Not Quite Hollywood

Director: Mark Hartley
Written by: Mark Hartley
Features: Dan Burstall, Bob Ellis, Dennis Hopper, Russell Mulcahy

Year / Country: 2008, Australia / USA
Running Time: 99 mins.

The title Not Quite Hollywood is not a misnomer. The exploitation pictures that have been coming out of Australia since the early seventies are characterized by sleazy sex and cheap violence. This delicious story of OZploitation explores the realms of Australian B-cinema through interviews with key players from the industry as well as fans and critics like Quentin Tarantino.

Not Quite Hollywood is basically told in three segments; sex, horror and car movies. The first genre took off in the seventies when new freedoms were won and the strong censorship was cut down. Besides sex, sex, sex, this segment also treats some of the more commercial Australian export successes such as Stork and the Barry McKenzie movies, prime examples of bad taste. The films that came out in this time are placed in a cultural context. As one of the interviewees describes it: The movies were not about who Australians really were, but how they wanted the outside world to think they were.

The second part focuses mostly on horror films. Apart from absolute rubbish, some very competent horror films were made in Ozzy. The slasher Patrick was such a huge success that the Italians even made an unauthorized sequel called Patrick Vive Ancora. The final chapter is all about car movies such as the famous Mad Max, a genre the Australians do very well.

This film is the perfect pick for a beer night with your mates. The upbeat and often hilarious documentary not only entertains, but also provides many ideas for fun exploitation flicks to (re-)watch later on. If the whole Ozzy slang is unknown to you, subtitles are recommended.

Rating:

Biography: Mark Hartley has made Australian B-cinema his specialty. After directing several documentaries / making-offs on classic Australian cult movies, he made the ultimate documentary about OZploitation called Not Quite Hollywood. He is also Australia’s busiest music video maker, directing over 150 promos for local and international artists including Powderfinger, The Living End, Sophie Monk, The Cruel Sea and Joe Cocker.

Filmography (a selection): A Date with Destiny (1990, short) / Which Way Did They Go, Skip (2003, short doc) / Turkey Shoot: Blood and Thunder Memories (2003, short doc) / Meet the Team: The Making of ‘The Club’ (2003, short doc) / ‘Fantasm’ Penetrated (2004, short doc) / Puttin’ on the Show: The Making of ‘Starstruck’ (2004, short doc) / A Dream Within a Dream: The Making of ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ (2004, doc) / Crashing the Party: The Making of ‘Don’s Party’ (2005, doc) / Thrills and Nuclear Spills: The Making of ‘The Chain Reaction’ (2005, short doc) / Jaws on Trotters: The Making of ‘Razorback’ (2005, doc) / The Adventures of Bazza in Chunderland: The Making of ‘The Adventures of Barry McKenzie’ (2007, doc) / Not Quite Hollywood (2008, doc).

Cult Radar: Part 9

FilmDungeon is glad to explore the video trenches to find that oddball treasure between the piles of crap out there. Of Course, a treasure in this context can also be a film that’s so shockingly bad it’s worth a look, or something so bizarre that cult fans just have to see it. Join us on our quest and learn what we learn. Hopefully we’ll uncover some well-hidden cult gems.

Researched by: Jeppe Kleijngeld

Tormented (UK, 2009)

Directed by: Jon Wright
Written by: Stephen Prentice
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson, Dimitri Leonidas

Fat schoolboy Darren got bullied to the point where he committed suicide. Tormented opens at his funeral. Not only do Darren’s tormentors don’t have any regrets whatsoever, they even throw a party to celebrate his demise. That’s just too much… Soon after, each member of the group of bullies starts receiving text messages from the dead Darren. They first think that someone is playing a prank on them, but as soon as the first body drops, they know they’re totally screwed. Tormented is a very effective horror flick that is both funny and inventively satisfying. Whether you thought high school was fun or not, this will keep you entertained for an hour and a half easily. Reviewer Kim Newman, who runs a Dungeon over at Empire Magazine gave it four stars also. It’s a recommendation.

Nude Nuns with Big Guns (USA, 2010)

Directed by: Joseph Guzman
Written by: Joseph Guzman, Robert James Hayes II
Cast: Asun Ortega, David Castro, Perry D’Marco

Violence, drugs, guns, boobs and off course lesbian sex. Nude Nuns With Big Guns is an immoral cocktail delivered by Freak Show Entertainment, the team behind the similar Run Bitch Run!. An abused nun has a vision from God. She is told to slay all sinners that are somehow connected to an elaborate heroin network, led by a money hungry padre who uses naked nuns as personnel. Sister Sarah is not supposed to show any mercy and she doesn’t! Is this entertaining? It kind of is in the sense that it is well shot and cut. Your eventual appreciation of Nude Nuns With Big Guns will depend mostly on your tolerance for graphic sex and violence featuring nuns. If this is low, you can easily deduct a star from this rating.

