Join us as we explore the wild and offbeat cinema that played the roadshows, drive-ins and grindhouses.
The term "Ozploitation" was coined by director Mark Hartley for his superb documentary on the genre NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD. It was actually an abbreviated version of the word "Aussieploitation" created by Writer-Director Quentin Tarantino. The world of Australian exploitation covered a wide range of genres. From Comedies to Sexploitation to Biker and Hot Rod Films to Horror and even Kung Fu! Krikey! This volume of our series is dedicated to all the Wild and Crazy Exploitation Films From Down Under!
When it was released in 1971, WAKE IN FRIGHT actually caused controversy among Aussies because of it's lurid depiction of the countryfolk. Some considered it a bit too close to the truth which was interesting considering Director Ted Kotcheff was not even a native of the country. Upon re-release it was given the alternate title Outback and went on to gain cult film status. It is now widely regarded as a masterpiece of 70s Aussie cinema.
The sex comedy ALVIN PURPLE (1973) starring Graeme Blundell became the most commercially successful Australian film released up to that time, breaking the box office record set by Michael Powell's popular comedy They're a Weird Mob (1966). The follow up was called Alvin Purple Rides Again.
STONE (1974) is a film about a cop that goes undercover with an outlaw biker gang. It's particularly special because it was able to capture a certain period in Aussie Biker culture that was never seen again. Director/co-star Sandy Harbutt got the idea for the story in 1970 when he wrote a script for an episode of the TV series The Long Arm in which he was appearing.
Ozploitation never really caught on to the whole kung fu craze. The one notable exception is Brian Trenchard-Smith’s THE MAN FROM HONG KONG (1975). This was Australia’s own version of Enter The Dragon. It may not feature the eternal Bruce Lee, but it does boast martial arts icon Jimmy Wang Yu (The Chinese Boxer), in the only film he ever made where he was directed by a Caucasian. The stunts in this film are truly spectacular!
LONG WEEKEND (1978) follows an Aussie couple, Peter (John Hargreaves) and Marcia (Briony Behets) trying to save their marriage by going camping and rekindling their lost feelings for one another. Soon after they arrive at the beachside getaway their mistreatment of nature and various wildlife causes dangerous repercussions. A suspenseful, atmospheric Eco-thriller in the tradition of Hitchcock's The Birds.
MAD MAX (1979) takes place in a post-apocalyptic/dystopian future where Main Force Patrol officer Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) does battle with a nomadic gang led by the ultra maniacal "Toecutter" (Hugh Keays Byrne). The cars and bikes tear up the highways and the emotions soar in this adrenaline charged action classic. Several successful sequels followed.
In ROAD GAMES (1981) an American truck driver (Stacy Keach) crossing the Australian countryside picks up a hitchhiker (Jamie Lee Curtis). The two travelers join together to track down a serial killer who is killing women and dumping their dismembered bodies along desolate highways. A classic thriller directed by Hitchcock acolyte Richard Franklin.
"FAIR GAME (1986) isan outlandish B-movie filled with comic book violence, cartoonish villains and a bad ass heroine in the tradition of female revenge classics like I Spit On Your Grave and Ms. 45.
DEATH WISH at 120 DECIBELS! With STUNT ROCK (1978) Ozploitation auteur Brian Trenchard-Smith blended two forms of wild entertainment together creating the first stunt/rock n' roll film ever made! Aussie stuntman extraordinnaire Grant Page (The Man From Hong Kong, Mad Dog Morgan, Mad Max, Turkey Shoot) teams up with L.A. wizardry/metal band Sorcery in an action packed, hard rock fueled adventure. The movie doesn't have what you'd call a traditional plotline. As Brian Trenchard-Smith explains, its basically a 92 minute long movie trailer.