Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation (2008)

One from the re watch pile…
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation (2008)

The Umbrella Entertainment Bluray release of the film


Film: 2008 and the viewing of this film was a big thing for me. As an Australian and being a fan of cinema, somehow the fact that this whole ‘Ozploitation’ sub-genre even existed had passed me by. I knew that there were Australian films obviously, and loved a few of them (Mad Max and Turkey Shoot come immediately to mind) but I didn’t realise how much stuff I had naturally assumed were American… even films like Dead Kids aka Strange Behaviour, an Australian film, I naturally thought was America , though in that case I think it was the point.

Now when I say Australian film, I don’t necessarily mean heartfelt, moral stories or period pieces, what I am talking about is the rough and tumble, violent, bloody, nude-filled lowest common denominator films made for people like… well, like me!

This documentary is written and directed by Mark Hartley, who had previous made several documentaries about specific Australian films like Blood and Thunder Memories: The Making of Turkey Shoot and Jaws On Trotters: The Making of Razorback, and it is divided into three sections:

Ocker’s, Knockers, Pubes and Tubes looks at the Australian version of sexploitation, and the celebration of the freedom that the post 60s world allowed us.

QT enthusiastically talks about Ozploitation films.


Comatose Killers and Outback Thrillers jumps into the horror part of this period and we celebrate all the blood and gore that was on offer at the time.

High-Octane Disasters and Kung-Fu Masters is the final part of the film and it looks at the Australian action films of the time.

The biggest problem any film fan and movie collector will have with this film is that by the time you finish it, you have a shopping list of 50 films you immediately have to buy. It’s been almost 9 years since I first saw this and I’m still trying to get Lady Stay Dead and Snapshot!

Robert Powell survives in… well, The Survivor


Director Mark Hartley obviously has a massive love of Australian cinema and this documentary tells the story of this period of Australian cinema with the exact brand of humour that the films it celebrates displays. It has a great look to it as well: It art design is very of the time it discusses but it’s cut in a modern manner and with some hilarious animations.

A special cooee has to go out to the music as well. The selection of pop songs is spot on and the other music by Stephen Cumming of The Sports and Billy Miller of The Ferrets is fabulous too.

Quite possibly the BEST documentary about a niche sub genre of cinema ever. With so many interviews it could have been easily turned into a boring talking heads styled thing, but there is SO much archival footage and SO much clever and interesting editing that is really a feast for the eye.

Score: *****

The menu to the Umbrella Bluray of Not Quite Hollywood


Format: The reviewed copy of this film was the Australian Umbrella Entertainment multi-region Bluray release which runs for roughly 98 minutes. The film is presented in 1.77:1 and mostly looks fantastic. As one would expect, some of the archival stuff isn’t perfect. The audio, featuring some amazing Australian music, can be heard in either 2.0 or 5.1 and both sound great.

Score: ****

Extras: Extras? EXTRAS? Oh boy, is this disc just straining the threads of its undergarments with extras! It’s voluptuous with extras! It’s well-hung with extras!

Seriously though, if you for some crazy reason thought there wasn’t enough about Ozploitation info in the main part of the doco, or you just haven’t seen enough boobs, the extras will more than satisfy your desire for more.

First we have a commentary featuring a bunch that the cover declare to be the Ozploitation auteurs: Mark Hartley himself hosts this commentary and through the course of the film has a turnstile of talent who star in the doco, and has a lot more anecdotes and information about this film.

Deleted and Extended Scenes can be watched with the commentary on or off and even though I would have preferred this to be recut into the film, I do like watching them with either the commentary on or off as it’s pretty informative, and features some films that are quite conspicuous with their absence.

The Lost NQH Interview: Chris Lofven which features an interview with the director of 1976’s OZ, which unfortunately was left out of the film.

Quentin Tarantino and Brian Trenchard-Smith Interview Featurette has a conversation between the two directors and their respective careers.

Melbourne International Film Festival Ozploitation Panel sees a whole bunch of NQH interviewees talking about the state of censorship and other aspects of film and art of the time this film discusses. (There is a misspelling of the film ‘Stork’ as ‘Stalk’ but I guess either could be used to describe the character!)

Melbourne International Film Festival Red Carpet is an astounding piece of footage of stuntman Grant Page walking the red carpet, quite calmly, on fire.

