Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008)A bit of a cop out. I intended for this to be a refresher before watching one of the movies for real, but I ran out of time so this is my Ozploitation movie for today.A great doco that highlights many forgotten gems. As an Aussie I'm embarrassed to say how few (if any, really) of these exploitation movies Ive actually seen. Growing up, Aussie B movies were always the ones you tried to avoid while aiming for the American fare. By the time I got to an age to enjoy them they were long gone. Maybe Ill focus on some of them for scary movie month. I'd enjoy being proud of our exploitation output, and this doco makes it seem like something to be proud of.
God, I enjoyed the hell out of that documentary. Especially the part when my wife walked by, stopped and looked at the screen, and gave me a very odd look.
Dead End Drive-In (1986)Now this is different - a post-apocalyptic punk fantasy that turns into a satire of societal control. It's like someone dropped acid while listening to John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" and decided to write a screenplay. The misfits who occupy the titular drive-in think they're so "clever and classless and free," without realizing they're actually in a prison of the government's making. Thanks to a steady diet of drugs, alcohol, and apathy, they accept their fate all-to-easily (even to the point where they get upset that "foreigners" are coming into their slum). I'm probably making this sound way too heavy, but it's really a lot of fun. The visual aesthetic seems to have been "spray-paint everything - including the dog." The final stunt of the film is awesome on a metaphorical as well as a storytelling level. This movie just might be brilliant.
Wolf Creek (2005)Better than I expected, but I don't think I ever need to see it again. Three young backpackers get stranded in the Australian outback and are taken captive and while you can fill in most of the rest, there are a few genuine surprises along the way. I liked the setup quite a bit, there's a solid hour of this 90ish-minute movie with no onscreen violence and then the last half four is pretty relentless. The way it actually takes its time is refreshing, but that last half hour is very very ugly. I think it's ultimately worth a look, but your mileage, as they say, may vary.
The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)Peter Weir's directorial debut and wow its a weird one. In Paris, Australia a small town makes it money by wrecking tourists cars that roll into town and stealing the valuables inside. Oh and killing the tourists inside. Paris is one sad little town, even the local town gala is just freaky as hell. Unfortunately for about 80 percent of the movie its just SLOW. Then the cars show up, Hooray.These babies are tricked out with jaws faces on them, flames galore, and one car that can best be described as Herbie the Hedgehog of Death! The last 15 minutes is just bonkers and almost made it worth watching, at the end of the day though so-so film with great vehicular homicidalploitation!
BLACK WATER (2007) on Amazon Prime for the first time.KILLERCROCSPLOITATION! I came for the expected "Jaws"-meets-"Open Water" low-budget Aussie carnage (which I got). I stayed for the excellent acting (particularly Diana Glenn & Maeve Dermody as sisters) and tense-filled moments before and after the mayhem, both of which are the parts these ripoffs usually neglect the most. The taunting, stalker-like behavior of the croc would be unbelievable if the flick wasn't based on an actual event in which a real one behaved similarly. A short sequence set at night that's illuminated only by lightning occasionally breaking the pitch darkness is both beautiful and scary as hell. I've seen episodes of "Swamp People" that are more exploitative than "Black Water," but as a modern-day Ozploitation sample this was a pleasant surprise.
ROGUE (2009)A palet cleanser compare to "Wolf Creek", Greg McLean's KilerCrocsploitation follow-up is much lighter but still solidly horror. Most of the cast are solid, with bland lead Michael Vartan the weakest as the American surrogate. Also stars Radha Mitchell(who I always confuse with Amber Valletta), a pre-Avatar Sam Worthington, and a pre-Alice in Wonderland Mia Wasikowska. While it doesn't live up to it's 100% rating(Really!) on Rotten Tomatoes, it's still pretty good. And the croc doesn't suck!
