DVD Release: March 11, 2014
Review by James Klein
According to Wikipedia, the term “ozploitation” is and I quote: “films that are a type of low budget horror, comedy, and action films made in Australia after the introduction of the R rating in 1971. The year also marked the beginnings of the Australian New Wave movement, and the Ozploitation style peaked within the same time frame”. While I disagree that Ozploitation films had to be rated R (Patrick is a perfect example of an Ozploitation movie that was PG), the Australian market was flooded with lower budget movies made Down Under that exploited sex and violence back in the 70’s and 80’s.
Intervision’s jam-packed trailer compilation features more than 50 movie trailers of some of Australia’s most notorious and strangest films. For fans of movie trailer compilations like Grindhouse Trailer Classics or Synapse’s 42nd Street Forever series, this is a must buy.
The DVD is broken up into three genres: the sex comedies, horror/sci fi, and action. I found myself enjoying the trailers for the sex comedies much more than the other genres. Maybe its because if one clicks on “play all” it starts with the sex comedy genre which was fresh when I started watching. But to be fair, I had never seen some of these trailers and I found myself writing down titles that I wanted to add to my wish list such as Libido, Plugg, and Pacific Banana. The first trailer shown, The Naked Bunyip, looked like a strange documentary that I know could provide some laughs or at least an interesting time capsule. The ever popular Stork which I read about years ago in Shock Cinema is presented here. There is also a series of films starring a character named Barry McKenzie that looked like complete insanity, with one entry co-starring Donald Pleasence as a vampire named Count Plasma.
The Australian sex comedy genre was just as childish and immature as the good old U.S.of A. Plenty of slapstick, groan-inducing jokes that only an uncle or grandfather would laugh at, Benny Hill under-cranking and of course lots of Aussie melons all bouncing around and looking natural. A few trailers even throw in some 70’s bush which always gets a standing ovation from me.
The sci-fi/horror section was my least favorite as I had seen most of these trailers before. In fact, we have reviewed some of these films already such as Patrick, Thirst, and Dead Kids. There were a couple of films that did peak my interest though like the thriller The Last Wave, directed by Peter Weir and starring Richard Chamberlain, Nightmares which looked like an Australian giallo, or The Survivor which was Joseph Cotton’s final film. One of my all time favorite thrillers, Road Games, is also included on this disc. If you have never seen Road Games, you are missing out on one of the best suspense thrillers ever made. The DVD is now out of print and I am praying this will eventually find its way on blu ray.
Finally the action genre is given some props like trailers for The Man From Hong Kong starring George Lazenby, Mad Dog Morgan with Dennis Hopper, Race For Yankee Zephyr starring Pleasence and George Peppard and Attack Force Z starring Sam Neil and Mel Gibson. And speaking of Gibson, why is there no Mad Max trailer? Granted, everyone has seen the trailer a dozen of times but shouldn’t that be included since its the be all, end all of Ozploitation classics?
Like the Italians, the Aussies did have a tendency to rip-off certain Hollywood films like Sky Pirates (Indiana Jones) Fair Game (The Last House on the Left) and Time Guardian (The Terminator). There is also a strange superhero / musical called The Return of Captain Invincible starring Alan Arkin that I need to check out. I remember the VHS tape as a kid but never rented it out for whatever the reason was. Once I saw Christopher Lee in the middle of a musical number, I knew this was going on my wish list.
A fantastic documentary came out seven years ago called Not Quite Hollywood that is about the history of Ozploitation films. This trailer compilation would make a good companion piece with Not Quite Hollywood. While a few trailers do get repeated between the two, both DVD’s are worth seeking out.
While there are no audio commentaries or any other extras, it would have been nice to have maybe gotten at least an interview with someone like Brian Trenchard-Smith (director of Turkey Shoot and Dead End Drive-In just to name a few) or Bruce Spence (star of Stork who was also in The Road Warrior). Maybe even an audio commentary track by some historians, spouting off film trivia much like in the 42nd Street Forever DVD’s.
Regardless of the lack of extras, Ozploitation Trailer Explosion contains so many trailers for films that have not been released or have rarely been seen that I am sure will please not only exploitation fans but fans of film in general.