Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008)
Written and Directed by Mark Hartley
Over the past few years there have been a number of solid documentaries covering the gamut of exploitation films. Films like American Grindhouse and Nightmares in Red, White and Blue provided really good introductions to their respective subjects, but have been criticized for merely grazing the surface by more experienced fans. Anyone looking for an introduction would certainly get an education. However, if you're already well-versed in horror and exploitation, you may just find yourself feeling a little unchallenged.
Along comes Not Quite Hollywood, a catalog of the most infamous Australian softcore porn and adult comedies, horror, and high octane stunt-heavy action films from down under. If you're looking for a collection of more obscure and lesser know films and filmmakers, well, this is your place. Not Quite Hollywood covers a lot of ground, and includes profiles of many of Australia's best underground filmmakers, actors, and stunt people. The film covers a few of the more well-known offerings like Mad Max (and director George Miller) and Walkabout, but where it excels is bringing the viewer the full range of exploitation films from the nastiest, to the most outrageous, to the most successful. Hartley's film covers Australia's failed attempt at becoming a sought after area for major productions and the mechanics behind just why things didn't work out. Rising from the failure was an entire generation of totally fearless and reckless filmmakers that captured the quirkiness of Australian culture, dressed it up with gore, nudity, and car crashes, and unleashed it on an unsuspecting world.
The Man from Hong Kong
The film contains interviews with iconic figures in film such as Quentin Tarantino, Stacey Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dennis Hopper, and cinematographer John Seale. In addition to the Hollywood folks, Hartley speaks with the pioneers of Ozploitation such as filmmakers Brian Trenchard-Smith and the prolific David Hemmings. Each provide their own entertaining, heartbreaking, or mind boggling take on the best and worst aspects of Ozploitation, with Tarantino displaying a particularly enthusiastic stance on the subject. What's clear from all of them is that making a movie in Australia is a good bit saucier than anywhere else, especially considering the possiblitity that imminent death loomed over their heads during most productions. The productions were just as wild and lawless as the terrains, environments, and characters captured on film.
Not Quite Hollywood operates in three distinct cagetories: "Ockers, Knockers, Pubes and Tubes”, “Comatose Killers and Outback Thrillers”, and “High Octane Disasters and Kung Fu Masters". A lot of the films discussed might only be recognized by the most seasoned of fans and I found myself making a big list of films to seek out. I was happy to find a few old favorites referenced in the mix, such as Razorback, Strange Behavior, The Long Weekend, Dead End Drive-In, and Road Games. Despite recognizing of a number of films, I won't lie and say that this documentary didn't school me. I definitely made a huge list of films to seek out. Each category is covered well, and one never feels the subject has been glossed over.
Mad Dog Morgan
The standout portion of Hartley's film is the introduction to the absolutely insane stunt men who risked life and limb to pull off some crazy stunts. I mean, some of the stunts shown in the documentary are among the most outrageous I've ever seen and I can't even believe they were survived. When you witness Grant Page's truly death-definying stunt work, it's quite an exhiliration. Hartley's documentary is an incredible collection of some of the most dangerous car crashes and stunts captured on celluloid. The total recklessness most productions was probably the main reason they pulled them off so successfully. Without these rebellious pioneers Australia would likely have languished. Instead, the generation portrayed in the documentary has inspired a new generation of up-and-coming filmmakers and Australia is one again experiencing a resurgence in worldwide interest in their special brand of filmmaking.
Not Quite Hollywood Trailer