Behind the Scenes Footage from the Crew sees a bunch of BTS stuff filmed on a Duty free purchased video camera whilst they were in the UK doing the interviews for the film.

UK Interview with Director Mark Hartley is just that, and it’s a nice introduction to the director.

The Bazura Project Segment sees another interview with Hartley with the guys from The Bazura Project.
The Monthly Conversation is a low-res version of an interview Hartley did with Tom Ryan from The Monthly.

The Business Interview is an audio only interview with Hartley.

Extended Ozploitation Trailer Reel is 3… yes, 3 hours of Ozploitation movie trailers!

Confessions of an R-Rated Filmaker: John D. Lamond Interview sees Mr. Lamond talk about his career.

The next 5 extras are archival ones, made at the time of the films they represent.

On-set Interview with Richard Franklin is an interview with Franklin on the set of the horror film Patrick.

Terry Bourke’s Noon Sunday Reel talks about the making of a film called Noon Sunday.

Barry McKenzie: Ogre or Ocker is a short doco about the making of the Barry McKenzie films.

Inside Alvin Purple is an hour long documentary about Alvin Purple.

To Shoot a Mad Dog Documentary looks at the making of Mad Dog Morgan.

Ozploitation Stills and Poster Gallery is an awesome look at a lot of promotional stuff for many of the films mentioned throughout the documentary. It’s an animated gallery too, with some funky music over the slideshow.

NQH Production Gallery like the previous Gallery is an animated one, but now has some great portraits of the interviewees for the documentary.

NQH Pitch Promos sees the inception of the NQH project and features a lot of Tarantino, and his endorsement with some of Hartley’s other documentaries that have features]d as extras on other DVDs and BDs. 

NQH Original Theatrical Trailer is (phew!) exactly what the name would suggest!

If that’s not enough extras, I don’t know what else could appease you.

Score: *****

WISIA: if it’s not the best documentary made about movies, it’s certainly the best made about Ozploitation movies. I rewatch it regularly!

Cassandra Delaney braves a bull bar in Fair Game

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Fantastic Planet aka La Planete Sauvage (1973)

One from the to watch pile…
Fantastic Planet aka La Planete Sauvage (1973)

The cover to the Umbrella Entertainment DVD


Film: In my stupidly overlarge collection of books about films, I regularly go back to the 1,000 Movies You Must See Before You Die, and this film is always present in the list.

This animated film was directed by French director René Laloux, and was animated by an all-female group of animators called ‘animatrices’, the production starting in Prague but eventually moved to France due to Communist authorities who were in power at the time.

Apparently this film was inspired by the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in the late 60s (I know this as it is written on the back cover of the DVD) but I won’t make any commentary on that as my understanding of politics and non-Australian history is somewhat lacking, and anything I may say would be superficial and I don’t wish to insult people based on a subject I know nothing about.

I like movies, and whilst I appreciate some have subtext and meaning, I’m not one to comment on something of which I know nothing about.

Based on the book Om En Série by Stefan Will (a pen name of Pierre Pairault, writer of La Mort Vivant amongst others), Fantastic Planet tells of a planet inhabited by the Draags, a gigantic race of blue beings whose appearance may be slightly similar to ours, but whose existence is completely alien.

Also on this planet is a race identical to ours called Oms. Oms are kept as pets by the Draags, and our story tells of a young Draag, Tiwa, who has an Om of her own whom she calls Terr. 

Like any young girl, Tiwa dresses up her pet and loves him dearly, but Terr isn’t like other Oms. Terr listens in on Tina’s school lessons, learning all he can about everything to do with the planet. 

Terr has some creature make him new clothes.


As Tiwa gets older, she grows out of her playthings and Terr decides to run away, taking with him an educational headset, which to him is huge, so he can learn more about the world. Quickly, Terr meets up with a tribe of wild Oms and with his knowledge becomes a full fledged member, but will his knowledge bring revolution, or destroy the Oms altogether?

The Oms gets an education from a Draag device.


The visuals of this film are amazing. Each frame looks like it is straight out of a comic as there is depth to the pencil lines, and a beautiful watercolour element to the colour tones. The animation is a little clunky, but the artistic style overpowers that and the overall result is a treat.

How alien the planet is is wonderful too. The creatures are horrifyingly different to most modern science fiction art styles, and look more like they have been torn straight off a 1920s issue of Weird Tales cover. They are all a delight to behold though.

