Bionic Boy Productions, Fury Productions,

Carmen Argenziano, Allan Arkush, John Ashley, Alan Birkinshaw, Judith M. Brown, Andrea Cagan, Colleen Camp, Steve Carver, Leigh Christian, Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Jon Davison, Marissa Delgado, Nick Deocampo, Pam Grier, Sid Haig, John Landis

Back in the 70’s and 80’s the B filmmakers realized there was a terrific bargain to be had by filming in the Philippines. Marcos had just declared martial law, and part of the result of the was Richard Nixon pulling the plug on financial aid and support, so licensing movie shoots was a great way to raise money. Meanwhile, for the movie makers, it was a real bargain, and nobody regulated or monitored whatever they did. They were pretty free to do whatever they wanted. No unions requiring humane treatment. Actors could live in grass huts, get eaten alive by mosquitoes, and do all their own back breaking stunts. Rumor was even that one of the girls who went over there never was heard from again. To add to the fun, they B movie moguls like Roger Corman, Joe Dante, John Landis, Sid Haig, and Eddie Romero found an unlimited demand for cheesy movies that could be made for practically nothing for the Drive-In circuit. Horror, titilation, and fighting ladies, they went through the jungle GI Joe films, to the horror films, to the girls in prison films and on and on. The kept cranking them out until eventually the actors got more sophisticated, the drive-ins closed, and the demand dried up, not to mention the ratings systems came in and censoring was in vogue. But during the time it was cranking out films by the dozens, and this documentary shows us all about the times and adventures of these people.

I was living in the Philippines from 1971 through 1974, and was completely unaware of the whole genre, until I got home and started watching the late night horror films on TV and began to realize the jungle warriors were speaking Tagalog (the primary language in the Philippines). The largest film to come out of this period was Apocalypse Now. Most of the others, with titles like Buckets of Blood and Caged Women were not quite so big budget. This is an interesting documentary covering the whole period with interviews of both directors and actors, as well as from the rest of the crew, with lots of anecdotes, and clips from the films from that time.

This documentary is in the style and mood of the films themselves, and I found it quite interesting. This was the beginning of the “strong woman hero” film, where the girls appear to be sexualized and trivialized, and then turn around being the tough warriors that pay their captors back and lead their escape. This was something new for Hollywood where the ladies were always the fair damsels that needed to be rescued. It was a two edged sword.

This documentary doesn’t pull any punches. It is fair and doesn’t try to put make-up on the pig, but it shows the good side as well as the bad side. All in all, it’s one of those stories that isn’t known very well by the movie watching public, and will be interesting for those who are interested in how the movie business works. It was truly a business, and the bottom line was king.

Not for the faint of heart. The films then were a lot bolder than they are now, and the clips don’t hide the half naked babes, but it was all done in fun, and nobody really paid much attention to the screen in those Drive-in double features anyway. They just needed a constant stream of mulch to keep the screen lit up every week.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog *** NOTE: This trailer is also unrated”



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