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Australia 2010
Directed by
Mark Hartley,
84 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
4 stars

Machete Maidens Unleashed

Synopsis: Welcome to the crazy world of Filipino exploitation cinema in the 60s and 70s.

Following his comprehensive 2008 look into Ozploitation films in Not Quite Hollywood, director Mark Hartley is at it again with Machete Maidens Unleashed. Karate-kickin’ midgets! Paper-maiché monsters! Busty babes with big blades!  Hello!!

Covering the demented films of Filipino director Eddie Romero including Mad Doctor Of Blood Island, The Twilight People and Black Mama, White Mama; the dodgy martial arts thrills of Bobby A. Suarez like the Marie Lee-starring They Call Her… Cleopatra Wong and The One-Armed Executioner; and the wild and truly astonishing films of the pint-sized legend, Weng Weng - the clips from For Your Height Only are hilarious - Machete Maidens Unleashed is a fabulous trawl through a world where tin was the gold standard.

Hartley has conducted a huge amount of interviews including with Roger Corman, the man who almost single-handily resurrected the area as a trashy alternative to Hollywood; Jack Hill who kicked-started the woman-in-prison genre with The Big Bird Cage and The Big Doll House, introducing the world to ‘70s sexpot Pam Grier in the process; as well as with Joe Dante, Allan Arkush and Australian director, Brian Trenchard-Smith who edited many of the trailers on display. Of particular interest is the coverage of Apocalypse Now, the film that marked the end of the era.

Machete Maidens Unleashed is beautifully edited, every frame is put together with the same joy and obvious love of the subject matter that Hartley gave to Not Quite Hollywood. The film clips are not as pristine as the Aussie doco, but are still a delightfully delirious collection. After one watch you’ll be hunting down every one of these exploitation classics.

DVD Extras Disc One includes an audio commentary with director and crew, a Filipino exploitation trailer reel, The Oath of Green Blood, More stories from John Landis, Chris Mitchum and others, Fantastic Fest red carpet featurette, Fantastic Fest Q & A with Roger and Julie Corman, Mark Hartley and Tim League, poster and stills galleries and the original theatrical trailer. Disc Two includes the bonus feature The Muthers.




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