The soundtrack is amazing, and straight out of a prog rock rulebook, with maybe a little bit of Euro-sleeze porn bass thrown in for good measure.

This film is nothing short of beautiful and is well worth the award it received at the 1973 Cannes film festival. It’s slow paced but the visuals and score make it a fascinating watch. It’s said to be a precursor to the work of Studio Ghibli and with its unusual pace and innovative art design, I can’t argue with that.

Score: ****

A rare sighting of a What-the-hell-is-that?


Format: This Australian Umbrella Entertainment all-region (NTSC) DVD release of the film runs for approximately 72 minutes and is presented in a clear 1.66:1 image with a decent 2.0 audio track. The audio track is available in either French or English, but without a menu it can only be changed via your player’s audio options. I couldn’t turn off the subtitles though so in English that did become distracting when the dialogue was different.

Score: ***

Extras: Not a skerrik, I’m afraid… not even a menu!

Score: 0

WISIA: I think I am going to have to watch it a few times just for the beauty of the artistic style of the film, but maybe not so much after that.

The only good Draag is a dead one, if you are an Om.

Supervixens (1975) 

One from the re watch pile…
Supervixens (1975)

The cover of the UK DVD release


Film: I had read about soft-core porn filmmaker Russ Meyer long before I had ever seen any of his films. I remember seeing the image of a gigantic pair of boobs hanging from out the front of a cinema in Sydney in a magazine called Shocking Cinema which contained that particular image, with a small write up, within a ‘sealed’ section.

Just through magazine I read, and shops I frequented, like Land Beyond Beyond in Sydney, I became a little obsessed with Meyer though the opportunity to see any of his stuff didn’t become available to me until I managed to get my hands on a few releases Madman in Australia did on DVD a few years ago, and since then I’ve grabbed everything that Arrow Films in the UK have available, and have accumulated several books on the subject of Mr Meyer, including his experiences documenting WWII , as well as a photographer for Playboy in the early days.

The focus of Meyer’s movies are the female form, and the bustier the better! There are certain male attributes that are generally enhanced too when the opportunity arises for a peek though. His films are no doubt soft core porn, but there’s no ‘I’ve come to clean ze pool’ stuff in his work: no, these are articulate, rural black comedies that if you don’t just fast forward to the nudity, or turn them of when you have… um… ‘finished’, you’ll get a lot out of them

His movies are spectacularly weird too and he has been called the ‘Rural Fellini’, insomuch that his films merge fantasy, not just sexual but metaphysical and supernatural within the rural environments, like farming communities and small towns.

Supervixens is no variation on that.

Clint Ramsey (Charles Pitt) getting down and dirty


Poor Clint Ramsey (Charles Pitts) has a problem: his woman, Superangel (Shari Eubanks) is a suspicious, high-maintenance, voluptuous woman whose sexual appetite and penchant for violence is making his life a living Hell, even though she is a gorgeous.

After a particularly horrible argument, Supervixen calls the police, who send police officer Harry Sledge (Charles Napier). He quickly proves to be her undoing when he murders her after she tries similar shenanigans on him when he fails to satisfy her her in bed.

The titular Supervixen.


Sledge murders her and places the blame square in Clint’s lap, which puts him on a trip across country, evading the law and somehow ending up pursued by every horny, busty woman he …ahem… comes across, but will Sledge catch up with him?

This movie is heaps of fun and has some bizarre scenes that somehow make plenty of sense within Meyer’s eye. He has this amazing sense of cinematic style with the camera that once you see past the statuesque figures on screen, you really see a man who is totally in control of his craft. His previous occupation as a photographer is clear in the amazing way he frames his scenes.

The women in this film aren’t the only amazing thing within the camera’s eye: the locations are desolate and the heat of the desert is almost palpable.

I really love this movie, and though you probably should start any Meyer adventure with either Vixen or Faster Pussycat! Kill! KILL!, you really can’t pass this up.

Score: ****

The UK DVD menu screen


Format: Supervixens was reviewed using the U.K. Arrow Films DVD release which is presented in an ok 4:3 image with a pretty clear 2.0 audio. The image is a little artefacty at times but not to the detriment of the entire image.

Score: ****

Extras: Only two extras on this disc, but both are as entertaining as hell.

