Not Quite Hollywood

March 3rd, 2009 by Vomitron

Not Quite Hollywood   nqhposter1 79x120 reviews documentary Director: Mark Hartley
Writer: Mark Hartley
Release year: 2008

Aussie Exquisiteness!

Not Quite Hollywood   offscreen 2009 mini logo reviews documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation, is the movie’s full title and that’s exactly what this documentary is all about. Witness the history of Australian exploitation cinema as you could not have dreamt it to be.


Not Quite Hollywood   title screen 300x204 reviews documentary

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Not Quite Hollywood   the chain reaction 300x204 reviews documentary Not Quite Hollywood   dark age 300x204 reviews documentary With recent films like Wolf Creek (2005), Rogue (2007) and Storm Warning (2007), it seems like Australian genre films are on the rise again, after more than 15 years of dormancy. But it’s important to know where things started, and with Not Quite Hollywood director Mark Hartley brings us, what feels like, the complete story of independent genre pictures. Straight from down under. This documentary has all you can think of and oozes juicy anecdotes, insightful trivia and tons of film clips. Almost – I do say ‘almost’ – every worthwhile Australian genre film I could think of, has its rightful place within these 103 minutes. And more, a lot more of them. Amongst those, also trashy gems I hadn’t even heard of (but hey, I’m not Australian after all)… The best thing about all this non-stop insanity bursting from the screen, is that not only you just want to re-watch this documentary a second time right after it’s finished. You’ll also feel the urge to seek out and watch every single movie shown and discussed. At least that was my experience, and apparantly I’m not alone in this.

Not Quite Hollywood   knockers 300x204 reviews documentary After a brief introduction, providing some historical context, the film is roughly divided into three parts. First we have “Ockers, Knockers, Pubes & Tubes”, and if you know your Aussie slang, you can imagine it largely deals with sex comedies.Not Quite Hollywood   ozzie boobs 300x203 reviews documentary Make first acquaintances with the likes of The Naked Bunyip (1970), Stork (1971) and Alvin Purple (1973) (to name only a few). Needles to say the emphasis mainly lies on nudity & vulgarity here. Coming from both sexes, I might add. Lots of interview fragments with leading ladies from those dubious films, who prove themselves wellspoken and humorous.

Not Quite Hollywood   killers 300x203 reviews documentary Next segment, “Comatose Killers and Outback Chillers”, brings us into the world of horror, thrills and shocks. Many fine filmmakers – with people like Richard Franklin (Patrick), Russell Mulcahy (Razorback) and producer Antony I. Ginnane (Harlequin, The Survivor) probably being the most famous – talk about their work. This segment also features various filmclips, with the emphasis on blood, gore and creatures. From grotesque werewolf nonsense in Howling III: The Marsupials to more stylish & atmospheric content in Next of Kin.

Not Quite Hollywood   octane 300x204 reviews documentary The last half hour, titled ‘High Octane Disasters and Kung Fu Masters’, features directors like George Miller (Mad Max) and Brian Trenchard-Smith (Dead-End Drive-In, Stunt Rock) vividly talking about their films. Fast-paced action and crazy stunts are the main dish here, and we also learn how some of them went horribly wrong…

Not Quite Hollywood   roadgames 300x156 reviews documentary The way Not Quite Hollywood is put together and how the subject matter is approached, is what really makes this documentary tick. It’s done with the right sense of humor, making it all the more hysterical at moments. Cleverly cut together, a director might make a certain statement which will be seriously doubted or even refuted by a producer or actor the next second. The fast mixture of quotes and filmclips, makes this feature’s running time fly by.

Not Quite Hollywood   howling iii 300x204 reviews documentary As to be expected, a lot of these movies at the time of their release, due to their often explicit content (whether it be nudity, violence or gore), ran into serious trouble with Australian censorship, known to be one of the most oppressive of the Western world. And it’s often very funny to see how their content is being discussed. We have a critic like Bob Ellis expressing deep loathing towards this type of films and an actor like Steve Railsback telling how horrible a film like Turkey Shoot was to him (coincidentally he’s talking about a film enjoying a solid cult status in the survival genre nowadays). And at the same time we have the film-makers mocking their own genre films while an overly enthusiastic Quentin Tarantino is praising them all to high heaven. Talking about Tarantino: ever since I saw Kill Bill, I have been claiming that there could simply be no other way than him having seen and liked Franklin‘s Patrick (1978)… and nobody seemed to know what the hell I was talking about. Now, about three years later, thanks to this documentary, I hear the man explain for himself what I suspected all along. Not only did he blatantly steal a scene from Patrick; if it wasn’t for Uma Thurman, he would have even messed it up.

Not Quite Hollywood   turkey shoot 300x153 reviews documentary I’m getting carried away… Point is: There’s so much fun to be had with this documentary. Like the part were everybody talks about Dennis Hopper (including himself) and his insane drug- & alcohol abuse on the set of Mad Dog Morgan. And how shocking it is to learn about the total lack of safety & security during the shooting of several films. People were lit on fire (not only stuntmen; actors too!). Actresses nearly drowned or chewed by rats. Car crashes with deadly casualties. Calling this guerilla film-making is really quite the understatement. Aussies go Gung-ho, is more like it.

Not Quite Hollywood   hoodchick 300x204 reviews documentary While Not Quite Hollywood covers a lot of ground and really is a knowledgeable document, it also feels a bit like a glorified teaser/trailer for Australian genre films. All-in-all, there still remain quite some gems to be discovered, which are not featured in this documentary. An offbeat splaterflick like Body Melt (1993) not making it into the movie, is understandable (since the 80′s are the last decade featured, before skipping to current day), but sadly Fortress (1986) didn’t get a mentioning either. Since the latter was made for TV, I suspect Mark Hartley only went for theatrical releases. Still, mission accomplished I should say. We took note of it: ‘Must watch more Ozploitation’.

G’day to the lot o’ ya.

 

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When?

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What?

Not Quite Hollywood   ozploitationcr reviews documentary

 

 

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