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Fantastic Fest 2010: Machete Maidens Unleashed

Machete Maidens Unleashed
Directed by Mark Hartley
If you’ve seen Mark Hartley’s neat little 2008 documentary Not Quite Hollywood, you’ll have some idea of what to expect with Machete Maidens Unleashed. While Hollywood explores the fascinating world of Ozploitation films and Unleashed focuses on the exploitative and unique phase of American-Filipino film production, both are equally standard talking head documentaries which feature a steady flow of hilarious B-movie clips.

And that’s the reason to see both of these movies. It’s endlessly amusing to see actors schlocking it up in old exploitation films and to see them look back on them with a certain degree of unironic pride. In his introduction before the film, Hartley confessed that the audience would likely not learn anything new, but if you have any interest in Roger Corman, or films of the Roger Corman golden era, Unleashed is a worthwhile lesson in film-making that distinctly captures an era of production that will likely never be reproduced.

It’s telling that Unleashed shared a double bill with the new Corman produced Sharktopus, because there exists a considerable and tragic quality drop from the classic exploitation films and the B-movies going into production now. There are some remarks made throughout the documentary about the faux-importance placed on these films after the fact. And while qualities such as the feminist undercurrents to films like TNT Jackson and The Big Doll House may have been unintentional or overstated, they still capture an interesting cultural momentum that doesn’t quite exist in low-budget filmmaking today.  Also, as mentioned, the clips in Unleashed are gold.

– Emett Duff

Visit the official website for Fantastic Fest 2010