Prior to the 1970s Australia did not really have a film industry. The 1970s then saw the flowering of the Australian New Wave, as represented by the likes of Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and Fred Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978).
The popular genre cinema that in some respects laid the basis for the New Wave has, however, remained little known outside of its home country. This is despite the facts that some well-known names worked in it as well as on more celebrated fare and that many of the films are just as good – for certain definitions of good – as their US counterparts.
In this season we showcase five of the best Australian exploitation films of the period along with a retrospective documentary on the movement to introduce them.
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!
Mark Hartley | Australia / USA | 2008 | 108 minutes
The story of “Ozploitation” movies, of a time when Australian cinema showed an explosion of sex, violence, horror and action. Includes anecdotes, lessons in maverick filmmaking and a genuine love of Australian movies. It moves through Aussie genre cinema of the 70s and early 80s –an unjustly forgotten cinematic era.
Sandy Harbutt | Australia | 1974 | 103 minutes
When several members of the Gravediggers outlaw motorcycle club are murdered, Sydney detective Stone is sent to investigate. Amid violent confrontations with the Black Hawks, a rival gang the GraveDiggers hold responsible, Stone uncovers a wider conspiracy behind the killings and must decide between his job and loyalty to the GraveDiggers…
The Man from Hong Kong
Brian Trenchard-Smith | Australia / Hong Kong | 1975 | 111 minutes
This Australia/Hong Kong co-production is an odd, but highly entertaining mix of martial arts, stunts, chases and 70s crimes against taste. One-time James Bond George Lazenby is the bad guy, an international drug lord, One-Armed Boxer and One-Armed Swordsman Jimmy Wang Yu the (two-armed) Hong Kong cop sent to Sydney to bring him down, no matter what it takes…
Colin Egglestone | Australia | 1978 | 92 minutes
A feuding couple whose marriage is slowly falling apart set out on a camping trip along a remote Australian coastline to hopefully rekindle their love. The trip doesn’t go to plan and they take their stress out on the environment. It then retaliates…
Richard Franklin | Australia | 1978 | 112 minutes
After the shocking bathtub death of his mother and her lover, the sinister Patrick lays comatose in a small private hospital, his only action being his involuntary spitting. When a pretty young nurse, just separated from her husband, begins work at the hospital, she senses that Patrick is communicating with her, and he seems to be using his psychic powers to manipulate events in her life.
Turkey Shoot AKA Blood Camp Thatcher
Brian Trenchard-Smith | Australia | 1982 | 89 minutes
In the then-near future of 2000 “deviants” are incarcerated in a prison camp and subjected to “re-education” and occasional use as the targets in a human hunt. The film was re-titled Blood Camp Thatcher in the UK, capitalising on the camp commandant’s surname being the same as the then-Prime Minister.