Weekly Film Recap #14 (Ozploitation)

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When the Australian New Wave was well underway in the early 70’s, a more niche wave of Australian cinema was also evolving… Ozploitation! The term was coined by noted exploitation fan Quentin Tarantino and became a staple of Australian cinema. As we learned while studying Roger Corman’s exploitation films, these films dive into specific genres, usually horror, sci-fi, or action, and exploit a certain niche group, usually the counter-culture. Ozploitation dove into all these genres, specifically horror, but gave them all a unique twist since they all dealt with exploiting certain norms of Australian culture. These films specialized in massive car chases, exaggerated violence, and blatant nudity all set to the beautiful backdrop of Australia in the 70s and 80s! Not only do they make up some of the most entertaining movies in cinema, but they also provide viewers with insight and knowledge into a culture that may be foreign to us.

Night of Fear     (dir. Terry Bourke)   Terry Bourke’s eerie slasher film  Night of Fear  was one of the first films to really exploit unbearably gruesome violence after the rating system introduced the ‘R’ rating in Australia in 1971.  The film drops in on a young woman who gets stranded in the woods. All is alright until an unstable hermit begins following her and attempts to lure her into his home.   Night of Fear  is a film unique in it’s own very special way. None of the characters have any names and even more so, there is no dialogue either! Bourke focuses the audiences attention toward the physical displays of fear and anxiety, foregoing any kind of explanation through dialogue or characterization. The importance of the film seems to lie in its ability to depict true fear and violence and nothing more. It ended up working pretty well and many will argue that  Night of Fear  might have been the impetus that sparked the initial ideas for one of the most famous and revolutionary slasher films of all time:  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre !    3/5     WATCH: Prime Video

Night of Fear

(dir. Terry Bourke)

Terry Bourke’s eerie slasher film Night of Fear was one of the first films to really exploit unbearably gruesome violence after the rating system introduced the ‘R’ rating in Australia in 1971.

The film drops in on a young woman who gets stranded in the woods. All is alright until an unstable hermit begins following her and attempts to lure her into his home.

Night of Fear is a film unique in it’s own very special way. None of the characters have any names and even more so, there is no dialogue either! Bourke focuses the audiences attention toward the physical displays of fear and anxiety, foregoing any kind of explanation through dialogue or characterization. The importance of the film seems to lie in its ability to depict true fear and violence and nothing more. It ended up working pretty well and many will argue that Night of Fear might have been the impetus that sparked the initial ideas for one of the most famous and revolutionary slasher films of all time: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre!

3/5

WATCH: Prime Video

Long Weekend     (dir. Colin Eggleston)    Long Weekend  is one of the most fun films to blossom out of the Ozploitation movement. Written by Ozploitation legend Everette DeRoche,  Long Weekend  follows a couple desperately trying to save their marriage. Their solution is a camping trip over the long weekend. The recklessly self-centered couple spends the weekend utterly disregarding the needs of nature around them… However, it’s only a matter of time before nature starts fighting back.   Long Weekend  exploited Australia’s beautiful scenery and created this tale of karma, most likely, in hopes to sway people from littering and otherwise destroying Australia’s beautiful landscape. As these animals begin to torment the couple, we get a better look into the human condition and see that people only act so recklessly when they think they can’t be held responsible for their actions.    4.5/5     WATCH: YouTube

Long Weekend

(dir. Colin Eggleston)

Long Weekend is one of the most fun films to blossom out of the Ozploitation movement. Written by Ozploitation legend Everette DeRoche, Long Weekend follows a couple desperately trying to save their marriage. Their solution is a camping trip over the long weekend. The recklessly self-centered couple spends the weekend utterly disregarding the needs of nature around them… However, it’s only a matter of time before nature starts fighting back.

Long Weekend exploited Australia’s beautiful scenery and created this tale of karma, most likely, in hopes to sway people from littering and otherwise destroying Australia’s beautiful landscape. As these animals begin to torment the couple, we get a better look into the human condition and see that people only act so recklessly when they think they can’t be held responsible for their actions.

