Mark Hartley’s extraordinarily entertaining 2008 documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story Of Ozploitation! looked at the neglected chapter of Australia’s exploitation era. His follow-up, Machete Maidens Unleashed! focused on the uncharted grindhouse credentials of Filipino filmmaking.
Now, for his latest (and self-proclaimed final) documentary, the Aussie filmmaker turns his attention to another wild, untold story – that of Cannon Films, distinguished by such OTT Eighties genre fair as Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce, the self-indulgent Death Wish sequels, Chuck Norris, street dance flicks like Breakin’ and enjoyably bad superhero claptrap like Masters Of The Universe and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
The infamous movie moguls behind this quantity over quality output were the no-nonsense Israeli dynamic duo of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, fearlessly relentless cinephile cousins who arrogantly attempted to take on Hollywood at their own game – and ultimately failed.
The brilliance once again is what a wickedly engaging ride Hartley makes out of all the production madness.
Aided by entertaining articulation from an exhaustive array of seasoned experts, (Dolph Lundgren, Richard Chamberlain, Tobe Hooper and numerous Cannon alumni), not to mention goldmine archival interviews from Golan and Globus (who declined to be interviewed shortly before announcing their own doc on themselves The Go-Go Boys!), this refreshingly candid exploitation exploration is mind-blowing in its bombastic production story revelations.
These include Golan directly pitching a project to the chimp Clyde from Every Which Way But Loose, and the hilarious mistake in casting Sharon Stone for King Solomon’s Mines after the producer actually meant Kathleen Turner when referring to ‘That Stone woman!’
A self-proclaimed Flashdance meets The Exorcist meets Enter The Ninja mash-up sequel that perfectly sums up the cousins’ uncompromising drive for turning tasteless regurgitation into potential profitability is also a highlight.
An unapologetically geeky, clip-heavy indulgence into two unashamed Hollywood outsiders, Electric Boogaloo is an essential guilty pleasure, and like Not Quite Hollywood, impossible to be bored by.