If you think you know Australian genre cinema is basically the realm of Mad Max, then you’re in for a rude awakening. We’re talking miles beyond Thunderdome here into a lawless cinematic land of sexual perverts, marsupials and a car chase scene that makes Death Proof look like a Disney ride.
Director Mark Hartley and Editor Jamie Blanks (Storm Warning) have culled together hundreds of hours of footage over the course of three years to bring you this definitive documentary on a subgenre of world cinema that even those who have seen dozens of these films probably can’t quite fathom…and they dub it: Ozploitation!
In a vain attempt to structure the anarchy that appears on screen, Hartley has broken the 103-minute doc down into three distinct sections.
The first section is titled—Ockers, Knockers, Pubes and Tubes. I’ll give you one guess what that’s about. But, even better than the title is, that this 20-odd minutes of interviews and clips delivers exactly what the cue card suggests! How’s that for breaking the mold? Usually exploitation films promise the moon but only deliver green cheese. In this section we get genius clips from films like Alvin Purple and (the film I’m most desperate to find now) the 1974 mondo film Australia After Dark and every one of them (I’d guestimate we see at least 2 or 3 dozen movies represented here) fill the frames with every manner of naked naughty bits! Girls, you wanna see John Holmes business? No problem it’s right here. Guys, will be thrilled to know that the outback isn’t the only “bush” on display here. The best part, the filmmakers not only interview the guys behind these films, they interview the starlets (now in their 50’s) too. Their thoughts? It’s all just a big naked joke. Brilliant!
Up next is Comatose Killers and Outback Chillers. The title immediately references Richard Franklin’s 1978 freak fest Patrick (which just came out on DVD from Synapse films in October 2008). The film about a hospital patient that uses telekinesis to kill is a classic example of WTF filmmaking at its best. Self-proclaimed Aussie genre junkie Quentin Tarantino (who is—per usual—the best and most hyperbolic interview subject in the doc) even reveals that The Bride’s comatose spitting scene in Kill Bill is in direct homage to this film. Other genre faves, including Saw duo James Wan and Leigh Whannell, Wolf Creek’s John Jarrett and director Greg McLean all harp on the classics all the way up to and including McLean’s recent giant croc flick Rogue and Jarrett’s previous killer croc pic Dark Age (also coming to DVD from Synapse).
The final section High Octane Disasters and Kung Fu Masters brings out the post apocalyptic big guns of George Miller and Mad Max but is most notable for the 10 minutes it devotes to the 1986 thriller Fair Game. In this “masterpiece” of exploitation, a beautiful blond girl is terrorized by poachers before being stripped naked and strapped to the hood of a jacked up red truck. I will now do anything it takes to see this film! As Tarantino so eloquently states in the documentary “who the fuck thinks of this stuff”? Turns out this was thought of by writer Rob George. I’d just like to shake that dude’s hand.
Not Quite Hollywood is probably the be all, end all, final word on Ozploitation films. It highlights dozens upon dozens of productions, from mundane puff pieces like the Nicole Kidman teen romp BMX Bandits to the classic man vs. nature thriller Lost Weekend, everything you’ve never wanted to know about an entire industry is on display here. But, the films success lies much further than simply documenting its subject. The infectious love the nearly 100 interviewees have for one country’s shameful output—and the insane collection of violent, perverse and downright mind-bending clips included here—makes the viewer want to dash onto the nearest computer and start tracking these lost classics down immediately. I know my Netflix queue will be stockpiled with Aussie trash cinema for months to come! You can’t ask for more than that!!!