4.5/5

WATCH: YouTube

Next of Kin     (dir. Tony Williams)    Next of Kin  is a supernatural horror film that found a second rush of popularity after Quentin Tarantino thoroughly praised it’s creepy atmosphere and story. In fact, Tarantino went on to compare  Next of Kin  to Kubrick’s  The Shining , in terms of creating and sustaining a singular, terrifying atmosphere.   Next of Kin  follows a young lady who inherited a nursing home from he recently deceased grandmother. The nursing home was a place where this young lady spent a great deal of time as a child and as she begins to look after the old estate, she starts experiencing supernatural phenomena.  Now, I personally won’t go as far as to say that the film deserves to stand next to  The Shining , but I do see what Quentin means. Williams did a great job at sustaining a singular, unnerving mood for most of the film, this being perhaps the most memorable aspect of the film. Nonetheless,  Next of Kin  works on many levels and is not only a staple of the Ozploitation movement, but has become a horror staple, altogether!    3/5     WATCH: iTunes

Next of Kin

(dir. Tony Williams)

Next of Kin is a supernatural horror film that found a second rush of popularity after Quentin Tarantino thoroughly praised it’s creepy atmosphere and story. In fact, Tarantino went on to compare Next of Kin to Kubrick’s The Shining, in terms of creating and sustaining a singular, terrifying atmosphere.

Next of Kin follows a young lady who inherited a nursing home from he recently deceased grandmother. The nursing home was a place where this young lady spent a great deal of time as a child and as she begins to look after the old estate, she starts experiencing supernatural phenomena.

Now, I personally won’t go as far as to say that the film deserves to stand next to The Shining, but I do see what Quentin means. Williams did a great job at sustaining a singular, unnerving mood for most of the film, this being perhaps the most memorable aspect of the film. Nonetheless, Next of Kin works on many levels and is not only a staple of the Ozploitation movement, but has become a horror staple, altogether!

3/5

WATCH: iTunes

BMX Bandits     (dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith)   In our recap of the Australian New Wave, we noted that  Dead Calm  was particularly important for being a big early role for Nicole Kidman. But, 6 years before that a 16 year old Kidman made her mark with Ozploitation classic  BMX Bandits!    BMX Bandits  is centered on a group of three friends, with Kidman being one of them, who spend their days riding their BMX bikes all around Sydney. One day, they come across a box full of walkie-talkies that, unknowing to them, connect to police radio waves. These walkie talkers were meant to be collected by a group of robbers ready to pull a heist, but now they have to go retrieve their walkie talkies from these three young friends.   BMX Bandits  encompasses a lot of corny aspects and it’s by no means an influential staple in cinema, but it’s important for history’s sake to see Kidman acting in a very early role under one of Ozploitations most notable directors: Brian Trenchard-Smith!    3/5     WATCH: iTunes

BMX Bandits

(dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith)

In our recap of the Australian New Wave, we noted that Dead Calm was particularly important for being a big early role for Nicole Kidman. But, 6 years before that a 16 year old Kidman made her mark with Ozploitation classic BMX Bandits!

BMX Bandits is centered on a group of three friends, with Kidman being one of them, who spend their days riding their BMX bikes all around Sydney. One day, they come across a box full of walkie-talkies that, unknowing to them, connect to police radio waves. These walkie talkers were meant to be collected by a group of robbers ready to pull a heist, but now they have to go retrieve their walkie talkies from these three young friends.

BMX Bandits encompasses a lot of corny aspects and it’s by no means an influential staple in cinema, but it’s important for history’s sake to see Kidman acting in a very early role under one of Ozploitations most notable directors: Brian Trenchard-Smith!

3/5

WATCH: iTunes

Razorback     (dir. Russell Mulcahy)   Spielberg really changed the game with  Jaws . He showed that he could take an exploitation film and popularize it to the mainstream. Thanks to it’s success, we got plenty of unique ‘copy-cats’ such as  Razorback .   Razorback  takes the  Jaws  formula and follows a hunter as he attempts to track down a mutant sized razorback that’s been terrorizing him and others in the Australian outback.  I personally find  Razorback  especially exciting and special because of it’s editing. The story isn’t particularly game-changing, considering it’s structure is very similar to  Jaws , but it takes a story that is completely unique to Australia and presents it in a fresh, fast-paced, exciting manner!  Razorback  is pure 80’s exploitation fun!    4/5     WATCH: iTunes

Razorback

(dir. Russell Mulcahy)

Spielberg really changed the game with Jaws. He showed that he could take an exploitation film and popularize it to the mainstream. Thanks to it’s success, we got plenty of unique ‘copy-cats’ such as Razorback.

