Tuesday, March 2, 2010

DVD Review: Not Quite Hollywood


As an unabashed fan of exploitation cinema I have to say I feel pretty ashamed to admit that I had no idea there was an Australian subgenre out there that is like my favorite subgenre Italian horror. The documentary Not Quite Hollywood paints an interesting portrait of "ozploitation", and for fans of this particularly polarizing subgenre this documentary is a treat: a plethora of rental ideas of forgotten (or maybe never discovered) grindhouse cinema from down under. Quentin Tarantino is interviewed the most throughout the doc and his (usual) unbridled enthusiasm is infectious as he talks about how certain film like Patrick crossed over into pop culture (the Italians ripped it off, of course, and made one of their unofficial sequels to the film) and also influenced his films like Kill Bill. Various filmmakers from the Australian New Wave movement are interviewed (most prominently is Brian Trenchard-Smith of The Man from Hong Kong and Dead-End Drive-In "fame") and discuss the ways they made films that people wanted to see, influenced their respective genres with new, innovative ways to film the scenes, and began to affect a whole Australian subculture and industry where the only kinds of films being made were art films like Picnic at Hanging Rock. I found the history of Australian filmmaking to be fascinating, not to mention the various clips from from films that look surprisingly good (and innovative) for the budgets they had. Of course this should surprise no one if you're a fan of exploitation cinema as these types of films were sometimes the breeding ground for young filmmakers with ideas. 

One of the best moments of the doc comes when Quentin Tarantino is describing a scene from one of the films discussed when he says something to the extent of: (paraphrased) "the best thing about exploitation cinema is that initial reaction as your watching something and you're thinking, 'is this really happening…wait…it is…oh my God! How did they do that? What were they thinking? Why would the actors agree to that?' That uncertainty is what makes exploitation cinema so great." Because it's a pretty good bet that the clips from the movies profiled in this doc are the best parts of those movies (for as "fun" as these types of movies are...they're really boring if you aren't watching them with friends) this is a must see doc for fans of exploitation cinema. 

A question for exploitation fans after the jump...



Does anyone have reviews of the following films? I would love to read more about the following movies:




Razorback

Patrick

Long Weekend

Thirst

The Survivor

Harlequin



Roadgame

The Howling III

Next of Kin

Mad Dog Morgan (in the documentary they show a lot of on-set footage from this film…it's worth the price
of rental, or ownership, for those moments of Dennis Hopper all coked-out) 



The Man from Hong Kong (another film that is discussed at length…there are some great stories to this one, too)

Turkey Shoot

Nightmares

Stone

Stunt Rock (my brother and I have watched parts of this one...) 
Wolf Creek (or any other modern Australian horror films)


Leave the links to your reviews in the comments section. Thanks.

18 comments

  1. Kevin,
    I've seen
    Stone (very recommended, esp. if you're a fan of biker movies)

    Razorback (didn't really like it; not enough gore and not enough monster--but I saw this as a pan&scan VHS, so....)

    Mad Dog Morgan (good in small doses: the film is shockingly repetitive--he kills somebody, the cops chase, he hides, he gets caught, he escapes, he kills someone, the cops chase, etc.)

    Road Games (the first hour is GREAT, but then you can see when the budget was cut)

    Hope this is helpful/keep up the good work!
    --Ivan

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  2. Thanks, Ivan! I'm looking forward to watching these and reviewing some of them on the blog.

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  3. Loved NQH. The only one I've actually seen is Road Games. Which is pretty good if not quite as great as they make it out to be.

    If you guys really want the skinny on these films get over to Outlaw Vern's site

    http://outlawvern.com/

    He's written up a bunch of these. Plus I consider him pound for pound one of my favorite film writers anyway.

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  4. Kevin:

    you write:

    "Wolf Creek (or any other modern Australian horror films)"

    I didn't review this one but I did review McLean's follow-up ROGUE which I think is even better:

    http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2008/08/dvd-of-week-rogue.html

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  5. Haven't seen Wolf Creek, but really enjoyed Rogue!

    BTW, I found out that Turkey Shoot is available as Escape 2000 on Netflix--I'm lining up now!

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  6. Road Games actually has an interesting part where a car alarm is going off for about 5 minutes of screen time, and it's part of the suspense.

    Pretty good, comes close to Hitchcockian.

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  7. Just watched the doc, which was very well done for this type of thing. I'm worried that, like when we watch one of those trailer compilations, we just saw all the best parts of these films. Oh well, I know you and I will end up watching them all anyways.

    One note on Quentin Tarantino -- as much as I like his movies, am I the only person who gets awfully annoyed at him in things like this? I guess it's refreshing of his love for this stuff...but he comes off no different than those SAW asshats.

    Oh, and Bryan Trenchard-Smith -- OMEGA CODE 2.

