As if your Netflix queue wasn’t backlogged already. In the documentary NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, director Mark Hartley takes us on a delirious trip through the brief, fevered history of Ozploitation — Australian-bred exploitation films that haunted American grindhouses, video-rental stores and HBO from the early seventies on into the eighties. Turns out that while during this time the art house crowd was fortifying itself with the likes of MY BRILLIANT CAREER and PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, everybody else was getting off on raunchy “Ocker” sex comedies (writer/star Barry Humphries prides himself on the explicitness of the puking scenes in each of his Barry McKenzie films) and a raft of crazy-explicit horror and action films, including RAZORBACK (which, if memory serves, was hailed by the New York Times as the most beautiful film about a killer pig ever), the legendary HOWLING III — THE MARSUPIALS, and, of course, ultimately, MAD MAX.
Hartley rallies his eyewitness accounts — including Jamie Lee Curtis, Russell Mulcahy, Brian Trenchard-Smith, and Dennis Hopper (who owns up quite readily to his wayward ways during the shooting of MAD DOG MORGAN) — presents his expert testimony (Quentin Tarantino, natch), offers up tons of juicy stories (one director was not shy about letting his starlets smother in rats or nearly drown for the sake of a good shot), and presents it all with a quick-cut style that nicely matches the energy and enthusiasm of both the genre and its fans. If it all feels eventually like overload — with some four score titles being covered in the span of one hundred minutes, one screaming, topless woman and exploding car begins to blur into the other — well, this is a world where wretched excess is a welcome, nay, mandatory commodity. Bring a notepad and prepare to have your DVD viewing schedule set back another year.
NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF OZPLOITATION!
(Magnet, 2008; 100 mins.) Directed by Mark Hartley. Cast: Dennis Hopper, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stacy Keach, George Miller.
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