First there is an amazing commentary with director Russ Meyer where he doesn’t just tell amusing stories about the making of this film, but also interesting reflections of his life. 
Next, we have a trailer reel of Meyer’s films: Faster Pussycat! Kill! KILL!, Blacksnake, Mudhoney, Vixen, Wild Gals of the Naked West, Supervixens, Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens, Cherry, Harry & Raquel and Common-Law Cabin.

Honestly Meyer’s trailers are the best ever made, not just because of the beautiful stars, but also due to the absolute Sideshow Huckster, P.T. Barnham styled voiceovers which deliver the hard sell like never before.

Score: ***

WISIA: It’s a funny, sometimes silly and occasionally violent piece of classic Meyer cheese: not for family viewing but I watch it when I can.

Harry Sledge (Charles Napier) looks back at future victims.

The Cheerleaders (1973) Review

One from the to watch pile…
The Cheerleaders (1973)

The cover of the UK Arrowdrome DVD release


Film: The teen sex comedy was a huge thing in the 80s, and I reckon as a teenager I saw most of them, which were basically stupid jokes mixed with hot half-naked girls in a soft-porn environment. 

As a teen in those days it was hard to get your hands on prom so this was as close as you could get… you kids have it so easy these days.

The film, The Cheerleaders, from 1973, clearly inspired by the films of Russ Meyer, were personably an inspiration to those eighties films and there is a lot of the bare bones of them in this. 

Written and directed by Paul Glickler, this film was also a clear influence on 1978’s Debbie Does Dallas not so much plot-wise, but certainly with the environment and the over-sexed teenaged girls.

The Cheerleaders of Amorosa High need a new cheerleader to make up their squad, seeing as how one of them has ended up pregnant. Now these Cheerleaders are, well, somewhat slutty, and so the head (heehee, ‘head’) cheerleader Claudia (Denise Dillaway), in cahoots with the ladies physical education teacher, decide to get a virgin to be their replacement so they don’t have that problem of pregnancy flare up again.

Claudia (Denise Dillaway) is concerned about something over there.


The problem is Jeannie (Stephanie Fondue) is desperate to ‘lose her cherry’ and the rest of the team want her too as well… and she does! Very soon the team are caught up in a match rigging exercise where their team are tired out by a massive orgy organised by an unscrupulous crook, but to make things even the Cheerleaders kidnap all the opposing team and proceed to have their way with each and every one.

Jeannie (Stephanie Fondue) does her best Jan Brady impression


The acting is terrible and the jokes are sophomoric at best, but it has a weird charm to it, which honestly might just be due to its age, rather than actual quality… the fact I love 80s teen sex comedies probably play into that as well. Heaps of ‘ nice balls’ and businesses with the names ‘Beaver Wash ‘ (a car wash) styled jokes run riot. Its Carry On and Russ Meyer all mixed together.

The weird thing is the world in which this movie exists. All teenage girls are oversexed, men are dumb crooks, and every adult male is an ephebophile.

It’s fun and dumb and I reckon an absolute influence of the biggest teen sex comedy of the 80s, Porkys, but it doesn’t necessarily hold up like Porkys does.

Score: **1/2

The DVD menu screen for disc one


Format: The reviewed copy of this film was on the UK Arrow films release DVD, and was an ok image, but far from great. The films image is a 1.78:1 aspect and has heaps of artefacts and some streaks, but everything that needs to be seen, can be, so it’s not too detrimental to the viewing experience. The audio is in 2.0 stereo and is just fine.

Score: ***

Extras: This disc was one of Arrow Films’ ‘Arrowdrome” series of releases, and comes with a reversible cover, an Arrow Films catalogue and a booklet featuring an essay from Cinema Sewer legend, Robin Bougie.

There are two extras on disc one: the trailer and a radio spot for the film.

Disc two though, has the full feature length sequel Revenge of the Cheerleaders, and includes trailers, radio and TV spots for the film. Make sure you watch this one too as it does feature Cheryl ‘Rainbeaux’ Smith, and a young David Hasselhoff as ‘Boner’.

Score: ****

WISIA: Once was enough for me.

Peripheral vision was at an all-time low in the early 70s.