The Road Warrior (1981)Probably the closest I've come to an actual exploitation movie this entire month. I really dug it. I kept scratching my head wondering exactly how many stuntman sacrificed their femurs for this movie's crazy action scenes. But I was also much more sucked into the story this time (watching the original Mad Max years ago did not impress me). The opening narration has convinced me I need to ride my bicycle more often to postpone the Wasteland. The crashes are awesome, the leather is distracting, and who could forget dear Dog Boy? Do I dare go Beyond Thunderdome for Post-Apocalypse day?
Fortress (1986)I saw this on HBO ONE TIME when I was just a little dingo, and it has literally haunted my dreams since then. I've been wanting to revisit it for a while in an attempt to conquer old fears, and I used this opportunity. When I started it, I wasn't sure it was exploitation, but by the end, I am sure that it is. An Australian teacher and her students are kidnapped and taken into the wilderness by three blokes wearing the masks of a duck, a cat, and Father Christmas. I'm not sure who this movie is for. It mainly features children; but by the end, we've seen shootings, stabbings, and a severed head. It's intense, and it's still scary to me. As my wife said while the credits rolled: only Australians could have made this.
^^^ I also saw this on HBO when I was young. I had no idea it was Australian, that suddenly makes a lot of things (particularly the last shot of the movie) considerably more clear.
Turkey Shoot (aka Escape 2000) (1982)Sci-fi/action/horror movie from the great Brian Trenchard-Smith finds Steve Railsback and Olivia Hussey as part of a futuristic rehabilitation camp where they are hunted for sport. Alternately slow and crazy, with the crazy parts winning out. The movie lost 10 minutes of violence to get an R rating, so make sure you track down the unrated cut on DVD. The violence is nuts, and the movie is a lot of fun overall. More movies should be this eccentric.
Based on the Ozploitation doco Turkey Shoot was the one that stood out as the must see. Glad to hear its as "good" as it looked.
I tracked it down as soon as I saw Not Quite Hollywood a couple years ago. So I know the feeling.That doc is so great. It's impossible to watch it and not want to every movie it includes.
And the director of the doco is currently in the process of remaking Patrick, which was the movie about the catatonic telepath psycho that they rave about a lot. He mentioned it as an idea, at q&a that is in YouTube, that a remake would work today. Putting money where his mouth is.
Mr. Accident (2000)Yahoo Serious' last movie, and it's that for a reason. It's not that the movie is bad exactly, it's just not very good. There are too many threads, too many ideas, too little actual development, too little time. Some scenes work, some ideas are worked on, but as a movie it never comes together. Good enough to watch if it's on, not good enough to seek out.
DEAD-END DRIVE END. I didn’t understand anything that happened in this movie. Everybody lives at the drive-in, but it’s really a prison, but they don’t know it’s a prison, but they do know, but they don’t know? What? Huh? It’s certainly offbeat and creative, I’ll give it that. Anybody who liked this movie should check out THE DRIVE-IN novels by Joe R. Landsdale, which deal with a lot of the same themes. (Nacogdoches-sploitation!)
Turkey Shoot (1981)There was a blurb at the beginning of the DVD that I was in fact watching "Turkey Shoot" and not "Escape 2000" because I was watching the unedited Australian release. Hence '81 not '82.Anyway, I love movies about dystopian futures with totalitarian governments, and this movie did not disappoint. Some of the scenes in the rehabilitation camp were pretty tough for me to watch, but it made the violence against the oppressors much more satisfying. The unedited DVD can be gotten from disc from Netflix, if anybody else is interested and actually gets the discs.
Dead-End Drive In (1986)Wow, this certainly covers a few Junesploitation "topics": Cars! Sci-fi! Prison! And Oz! of course, though it certainly has an American 80s movie feel. Except for the racism against Asians. That hasn't really been en vogue in the US since the Yellow Peril of the late 1800s.Pretty good movie actually with some social commentary that is still relevant today. Keep people fat, doped-up and entertained and they won't even realize they've become prisoners. Welcome to Dick Cheney's America!
^^^ Or Pixar's "WALL-E." :-)