Hobo with a Shotgun (Canada, 2011)

Directed by: Jason Eisener
Written by: John Davies, Jason Eisener, Rob Cotterill
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Molly Dunsworth, Gregory Smith, Brian Downey

The awesome film poster promises an exploitation film pur sang and delivers. Hobo With a Shotgun was originally a fake trailer that won a Grindhouse competition organized by Robert Rodriguez. The story is about a homeless guy (Rutger Hauer) that takes on psychopathic scum in a city riddled with crime and depravity. Since it was made on a modest budget and has no Hollywood stars in its cast, it is more convincing than Tarantino’s and Rodriquez’ own Grindhouse pictures Death Proof and Planet Terror. The cheap violence gives you the real sense of watching a cult flick from the seventies. However, the sadistic violence is so excessive and beastly that it is hard to care about the characters at all, even the protagonists. The build-up is also not entirely effective; Hauer changes into a bloodthirsty vigilante in minutes, taking away some of the pleasure when he settles the score. Still, the underlying message about the human condition is well delivered and the exploitation feel is sublime; you can almost hear the exciting screams in the grindhouse theater. This hobo is certainly worth spending some loose change on.

Orcs! (USA, 2011)

Directed by: Andrew Black, James MacPherson
Written by: Anne K. Black, Jason Faller, Kynan Griffin and Justin Partridge
Cast: Adam Johnson, Renny Grames, Maclain Nelson

‘It’s an orc! No, it’s not. There is no such thing.’ A movie in which orcs show up in modern times sounds pretty horrendous. While certainly no masterpiece, Orcs! manages to entertain during its first half, which is basically a comedy about two idiot park rangers. Some jokes and The Lord of the Rings references are pretty funny. The second half is one long and tiresome battle against the orcs. This is the boring part. The costumes and special effects are laughable. All in all, don’t watch Orcs!. Just don’t!

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (USA, 1988)

Directed by: Stephen Chiodo
Written by: Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, Stephen Chiodo
Cast: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson

From the special effects team behind Critters and Team America: World Police comes an original eighties classic. On a Friday night in Cove Crescent, a couple of youngsters witness a shooting star land nearby. At the place of impact, a circus tent appears, but what’s inside aint no funhouse… The acting in Killer Klowns From Outer Space may not be world class, but the production design is very well done and reason enough to check this out. It certainly beats cotton candy.

En de award voor coolste filmposter ever gaat naar…

‘Hobo with a Shotgun’

Zoals het de poster van de betere exploitation film betaamt is de poster van ‘Hobo with a Shotgun’ een getekende poster die de sfeer van de film perfect in één beeld visualiseert. De held van de film is uiteraard het grootste afgebeeld. In het geval van ‘Hobo’ is dat Rutger Hauer die het titelpersonage speelt. Hij heeft een echte zwerverslook met een schitterende nasty gezichtsuitdrukking. Om de hoofdpersoon heen zijn alle belangrijke scènes en personages uit de film te zien. Ik kreeg echt direct zin om de film te gaan bekijken, iets wat alleen de beste posters voor elkaar krijgen. De titel, logo en tagline zijn ook nog eens te gek. Kortom, een dikke tien.

Behalve de vette poster is de film zelf ook behoorlijk geslaagd. Hij begint met een naamloze zwerver die met een goederentrein arriveert in een naamloze stad. Een beetje zoals Clint Eastwood in de westerns over the man with no name. Door de mooie georchestreerde muziek krijg je helemaal het gevoel naar een film uit de jaren zeventig te zitten kijken.

De stad waar de hobo arriveert, is een smerige plek waar sadistische psychopaten de dienst uitmaken. Tussen de vele hobo’s worden bumfights georganiseerd en gefilmd, vrouwen worden gebruikt als lust- en martelobjecten en de politie wordt betaald door de leider van al het tuig, de über sicko Drake. Hauer’s dakloze heeft door een paar slechte ervaringen al snel genoeg van alle smeerlappen en besluit aan het moorden te slaan. Gewapend met een shotgun richt hij een bloedbad aan onder het tuig. In zijn missie wordt hij bijgestaan door prostituee Abby.

‘Hobo with a Shotgun’ was oorspronkelijk een namaaktrailer die deelnam aan een fake trailer competitie georganiseerd om de première van ‘Grindhouse’ te promoten, het grootse exploitation project van Quentin Tarantino en Robert Rodriquez. De trailer won de competitie en werd in sommige Canadese bioscopen vertoond als onderdeel van ‘Grindhouse’. Het is de tweede aan ‘Grindhouse’ verbonden trailer die het tot een speelfilm schopt. De andere is ‘Machete’ van Robert Rodriguez zelf.

Omdat de film met een relatief bescheiden budget is gemaakt en geen grote Hollywood sterren in de cast heeft, is het een overtuigendere exploitation film dan de ‘Grindhouse’ films van Rodriguez en Tarantino zelf. Het excessieve geweld en sadisme maakt wel dat het moeilijk is om veel te geven om de personages, inclusief de protagonist. Ook is de opbouw niet helemaal geslaagd; Hauer verandert in een paar minuten in een massamoordenaar, wat ook de genoegdoening wat teniet doet. Maar de boodschap over de human condition is toch overtuigend neergezet. Ook is het exploitation gehalte optimaal; je kunt je het geschreeuw en gejuich bij de vele bloederige scenes in het theater levendig voorstellen. Deze hobo is het zeker waard om wat kleingeld aan uit te geven.