’s not one of more well-known exploitation genres. Ignored for more arty Australian films like Picnic at Hanging Rock and shunned by their own country which seemed a bit embarrassed by them, they nevertheless made a ton of money overseas and influenced a generation of filmmakers.
Director Mark Hartley spent 10 years trying to create this documentary, gathering interviews and information on dozens of classic and no-so-classic films from the olden days of Ozploitation. You’ll immediately see that this guy understands what made those films so special, because this just ain’t any documentary- this is a fun, exhilarating time that’s just as entertaining as the films it’s based on.
There are three main trends the film takes us through. The first is the sex comedy, which comes with plenty of nudity and shows just how lax the Aussies are on flaunting it all. Good for them, and good for us! Not many of these are very well known today so this part is a real treat. Hope you’re not a prude, because you’ll see pretty much every naughty bit there is to see, inside and out.
Next up are the horror films, which are much more well known. This is when people starting realizing how much money they can make off cheapo horror flicks, and sell it anywhere. They focus on everything from the silly (The Howling III) to the surprisingly good (Razorback), and there are all sorts of fun stories about producing them. As a major horror buff it was great to be reminded of a few movies that I’d forgotten about, like Patrick (which director Hartley is actually remaking!)
The last genre is of course the action film, which amazingly enough is not just Mad Max-style car chase films! Sure, there’s lot of vehicular destruction but there’s also Aussie Kung Fu! Never knew this. But of course the focus here is mostly on the cars and the stuntmen who drive them, and this is perhaps the most awesome section of the film. There just isn’t anything like an old-fashioned car chase, and while there have been some great ones of late there just is nothing like watching thousands of pounds of metal flying crashing and flying through the air at high speeds. When it’s done real and dangerously there’s just nothing like it, and these psycho Aussies seem to have no fear of death.
The end of the film tries to suggest that there’s a renaissance of Aussie films going on, which started with Wolf Creek and continued with films like Undead. I personally don’t think they hold a candle to any of those older films but if anything can bring back this golden age of filmmaking, I’m all for it.
Not Quite Hollywood is very cleverly edited together, with slick animated sequences that keep things moving at a brisk pace and do a good job of making everything even more exciting. The greatest thing about the film is that it shines a light on lesser-known films like Patrick and Stone and Razorback that I’ve loved for years, as well as some more unknown gems like Long Weekend, which sounds fantastic and has leapt up onto my Netflix queue. You’ll almost want to bring a pad and pen into this screening with you because so many awesome films are referenced that you’ll want to see.
Indeed, while there are a ton of interviews with directors and producers and stars of the productions (along with Quentin Tarantino, who pops up periodically to jizz all over the place wildly), the film at its core is nothing more than a promo for dozens of films. Not that there’s anything wrong with that- there simply isn’t a way that any genre fan can sit through this and not at least come out with one recommendation they have to hunt down. It’s the perfect kind of film for people who enjoy trailer collections like Synapse’s incredible 42nd Street Forever series, because it shows all the best bits of the movies and really get you excited to see them.
But of course, there’s so much more here than that. You’ll hear all kinds of amazing stories, from the stuntmen that broke bones performing absolutely insane stunts, to the sleazy producers that got women to get naked, to stories of how a drunken Dennis Hopper was pronounced dead during the shooting of Mad Dog Morgan. Some of the behind the scenes stories are so fantastic that you’d wish they’d do an entire film on them. It comes and goes very fast, but it’s quite a ride.
It’s impossible to be a genre fan and not love this film! If you can make it to the screening on March 29th, go see it with a crowd- I can only imagine how great this would be with a theater packed with like-minded individuals. It’s out on dvd right now in Australia and hopefully will be released ASAP over here.
Make sure to check out the website and NSFW Trailer below-