Inside the crazy world of ’70s ‘Ozploitation’

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, August 13, 2009 7:01pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

A filmmaker is recalling an improvised special effect sequence in the Australian sequel “Howling 3: The Marsupials,” when he pauses to say, “So we got this mouse and put a werewolf fetus suit on it …”

A lot of things like that get said in “Not Quite Hollywood,” the crazed documentary in which this anecdote is told. The underbelly of Australian cinema is exposed for all to see in this film, and for aficionados of low-budget exploitation film, the view is hilarious.

“Not Quite Hollywood” (it has a subtitle: “The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!”) explains that when the Australian government took steps to energize a moribund national movie industry in the late 1960s and early 1970s, they not only got the classy, respectable titles bound for international greatness (“Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “Breaker Morant”), they got something else, too.

They also got the rude and the crude. Horror pictures, sexploitation and a certain kind of beer-swilling “bloke” movie destined to appeal to, shall we say, less refined Aussie moviegoers.

This documentary celebrates that explosion, gathering many of the filmmakers and actors involved in those wide-open days.

Certain projects attracted perfect storms of weirdness, such as “Mad Dog Morgan,” which had imported star Dennis Hopper running amok in the Outback, and “The Man from Hong Kong,” a kung fu picture in which an insufferable leading man managed to alienate just about everybody.

Our unofficial guide to this grindhouse world is, surprise surprise, Quentin Tarantino, who has lapped up dozens of deranged Down Under offerings and can quote them by memory.

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