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


Red Billabong (2016) Review

Happy Australia Day, everyone! Have a great day, enjoy your celebrations, but beware of … the Red Billabong!! One from the to watch pile…
Red Billabong (2016)

Red Billabong DVD cover

Film: Wouldn’t it be great if the days of Ozploitation returned. As a teen I saw many of the films talked about in the amazing documentary Not Quite Hollywood, but I wasn’t actually aware of how it all came about until that very documentary, and since then I have used it as somewhat of a shopping list of Australian horror and exploitation. 

If I could get my hands on a copy of Lady, Stay Dead I’d be absolutely stoked!

The other thing that doco did was, though, was make me a little less critical of our own industry and really take notice of Australian genre films, and every few years, when a new one might come out, I’ll give it a go. 

This film was written and directed by Luke Sparke, who previous to this had only produced the doco/ biopic of Australian families during various world wars, Yesterday is History, which after watching this, I might actually seek out as I thoroughly enjoyed this film!

Red Billabong: Tim Pocock and Dan Ewing wonder if they are Home or Away.

Nick (Dan Ewing) Reuter said to the country on request of his brother Tristan (Tim Pocock) to make some decisions about the property bequeathed by their grandfather their (Col Elliot). Nick meets up with Tristan’s friends, a bunch of lowlife drug dealers led by BJ (played hilariously by Ben Chisholm) whose girlfriend Anya (Sophie Don) is Nick’s ex.

Unfortunately for them, something strange is happening on the farm, and an ancient creature of Aboriginal legend has risen, but is the creature the worst of their problems, or is a collection of family deceits about to blow up in their faces, and what does American property developer Mr Richards (Felix Williamson) really want with the farm?

OK, so some of the cast is taken from shows like Home and Away and A Place To Call Home, but don’t let that drive you away from an Australian horror film that is ABOUT Australia and it’s native peoples mythology. You know it’s an Australian film when it opens with Gang Gajang, and then proceeds to include The Angels, Darryl Braithwaite and others on the soundtrack… though it was weird to see a ‘proper’ cigarette packet instead of those awful, useless Olive Drab ones we have now.

The movie is shot really nicely too, and really shows of just how beautiful the Australian rural life can be, though the Billabong never actually gets ‘red’. The inclusion of Gregory J. Fryer as the Aboriginal elder who seems to know what’s going on is cool too: this doesn’t have a bunch of kids work out the local legends and fight the evil, instead a native local helps to combat it with knowledge, plus a spear, boomerang and didgeridoo!

The only issue with this film is the monster itself. I think it’s great to use the bunyip as the east, but the design of the monster is pretty crap, and then it is realised quite badly in some terrible CGI, and if I had been the director and seen how bad it was, I possibly wouldn’t have given it as much exposure as it gets, which is far too much.

Red Billabong: Jessica Green enjoys the Australian bush.

So do we have a new Ozploitation film? Maybe, as it shows off the country and legends, uses local talent, including an Australian putting on an American accent, has a little sex (no nudity though), some nice bikini bits and a whole bunch of strine that for me wasn’t a chore to listen too, but instead made for a bit of amusing self-depreciating humour. A decent Australian monster movie, steeped in Aboriginal mythology with an unfortunately badly designed and realised CGI monster. Roger Corman made a career of making good movies with crappy monsters so why not give this one a go!


Red Billabong DVD menu screen

Format: The reviewed copy of this film was the Australian DVD which runs for 108 minutes no os presented in a good 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image with an excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Score: ****

Extras: Only trailers for Red Billabong (which shows far too much of the monster for my liking), The Trust and Good Kids.

Score: *

WISIA: Except for the dodgy CGI bunyip, this was pretty good, so yeah, I’ll watch it again.

Red Billabong: Felicia Williamson intimidates Sophie Don with his American accent.