Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Reviews -- a Vampire Priest, a Masked Serial Killer and the Wild World of Aussie Exploitation!

It's been a fabulously horrifying week, what with the release of two straight-up horror movies and an unbelievably entertaining documentary about the golden age of Australian exploitation cinema, which included such genre gems as Razorback, Patrick and Howling III: The Marsupials, of which director Philippe Mora confesses that Nicole Kidman auditioned for the lead, but he chose Imogen Annesley instead. Not to mention vulgar sex comedies, white-knuckle road pictures and biker films (sorry, "bikie," as they say down under) up the wazoo.

Park Chan-wook's Thirst is the story of a gentle priest who becomes a vampire after a tainted transfusion and finds that bloodlust isn't the only unruly desire his condition awakens. There are a lot of ways that story could go, but as befits the director of Oldboy, Park takes it some weirdly unexpected directions. Let's just say it's not for Twilight fans. Read my review of Thirst here.

The Collector is a contemporary spin on the down-and-dirty home invasion movies of the 1970s. The Strangers is the classier modern-day variation on the theme, but you know what? Class, restraint and propriety are not a plus in this particular subgenre, which has also undergone a revival in Europe with the likes of Ils/Them and A l'interieur/Inside. Read my review of The Collector here.

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! is a blast from beginning to end — the interviews are frank, funny and revealing (and how did those Aussie sex-comedy stars wind up looking so great in their 50s without any evidence of nipping, tucking, botoxing or any other intervention?) and the clips are like beer nuts: After the first one, you're not getting up until the last one is gone. Read my review of Not Quite Hollywood here.

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achyfakey said...

Not Quite Hollywood sounds great. But a little digging shows Quentin Tarantino in the lineup of interviewees. Please tell me he has limited screen time. He may be a wealth of knowledge, but there's only so much of his coke-addled mannerisms that I can take in one sitting.

Plus, does he have to be involved in so many film retrospectives? He's taking up valuable screen time that could given over to our beloved Maitland!

miss flickchick said...

You make me blush!

Tarantino isn't intrusively all over Not Quite Hollywood, and credit where it's due: He's a fan at heart and he saw a hell of a lot of aussie exploitation in his day.

That said, one of the Australian exploitation pics that made the biggest impression on me isn't mentioned (unless I missed it in the non-stop barrage of titles, which is possible): 1988's Vicious!.

I was reminded of it by The Collector, because it's a classic home invasion picture. But what I didn't realize at the time, because his name couldn't have meant anything to me back then, was that co-screenwriter P.J. Hogan was soon to be famous as the writer and director of Muriel's Wedding, which also put Toni Collette on the international map.