Thursday, February 02, 2012

Machete Maidens Doc slashes it's way to my heart...

Australian filmmaker Mark Hartley directed this little nugget of a doc that for most people will be an eye opener into the original Grindhouse films shot in the Philippines from the mid 60's to the 80's. Anyone who is a fan of films will enjoy the interviews from present and past filmmakers who braved the East to bring films to the West drive-ins.

I will be following this up with Hartley's film, NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD and Hartley is currently in production on a new doc called, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS which I'm sure will be a great third installment.

MAIDENS is a well cut and wonderfully condensed piece of film history that gives you the nuts and bolts of what it was like shooting in the Philippines during the Vietnam era as well as Marcos' reign into power and how the filmmakers were able to utilize his military to add production value to their extremely low budgets.

The interviews are unabashed with John Landis delivering some spit fire as well as R. Lee Ermey's dislike of how soldiers were portrayed in APOCALYPSE NOW to Joe Dante, Jack Hill and Roger Corman to name a few.

Some of the best quotes come from the maidens themselves, Pam Grier, Gloria Hendry, Andrea Cagan and Judith Brown again to name a few. All intercut with their past clips of work which makes this also very titillating doc and one I took notes on for films I want to go back and re-visit.

It's also incredibly cool that Hartley was able to interview Eddie Romero who was one of the forefathers in creating these gems. No matter how little money he had to work with or nutty the script was, Romero always tried to make it the best film he could. Though from the interviews he seemed to distance himself from these films as years went on.

You understand now why the current trend of Hollywood Grindhouse movies don't work. As close as current filmmakers try, there is no way in hell that they could get away with what the originals had to offer unless you completely produce it yourself and maybe if you're lucky find distribution or just sell it yourself. I think this movement has now changed to the "backyard movies" which embodies the same concept of gore, terrible writing, cheap monsters with the exception of the lack of nudity.