Summer vs Zombruary: Zombie Flesh-Eaters (1979) Review


This film serves a double purpose. It is the first of February, the final month of the Australian summer, and what better way to spend your final month of summer than on a beautiful island, with clear waters to sail upon, and the undead who wish for your destruction. Also, this is the first review of the To Watch Pile’s Zombruary: a whole month of nothing but reviews of zombie films!
One from the re watch pile…
Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

Zombie Flesh-eaters: The Arrow Bluray steelbook… unfortunately mine is battle damaged!


Film: I love Lucio Fulci films as they appeal to all the things I love about horror: the disturbing tale, the gore, the nudity, the violence, and especially in Fulci’s case, the sheer oddball-ness of it, or as ‘proper’ educated film critics may put it, his use of surrealism to convey the supernatural.

But I’m just some dude who likes horror movies, so I probably wouldn’t say that!

An abandoned ship enters New York Harbour with a soul occupant who attached a harbour police officer before being shot, and knocked off board. The owner of the boat’s daughter, Anne (Tisa Farrow) is notified of the murder and decides to sneak onboard to see if she can what happened to her missing father, who did not return with the vessel.

Zombie Flesh-eaters: Ian McCulloch and Tisa Farrow using the 70s version of a mobile phone.


When she sneaks onboard, which is being guarded by the NYPD, she meets reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) who is looking for a story, and the pair of them quickly team up to back track her father’s movements to find where he has been, and what may have happened to him. They charter a boat owned by Brian Hull (Al Cliver) and his lovely girlfriend, Susan Barrett (Auretta Gay) and make their way to the island of Matul.

…but what they find is a seemingly mad doctor, Dr Menard (Richard Johnson) fighting against the undead!!! Will they find out what happened to Anne’s father? Will all of them escape the island alive? Is this the beginning of some kind of zombie holocaust; some kind of dawn of the dead?

This isn’t my favourite Fulci film: The Beyond has that honour, but instead this still sits high on the cool list for me. 

First up it’s cool that a zombie film of this period actually has a reason for the dead coming back and it’s not just some kind of facility for cinema to tell us about ourselves. I love the fact it’s just a film about zombies, and not ‘consumerism’ or whatever.

Then its just the flat out insanity of some of the scenes: the zombies aren’t freshly dead like in Dawn of the Dead, they look almost mummified and have a real creepy texture about them. Except for one, the one that fights the shark, near the basically naked Audretta Gay in a g-banger and a scuba tank.

Zombie Flesh-eaters: surf ‘n’ turf


Finally, the gore is just so fantastically over the top one can’t help but just marvel at it, I mean, it’s not extraordinarily realistic, but even to attempt some of the ideas in a world of practical effects is absolutely awe inspiring. Even going back around to the zombie versus shark sequence, one can’t help but marvel at the job.

Basically, this movie is awesome. Get it, watch it, love it!

Score: *****

Zombie Flesh-eaters Bluray menu screen


Format: The film is presented in a really nice 2.35:1 restoration with a choice of two excellent audio tracks, English or Italian, in Dolby Digital 2.0. It’s never looked at good as this, for certain!

Score:****

Extras: Not sure if it’s an extra or not, but there is the opportunity to watch this film as either Zombie Flesh-Eaters, Zombie or Zombi 2. Which ever one you pick, it’s introduced by Ian McCulloch, and it’s really just a change in the title card and nothing else. Is that an extra? I’m not sure, but I thought it bore mentioning!

Also the release I have is a pretty fancy steelbook with some cool original art, and the packaging contains an excellent booklet with articles by Stephen Thrower, Calum Waddell and Craig Lapper, photos of the original script with comments by Jay Slater, Fulci’s CV and a full cast and crew list, all fully illustrated.

Outside of that it’s an Italian smorgasbord of extras. This disc treats us to two commentaries, one with Elisa Briganti who co-wrote the film with her husband Dardano Sancchetti and the other with U.K. horror journalists Stephen Thrower (writer of Nightmare USA) and Alan Jones (writer of Dario Argento: The Man, The Myth and The Magic). Both are fascinating, with Briganti’s being a fantastic look at the making of the film and the Thrower/ Jones one is a fantastic retrospective from two movie journalists, and fans, with whom I have a lot of respect.

Next we have a documentary called From Romero to Rome: The Rise and Fall of the Italian Horror Film. Starting at Night of the Living Dead, but with reflections upon older ‘zombie’ films, it looks at the Italian output in reference to Romero’s output. It’s a great look at zombie films for zombie fans.

