It's fitting that Quentin Tarantino is the first person onscreen to talk about Australian drive-in movies in Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! The Inglourious Basterds director has spent his entire career paying homage to the type of blood-soaked and boob-stacked films sampled here.
After a brief scene in which a bunch of social critics and
filmmakers attempt to link the growth of exploitation movies in the
early '70s to homegrown hippie culture, Not Quite Hollywood cuts
to one of the country's early genre pics, in which a drunken Aussie
snaps a kangaroo's neck. That pretty much sums up the films'
reputations among movie critics and highfalutin directors (though they
were mega-popular with the people they satirized, much to the
Who knew the land down under was such a fountain of exploitation
films in the '70s and '80s? Not Tarantino, who says he was lured by the
movies' blood, breasts and fast cars, not realizing they were
Australian-made until the actors opened their mouths. This fun and
enlightening documentary surveys a whole history that cult-movie fans
may be aware of, but mainstream moviegoers probably never even knew
Not Quite Hollywood covers T&A, gore and gonzo action
films, along with subcategories like kung-fu and biker flicks.
Australians Barry Humphries (better known as Dame Edna), George Lazenby
(who played James Bond in one film) and George Miller (who directed the
Mad Max movies as well as Babe: Pig in the City) weigh
in. So do Jamie Lee Curtis, Dennis Hopper and Stacy Keach, all of whom
collected paychecks for Ozploitation films.
On one hand, producers, screenwriters and directors welcomed the
opportunity to make movies people wanted to see. "If you have nubile
young ladies soaking each other under a shower, you're probably going
to attract some sort of audience," says one filmmaker. On the other
hand, actors weren't hired for their thespian skills. "My breasts were
reviewed, as opposed to my performance," bemoans one actress.
In reaction to these movies, prestige films like Picnic at
Hanging Rock were released to put Australia on the global movie
map. But exploitation filmmakers countered with a slew of slasher pics
like Inn of the Damned and a Psycho rip-off called
Patrick (which Tarantino cribbed in Kill Bill: Vol.
Most of the clips roll by fast (as do all of the talking heads), so
very few have a chance to distinguish themselves. Still, Tarantino's
exuberance is just the tip of this documentary's enthusiasm for these
films. Best of all, genre fans will find dozens of new titles to track
down (I had no interest in seeing Razorback, about an overgrown
killer pig, until Tarantino and others dissected it). Ironically,
Not Quite Hollywood is probably a better movie than any it pays