Tag Archives: Machete Maidens Unleashed

Machete Maidens Unleashed: American genre movies in the Philippine jungle

MaidensI love documentaries about filmmaking. Every now and again one of comes along that gives you a particularly fascinating insight into part of the world of cinema you never knew existed.

Machete Maidens Unleashed, the latest effort from the director of Not Quite Hollywood, Mark Hartley, is one of these films.

From the beginning of the seventies well into the early nineties, the Philippines was the location of choice for every American B movie hack (or visionary, take your pick) wanting to make a movie.

They churned out horror, action, and kung fu pics, Blaxsploitation, the classic Western-women-in-third-world-prison films (such as Big Dolls House), and a whole lot more, blurring all the lines and genres. They did a version of Jaws. They even ripped off James Bond in a low-budget cult classic called For Your Height Only, staring an 83cm Filipino dwarf called Weng Weng.

It is this largely unknown world of Filipino genre films that Hartley has turned his attention to in Machete Maidens Unleashed, which had its world premier in late July at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Hartley traces the origins of this wave of movies, from the first B-monster pics such as Brides of Blood to the arrival in the early seventies of independent cinema greats like Roger Corman, Joe Dante and John Landis, to Francis Ford Coppola’s bloated Vietnam era pic, Apocalypse Now.… Read more