4 days ago
Monday, November 14, 2011
Exposing Movies From The Philippines
Machete Maidens Unleashed is about the film industry that took off in the late 1960s through the early 1980s over in the Philippines. Prior to the late 1960s, the Philippines was churning out movies, but none of them were given an international release. But that all changed, and quickly. With cheap labor and some beautiful land to film on, directors flocked there to make movies. With a few exceptions, they were never big budget films, but they were a hit with drive-in theaters. Machete Maidens Unleashed is the story about this boom as told by the people that made the movies.
As much as I love watching low budget films, I can't say that I have watched all that many films that have come out of the Philippines. While Sid was introducing the movie to us, I noticed a couple of people get up and leave, and a few more left after the movie had been on a while. Even though I wasn't all that interested in the subject of the documentary, and I was ready to start heading back home, I still stuck through it. I figured I had watched all the other screenings, why skip out on the last one? Machete Maidens Unleashed mostly puts its spotlight on Roger Corman. It highlights films that Corman produced during this time. There are all kinds of interview clips from Corman as well. He isn't the only one though. There are also clips from Joe Dante, John Landis, R. Lee Ermey, Pam Greer and of course Sid Haig. There are many, many others that give interview clips as well.
One of the interesting things to come out of this documentary was that the woman involved in the movies felt that they were doing something important with them. Even though a big chunk of the movies showed women having bad things done to them, the women playing the parts still felt that they were important roles because they always came out on top despite of things. As they pointed out, women didn't get the lead roles in action films back then, except for these movies. I found Machete Maidens Unleashed more interesting when it got to this section of interview clips.
There is some interview clips from native directors, but really they aren't highlighted much. Since I don't know the history of these films at all, I don't know if it was because director Mark Hartley is just in love with Roger Corman, or if those films just didn't have the same impact. Still, it gives an decent over view of the films that were being made through this time period in the Philippines. It was also interesting to hear about the stunt work, and how dangerous it could be for the stunt people. Sid Haig pointed out before the movie that while he was working on The Big Bird Cage, extras were being paid $1 a day. He said most of them didn't care, they just wanted to be in a movie.
Machete Maidens Unleashed is an okay documentary. Sometimes it jumps around the movies being talked about that it is hard to keep track. I thought they were talking about one movie, only to discover they had moved on to some other movie. There are plenty of clips from movies they talk about, but not having watched any of them, they were somewhat pointless to me. The interviews were fun, and a lot of the things said was getting people to laugh at times. Horror movies that were done, which didn't seem to be many, are touched on, but not talked about for very long. Unless you are really into these films, or are interested in learning more about them, then I can't suggest going out of your way to find this one.
3 out of 5 Thinking they could have found a better title