Category Archives: Ozsploitation

Thirst: Australia’s first vampire film

Thirst 4Rod Hardy’s 1979 film, Thirst, now re-released by local distributor Glass Doll Films, is commonly referred to as a good example of Ozsploitation cinema, the term given to the wave of Australian low-budget horror, comedy, and action films made after the introduction of the R-rating in 1971. That description and categorisation doesn’t do justice to how good a horror film Thirst is in its own right, not to mention its place in the broader sub-genre of vampire cinema.

As well as being ahead of its time, Thirst borrows from the healthy lineage of vampire cinema in the late sixties and seventies, as well as horror cinema more generally, including the canon of stylish, erotic, vampire films that appeared in the seventies; Harry Kumel’sDaughters of Darkness (1971), Jesus Franco’s Vampyros Lesbos (1971) and Female Vampire (1973), and on the other side of the Atlantic, Stephanie Rothman’s The Velvet Vampire (1971). These fused art house sensibilities and soft-core porn aesthetics with horror tropes and sexual experimentation.

You can read my review of Thirst in full, here at the 4:3 site.

Pulp Friday: Scobie Malone & “our new Errol Flynn”

Movie newsSomething a little different for this week’s Pulp Friday.

I recently watched the 1975 Australian film, Scobie Malone, starring Jack Thompson. Also known as Murder at the Opera House and Helga’s Web, the latter from the title of the 1970 Jon Cleary it is based on, the film was long unavailable until its recent re-release by Umbrella Entertainment.

The plot involves larrikan Sydney homicide detective Sergeant Scobie Malone (Jack Thompson) investigating the murder of a women whose body is found in the Sydney Opera House. In the course of his inquires, Malone discovers the women, Helga (Judy Morris), was a high priced prostitute involved with several important clients, including the Minister for Culture (James Workman), who she was blackmailing, and film director Jack Savannah (Joe Martin).

There are numerous suspects for her death, including the Minister’s snobbish wife and a local criminal going by the wonderful name of Mister Sin (Noel Ferrier). The events leading up to Helga’s death are told in a series of flashbacks. Most of the police work is done by Malone’s hapless offsider (Shane Porteous), leaving the title character to spend most of his screen time having sex with a bewildering variety of women, including nearly all the female inhabitants of the singles only block of flats he lives in.… Read more

Crime Factory issue 13 is out

CF13-COVER

A heads up that issue 13 of Crime Factory is out (with cover design by the one and only Eric Beetner, who also did the cover for my novel, Ghost Money)

In this issue I talk to Dwayne Epstein, author of the new Lee Marvin bio, Lee Marvin Point Blank, about Marvin’s life and movies and what it was like to research a book on one of the true icons of masculine cool.

But that’s just one piece among many, including:

Michael A Gonzales interviews Gary Phillips and Tommy Hancock, creators of the new anthology, Black Pulp.

Ruth Dugdall talks working with and writing about criminals with Angela Savage.

Tom Darin Liskey gives true crime reportage from Indian Country.

Elusive Ozploitation icon Roger Ward is interviewed about his career by James Hopwood.

Plus Kennedy assassination pulp fiction (and no, I didn’t know such a thing existed either before this issue, either), great fiction and reviews.

It’s a bargain at 99 cents for the Kindle version or $5.99 plus postage for the print version.

Or, if you’re on a budget (or just stingy), you can download the PDF here for free.

And Melbourne folk, while I’m pulling on your coat about Crime Factory related matters, this coming Tuesday, May 14, Crime Factory Publications is proud to be teaming up with Cinecult 303 for a screening of Lee Marvin’s cult classic, Prime Cut (which I reviewed on this site here).… Read more

Pulp Friday: interview with Iain Mcintyre, author, Sticking it to the Man!

Today’s Pulp Friday is a fascinating interview with Melbourne-based social historian Iain McIntyre, author of a new book, Sticking it to the Man! Pop, Protest and Black Fiction of the Counterculture, 1964-75.

Sticking it to the Man! is a roller coaster ride through the lava lit streets of the counter-cultural pulp fiction of the late sixties and early seventies, a time when hippies, bikers, swingers and revolutionaries replaced cops and private detectives as pulp’s stable characters.

The book contains 130 reviews of pulps from the period covering all the major sub-themes: drug use, bikers, sleaze, blaxsploitation, hippies and dystopian science fiction. It also includes the covers in all their dog eared, price marked glory. It’s through books like this that the hidden history of pulp fiction is gradually pieced together. Sticking it to the Man! is a must read for every serious pulp fiction afficiando.

You can buy Sticking it to the Man! here. Copies will also be on sale at the launch of Crime Factory’s Hard Labour anthology, this coming Monday, October 8. Iain will also be talking about his book at the launch.

What is it about pulp fiction between 1964 and 1975, the period covered in your book that you find so interesting?

I’ve long had an interest in troublemakers, militants and odd-balls, and this was a period in which those normally relegated to the margins were able to have a major impact on culture and society.… Read more

Pulp Friday: Journey Among Women

“Savagery and passion amongst the wild women convicts of early Australia.”

Today’s Pulp Friday offering is Journey Among Women by Diana Fuller, published by Sun Books in 1977.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about out of print classic Australian books. Journey Among Women has long been unavailable and details about its author are also thin on the ground.

That the book lives on at all in our cultural memory is only due to the cult following of the movie version, released in 1977, scripted by Fuller and directed by Tom Cowan. Unlike the book, the film is available, although it’s not easy to get.

Set among the brutal colonial beginnings of Australia, the story centres on the daughter of a judge who runs away with a group of hard core female convicts. They establish a women’s only society in the remote bush, successfully defending themselves from the wild men who dwell there and the colonial police and soldiers trying to capture them.

Journey Among Women is apparently based on a true story, the escape of a group of female convicts from a NSW Paramatta stockade in our early colonial days. Shot on a small budget, the movie was by all accounts incredibly controversial due to its graphic violence, overt lesbianism and explicit nudity.… Read more