There is a heap of trailers and advertising material here, with a U.S. trailer, the Vipco trailer, 2 TV trailers and some radio spots.

Then we have a second disc of just extras!

The first on this disc is called Aliens, Cannibals and Zombies: A Trilogy of Italian Terror which sees Ian McCulloch discuss his acting career.

Zombie Flesh-Eaters: From Script to Screen sees doco director Calum Waddell totally nerd-out (and rightly so!) at an original copy of the script with Dardano Sacchetti.

Music for a Flesh Feast is a Q and A with Fabio Frizzi which is pretty interesting look at how a composer approaches a film.

The Meat-munching Movies of Gino De Rossi is a special effects doco featuring the work of Italian special effects artist De Rossi.

Score: *****

WISIA: I couldn’t actually accurately tell you just how many times I have watched this film, it’s awesome!

Zombie Flesh-eaters: here’s worms in ya eye!

Respectable: The Mary Millington Story (2016) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Respectable: The Mary Millington Story (2016)

The cover to the UK release of Respectable: The Mary Millington Story


Film: I sometimes think, since the advent of DVD, that I love extras, and documentaries about films, more than the films themselves. That is, I’ve always loved documentaries, Helevtica is one of my favourite films, documentary or otherwise, but seeing informative video about the films I love is like a dream come true.

I think the first actual film documentary I saw that wasn’t an extra, was Mark Hartley’s Not Quite Hollywood, and I lapped it up, and I have actively pursued as many as I can and have amassed a collection of about 20 films, ranging from Roger Corman’s history, to the legend of Britain’s Video Nasty period.

If anything, this documentary is almost complimentary for the Jake West Video Nasty docos, as it tells not of the banned videos from the early 80s, but instead tells of UK porno star Mary Millington’s life, and her rise from glamour photo club model, to lad’s magazines to the illegal market of porn films in the 70s.

The Queen of Blue herself, Mary Millington.


The doco is written and directed by Simon Sheridan, Millington’s biographer and writer of Come Play With Me: The Mary Millington Story and has is narrated by Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrel’s Dexter Fletcher. There are recent interviews with several family members and Millington’s film contemporaries of the time, not to mention archive interviews with porn producers and anti-porn activists (like Mary Whitehouse), and an audio interview with Millington herself.

Hers was a life of drugs and sex and money, and as most documentaries of people with these lifestyles, it doesn’t end well, as the tragedy of their lifestyle can sometimes catch up with those involved. 

The odd dance sequence from Come Play With Me.


 My interest in this period of cinema comes as an extension of my love of the so-called saucy cinema of the UK, whether it’s the less risqué Carry on Films, or some of the slightly more-so borderline soft-core porn films of the period, and I’ve always been a fan of Millington. This doco is surprising as it is rated a U.K. (18) but has quite a lot of full frontal nudity, both male and female, and some actual sex… not a great deal, but enough to raise my eyebrows at the idea I grabbed this from Amazon!

It’s a tragic and fascinating story, told well with heaps of supplementary material and when you have a story about someone who was filmed and photographed as often as Millington, you know there is gonna be lots of nudity and a decent slog of sex. 

Score: ****

The DVD menu screen for Respectable: The Mary Millington Story


Format: This UK release, region 2 DVD runs for approximately 110 minutes and is presented is a 1.75:1 image of varying quality due to the amount of archival material, but essentially the picture is ok. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and is clear.

Score: ***1/2

Extras: Amazing amount of extras on this disc:

The Audio Commentary is done by Sam Dunn from the British film institute and Simon Sheridan, the writer and director of the film. It is a really interesting, in-depth commentary, almost as interesting as the film.

Confession from the Dave Sullivan focuses primarily on Sullivan’s career in the adult entertainment industry, as far as publishing and filmmaking is concerned. An interesting albeit brief look at his career.

Keep it up, Sue! In conversation with Sue Longhurst is similar to the Sullivan short insomuch as it briefly looks at the career of one of Millington’s contemporaries, and her appearance in the Keep It Up films.

Sex Talk with Ed Tudor-Pole is a similar interview with punk musician Ed Tudor-Pole, from Tenpole Tudor.

Party Pieces 1974 silent film is an 11 minute long stag film with no sound which is quite tame compared to today’s pornography.

