Friday, 30 January 2015

SPECIAL EVENT - Ozploitation (2015 Screening)

Looking at films and television...

Sparked by an interest in exploring the films explored in Not Quite Hollywood (2008) and a non-traditional way to celebrate Australia Day, we decided to turn to a night of Ozploitation.

As with Halloween it was split over two locations on different nights (neither of which were actually Australia Day) and with only a limited number participants.  The films were picked from those in NQH, which was divided into three parts (Sex comedies, Horror films and Action films) and so three films.  I was forced to pick the films, apparently because I'm not afraid of showing my dislike of the choices of others - although since we're going through a list seems unfair.  I assigned someone to pick the film for next time so it isn't down to me...

Alvin Purple (1973)

I picked this one because it's one I'd already seen and the peak of the Australian Sexploitation genre.  Alvin Purple (Graeme Blundell) is a young man in the 1970s who women (of all ages) - and a couple of open minded men) just want to have sex with.  That, of course, means lots of female nudity, and a quite a bit of naked Blundell.  Full of familiar faces, the film swings wildly between fun and creepy but I spent the whole time thinking about what a gender-swapped remake would like - very rapey and a lot more judgement made about the female Alvin then we get here (and there is a little bit).  But back the real film: some societal comment and a pointless car chase round out the film.

Road Games (1981)

A film about an America who drives a truck across the Australian desert, the random America hitchhiker he picks up and the blue van he thinks contains a serial killer.  This one I figured would be one of the OK ones from the list without draining the best from the list on the first viewing.  Some tense moments, certainly, but few and far between and the film doesn't pull the trigger on any of the possible turns it sets up, the end seems a little too trite and twist silly and not really shocking.  Without the final moment, it's not much exploitation to the film.  It's not art, but it's not B-grade either, but firmly in between.  Age, however, has not been kind to it and there are fair better films doing much the same thing since.

Dead End Drive-In (1985)

 I decided to pick one for the trash value, and this was it, but it didn't completely live down to that.  Welcome to a run-down future.  Not post apocalyptic, but well on its way without any apocalyptic event.  Because, you know, society's collapsing and the kids are out of control.  The world portrayed is interesting but cheap and obvious, but quickly moves to the drive-in of the title.  The premise of wasted, punk, sexually active youth being trapped in the drive-in is weak and more social commentary than a workable plot.  And then a racism subplot appears and leads to scenes seemingly stealing dialogue directly from some social-political play about suburbanites dealing with the issue of immigration, although in the long run the subplot only serves to have most of the cast elsewhere so as to not be killed off in the destructive final chase (presumably any non-racist characters or the Asians being complained about weren't as lucky.  It all leads to a massive stunt so big the film pretty much has to end there.  It's trash but really painful, if you ignore much of the acting (some if from recognisable - for older Australian audiences - faces).

Very different films, but a lot of car focus (Alvin has a car chase).  Some sex and nudity in all three with almost nothing but in Alvin, a little in Dead End and hints of it Road.  The variety of styles, I think, helped the line-up, no set of three matching any one of the films would have been an enjoyable night by the end, whereas, the changing styles kept things fresh.  An experiment, in my opinion, worth repeating.

~ DUG.

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