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  8. Thanks for the comments and the links everyone! Good to see so many fans of this great and fun doc.

    J.D. - I'll check out your post tomorrow. Thanks for offering up the link.

    Bryce - I'll make sure to check that link out, too.

    Ivan - I saw that on Netflix. I was confused at first but I figured it out. I've added it to my queue.

    Troy - I got that feeling too while watching that a lot of it seemed like the best parts of the movie. Oh well...if we get too bored we can just watch the trailers.

    Anon - I've added Roadgames to my queue. It looked interesting enough to give a shot.

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  9. Howling III is one of the worst movies ever made in history. Its right up there as far as Im concerned with Troll II. Its the kind of movie where you blush while you watch it cause its so freaking bad! You have to see it to believe it.

    Patrick was a cool movie about this paraplegic dude who has telekenetic powers. He falls in love with his nurse and tries his best to get her to like him. He obsesses at one point till the point of getting a bit psycho. Recommend it. I had some fun with it.

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  10. Actually, I found Howling III a heck of a lot of fun. It's bad, don't get me wrong, but they know it's bad (unlike Troll 2 where they were actually trying to make something "good"). The werewolf movie within the movie is hysterical, the ballerina who turns into a werewolf while she's spinning and then chomps her co-star is downright silly and the baby werewolf is, well, no more need to be said there. I loved their take on the President of United States as well...

    "Stunt Rock" on the other hand...Oh my goodness that's terrible. Granted, I saw a Pan and Scan copy, so that's not fair, but there really wasn't anything redeeming about it. The stunts might be impressive in that they did them, but they didn't bring any excitement to the screen. And the rock band/magic act was simply lame. The story? There is none.

    I like "Road Games", but like the previous commenter, I found it simply good, but not great.

    Managed to see "BMX Bandits" as well. It's bland made-for-TV type material, but the chase scenes are opretty decent. There's an extended chase where the bikes go through department stores and down water slides - not overly exciting but OK. And a young Nicole Kidman with really bad hair.

    I've been planning a post of some of these "Films From Not Quite Hollywood", but still have a couple at home unseen ("Dead-End Drive-In" and "The Return Of Captain Invincible"). I should try to get those watched this weekend...

    "Wolf Creek" is solid and builds its tension very well.

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  11. TFC:

    I added The Howling III because it looked so joyously awful. I've heard a lot of comparisons to Troll II...which only makes me want to watch it even more than I already want to. I've got Patrick in the queue too. Thanks for the comment!

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  12. Bob:

    Thanks for stopping by and for the great comment. I'm looking forward to watching The Howling III! I've seen Stunt Rock...the only reason my brother and I watched it was because of the "cover box" rule...that's where you're perusing the aisles of the local video store and you rent something based on whether it has a.) cool cover art and b.) whether it has a giant cover box. Stunt Rock had both! But it did suck. I love how in the doc they talk about how the band Sorcerer was just a last minute hire in order to get the "rock" portion in the film. That band looked amazing, though! Hehe.

    I'm looking forward to Road Games even if it is as uneven as people are claiming it is. Oh, and I've seen BMX Bandits...meh.

    I'll give Wolf Creek a chance since you're about the third or fourth credible source claiming it builds tension well.

    Thanks again for the comment. I'll eagerly await your posts -- should you do them -- on the Ozploitation films. Thanks again, Bob.

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  13. Kevin:

    I've reviewed Thirst on This Island Rod:

    http://thisislandrod.blogspot.com/2010/01/thirst-1979.html

    and Wolf Creek a long time ago on Ferdy on Films:

    http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/?p=66

    and I've made some brief comments on several of these films on my recent piece on Australian cinema for Greencine:

    https://www.greencine.com/central/australianfilm2?page=0,0

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  14. Thanks for the links, Rod. I read your review of Thirst (a film I just added the Netflix queue) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm going to get to the other links later tonight. Thanks for stopping by and supplying those links.

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  15. Rod -- all three of those reviews were great. Your WOLF CREEK one pretty much flows with what I had guessed about and convinces me to not waste my time on it.

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  16. Glad these were interesting for you, Kev, Troy. As far as Wolf Creek goes, I doubt I'd write my review of it like that these days - it was about the third piece I'd ever done for FoF and we were still laying out our priorities. Some critics admired Wolf Creek's desolate nihilism and whilst I don't think that compensates for the silly script, it did mark McLean as a talent to watch. His second film, his Razorback so to speak, Rogue, was pretty good, but like the earlier film he couldn't pull off an ending.

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  17. I'm Kreativ! you're Kreativ too!http://www.filmsquish.com/guts/?q=node/4311

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  18. There are very less documentary films that I liked very much. I think this is one of the film that I liked it lot. This is one of my favorite documentary film.

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