Come Play With Me original 1977 trailer is obviously a trailer for ‘Come Play With Me’.

Respectable teaser trailer is, obviously a teaser for this film.

Score: *****

WISIA: This sort of doco is right up my alley, so I’ll definitely watch it again.

A newspaper add for Linda Lovelace’s Deep Throat

Summer review: Piranha (1978)

To celebrate the summer solstice, here’s an oldie from the re watch pile…
Piranha (1978)

Piranha Australian blurry release


Film: In Australia, nothing says summer like a swim in at the beach or a dip in a river in one of our many national parks, and just as Jaws makes everyone stay out of the surf, Piranha is sure to dull anyone’s inclination to enjoy the river ways.

Piranha: Menzies, Dillman and McCarthy


Piranha is a film that is probably just as well known as it’s ‘older brother’ Jaws, it’s written by The Spiderwyck Chronicles screenplay writer John Sayles, from a story devised by him and Kingdom of the Spiders Richard Robinson. The film was directed by Joe Dante, who also gave us the wonderful Gremlins, and The Hole.

Piranha tells of Maggie McKeown (Heather Menzies), a private investigator who enlists the help of mountain man, Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) to find two missing hikers. They find the hiker’s devoured bodies at the bottom of a swimming pool that they empty, but what they don’t realise is, they have delivered into the local river, where a Summer Camp and a Resort lie, a school of deadly killer fish. Scientist and creator of the creatures, Dr Hoek (Kevin McCarthy) informs them of their deadly faux par! 

How can they stop them and is the appearance of the military and mysterious Dr. Mengers (Barbara Steele) going to benefit to hinder their efforts?

Piranha: fish food.


This film is pretty much 70s horror/ exploitation/ Corman distilled into the perfect package. It exploits Jaws by its very existence and playing on the fear of the water it gave us a few years earlier, and it does so with bravado: look out for the video game of Jaws, and a copy of Moby Dick in various scenes as well as other references. Throwing in fan favourites Steele, McCarthy and Dick Miller and Paul Bartel doesn’t hurt the proceedings either! 

It does play very cleverly on that fear of the unknown in the muddiness and darkness of the water and there is enough levity to make it fun as well as horrifying. A favourite of mine as well as a damn good Corman film!

Score: ****1/2

Piranha menu screen


Format: The review copy of this film is the Australian multi-region bluray release which runs for approximately 92 minutes, and is a pretty good anamorphic widescreen presentation, with a clear 2.0 stereo audio.

Score: ***1/2

Extras: There’s a cool bunch of extras on this disc.

There’s a commentary starring director Joe Dante and producer Jon Davidson, both of whom give a cool commentary on the film. It is interesting and thorough, and so informative!

Behind the scenes footage has some pretty cool ‘home movies’ of what went on on the set of the film.

The Making of Piranha is a 20 minute doco about the film with reflection on it from Roger Corman, Joe Dante, and various other cast and crew.

Bloopers and Out takes are just what they sound like. Really it feels like more behind the scenes stuff but it is occasionally funny.

Additional scenes from the Tv version is exactly what it is called. There is a pretty cool bit with Dick Millar and Paul Bartel, where Bartel manages to squeeze in a nose-pick joke: well played!

 There is some radio spots, Tv ad and trailers for the film, and a poster and stills gallery is a bunch of international promotional material.

Phil Tippet’s Behind the Scenes photo collection which is about 50 pretty cool behind the scenes shots of the various effects used in the film, including sculpts and the internal mechanics of the fish.

Score: *****

WISIA: It’s a 70s horror classic and I watch it quite regularly.

Piranha: the 70s at its finest

Rabid (1977) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Rabid

  

Film: Do I think of myself as a fan of the director David Cronenberg? Well, to be honest, I didn’t! Whenever a conversation leads into to Cronenberg territory, the film Videodrome always pops up… And THAT film I am not a fan of, but in the last week or two I have been rewatching some films of his that aren’t Videodrome. These films were eXistenZ, which Cronenberg says it is a reaction to Salman Rushdies’ persecution, his remake of The Fly, which is just amazing, and Naked Lunch, which, whilst it has its problems, I find an intriguing watch. During this rewatch frenzy, fellow To Watch Pile-r Simon (check out his action movie blog explosiveaction.com ) offered me his copies of earlier Cronenberg films, Shivers and Rabid, neither of which I have ever seen. I’m not sure how either passed me by, especially seeing as how I can remember seeing the trailer for Rabid on many films hired on VHS during the 80s.

