Ripped from a movie geek’s most unhinged imaginings, Australia’s perverse undercinema of the 1970s and ’80s competed for attention with its more respectable offerings like Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. If Mad Max (a rare stateside success) is the only Down Under--and-dirty flick you remember, you missed out on a vital drive-in culture, one that Mark Hartley’s Not Quite Hollywood does a suitably supercharged job of chronicling. Clips from more than 80 genre gems are jaw-dropping: giant mutant pigs, exploding heads, abundant naked tits, ridiculously dangerous stunts. Even if you sometimes can’t understand the interviewees (accents are thick), you can’t doubt the authority of this doc, which took the better part of a decade to research and assemble.
Perhaps even more valuable than Hartley’s reclamation is his idea that it was outr exploitation work—such as 1971’s lowbrow Stork or the louche Barry McKenzie movies—that gave Australia its first taste of a popular cinematic identity, not Weir’s pretty girls in white dresses. All too often, comedies or horror films represent a ghetto; here was a different circumstance. Superfan Quentin Tarantino (an inevitable presence) notes gleefully that even the advanced Italians were ripping off Oz’s 1978 psychothriller Patrick. Not Quite Hollywood will exhaust you, but just as surely, it will send you digging.—Joshua Rothkopf
Opens Fri; Village East. Find showtimes
Three Ozploitation must-sees