Razorback takes the Jaws formula and follows a hunter as he attempts to track down a mutant sized razorback that’s been terrorizing him and others in the Australian outback.

I personally find Razorback especially exciting and special because of it’s editing. The story isn’t particularly game-changing, considering it’s structure is very similar to Jaws, but it takes a story that is completely unique to Australia and presents it in a fresh, fast-paced, exciting manner! Razorback is pure 80’s exploitation fun!

4/5

WATCH: iTunes

Dead End Drive-In     (dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith)   Brian Trenchard-Smith clearly had a fixation with making explosive (no pun intended) films that really exploited Australia’s young, counter-culture and none of them are quite as fitting within this niche as  Dead End Drive-In .    Dead End Drive-In  follows a young couple trying to spend some alone time together at the local drive-in. While in there, though, the wheels from their car get stolen and they’r eventually informed that they’re never allowed to leave the drive-in. Unbeknownst to them, the drive-in is now a concentration camp used to house all the societal rejects in Australia. From junkies to thieves to goths, the Dead End Drive-In is a counter-culture paradise, but only for those who identify with the counter-culture.   Dead End Drive-In  is the ultimate film for  misunderstood kids worldwide and in the process, makes an essential Ozploitation classic. In fact, Trenchard-Smith set two records for the final stunt in the film.  First, was for most expensive stunt in Australia at the time, costing $75,000, while the second was a world record for longest jump by a truck after jumping a truck 162 feet!     4/5     WATCH: iTunes

Dead End Drive-In

(dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith)

Brian Trenchard-Smith clearly had a fixation with making explosive (no pun intended) films that really exploited Australia’s young, counter-culture and none of them are quite as fitting within this niche as Dead End Drive-In.

Dead End Drive-In follows a young couple trying to spend some alone time together at the local drive-in. While in there, though, the wheels from their car get stolen and they’r eventually informed that they’re never allowed to leave the drive-in. Unbeknownst to them, the drive-in is now a concentration camp used to house all the societal rejects in Australia. From junkies to thieves to goths, the Dead End Drive-In is a counter-culture paradise, but only for those who identify with the counter-culture.

Dead End Drive-In is the ultimate film for misunderstood kids worldwide and in the process, makes an essential Ozploitation classic. In fact, Trenchard-Smith set two records for the final stunt in the film. First, was for most expensive stunt in Australia at the time, costing $75,000, while the second was a world record for longest jump by a truck after jumping a truck 162 feet!

4/5

WATCH: iTunes

Dark Age     (dir. Arch Nicholson)   Yet another structural doppelgänger to  Jaws ,  Dark Age  is easily the best ‘Croc’ movie to ever be made and might actually be the one of the best ‘creature-features’ to come out of Australia altogether.  Dark Age  made a much more blatant  Jaws  parody, but that’s not to say that it didn’t work. From ripping the famous dolly-zoom shot in  Jaws  to even including certain plot points that were in  Jaws ,  Dark Age  works far better than  Razorback .   Dark Age  follows a ranger who’s been assigned to take down a massive salt water croc that’s been terrorizing the people of Queensland. Things get more and more difficult as he learns that the aboriginals see this croc as an essential, spiritual figure in their culture.   Dark Age  saw that  Jaws  worked because it was realistic and fed on the practical fears of the audience. What  Dark Age  did was give Australia their very own  Jaws , something I’m sure Mulcahy hoped was going to happen with  Razorback .    4.5/5     WATCH: YouTube

Dark Age

(dir. Arch Nicholson)

Yet another structural doppelgänger to Jaws, Dark Age is easily the best ‘Croc’ movie to ever be made and might actually be the one of the best ‘creature-features’ to come out of Australia altogether. Dark Age made a much more blatant Jaws parody, but that’s not to say that it didn’t work. From ripping the famous dolly-zoom shot in Jaws to even including certain plot points that were in Jaws, Dark Age works far better than Razorback.

Dark Age follows a ranger who’s been assigned to take down a massive salt water croc that’s been terrorizing the people of Queensland. Things get more and more difficult as he learns that the aboriginals see this croc as an essential, spiritual figure in their culture.

Dark Age saw that Jaws worked because it was realistic and fed on the practical fears of the audience. What Dark Age did was give Australia their very own Jaws, something I’m sure Mulcahy hoped was going to happen with Razorback.

4.5/5

WATCH: YouTube