Rabid is Cronenberg’s second feature film, and has a bit of notoriety as it stars porno actress Marilyn Chambers in the lead role. Now whilst I may have observed the ‘occasional’ pornographic film (and even reviewed things like Sexcula and Debbie Does Dallas for other sites), I haven’t ever, in my cinematic travels, seen Ms. Chambers in anything, and I have to admit I was quite struck by her presence in this: she has a lithe seventies sexiness about her that is quite breathtaking.

I thought the pixie-ish Lynn Lowrey’s appearance in Shivers couldn’t be topped: I was wrong.

  
Rabid tells the story of Hart (Frank Moore) and his girlfriend Rose (Marilyn Chambers) who are involved in a terrible motorcycle accident which sees Hart with a few superficial wounds, but has Rose severely injured after being stuck under the burning motorcycle. 

He wounds are quite catastrophic and she is picked up your the ambulance associated with the local plastic surgery clinic run by Doctor Keloid (Howard Ryshpan), who is an innovator of a type of surgery which involved the manipulation of human tissue so it can be used to assimilate any tissue it may be combined with.

Unfortunately for Rose, it does some thing else to her. She becomes a vampire, of sorts, who doesn’t turn her prey into vampires, but instead infects them with a form of rabies, which there can then spread through their bite.

Soon. Of course, the virus quickly spreads…

  
Simply, this movie is amazing. It is thematically similar to Shivers in its story of a spreading virus, but it is different enough for that not to even matter. All of Cronenberg’s themes of change and bodily transformation are present and clearly in embryo. 

The film is well performed by all the actors, and it clearly has a higher budget then that of Shivers. Special effects and make up legend Joe Blasco had his work cut out for him with the effects in this film, and Rose’s vampiric ways are nothing short of disturbing!

This is definitely a must see, and it will certainly change your opinion of the originality of a lot of the post millennial pandemic films and zombie virus films we have seen since. 

Score: *****

Format: As I stated earlier, I was lucky enough to get this film as one of the UK’s Arrow Video’s bluray steelbooks, which of course means it is Region 2. The feature runs for 91 minutes, and is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, with a mono audio. At first I didn’t appreciate just how excellent the image is, until I watched the trailer, an extra on this disc, and saw just how well it had been cleaned up in comparison

Score: *****

Extras:

This disc has a bunch of pretty cool extras. 

  
Two different commentaries, one with Cronenberg, which he articulates every aspect of the film production and one with William Beard, author of The Artist As Monster: The Films of David Cronenberg. This second commentary explores not just this film, but many of Cronenberg’s work. Beard clearly has a deep and thorough understanding of Cronenberg.

Four interviews with Cronenberg, producer Ivan Reitman, co-producer Don Carmody and special effects artist Joe Blasco. These interviews are all fascinating a really present an interesting picture of how the film was made though for my liking, Blasco’s was a little short.

There are two documentaries: The Directors: David Cronenberg is a 60 minute episode of a series from 1999 that focused on various directors and their processes and people who worked for them. Obviously this one focuses on Cronenberg and interviews the man himself, and Holly Hunter, Peter Weller, Marilyn Chambers, Michael Ironside and others, and is a full exploration of his career up to eXistenZ. Raw, Rough and Rabid takes a look at the production Canadian company Cinepix, who released Rabid and is a fascinating look at the Canadian film business of the time.

The trailer is also one here as a special feature, and you don’t realise just how beautiful the film looks until you see just how ordinary is the video quality of the trailer. There is also a promotional gallery of various materials used to advertise the film.

This set also features a DVD presentation of the film, in standard definition as opposed to the bluray’s 1080p and a booklet containing several articles: Plastic Surgery Disaster: Rabid, The October Crisis and the Pathological Body Politic by Kier-La Janisse, A Biologically Correct Vampiress by David Cronenberg and An Interview With Marilyn Chambers by Calum Waddell, not to mention the films credits and several notes about the transfer. These are all interesting and essential reads for the Cronenberg fan.

  
Score: *****

WISIA: A resounding ‘Hell yeah’ from this lowly critic on the rewatchability of this pic. I just finished writing this review and I am thinking about watching it again now!