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Machete Maidens Unleashed!

Where to Watch Machete Maidens Unleashed!

NR
2010

Machete Maidens Unleashed! is a fascinating and entertaining documentary that explores the machete-wielding and scantily clad heroines of Filipino exploitation cinema, a genre that flourished throughout the 1960s and 70s. Directed by Mark Hartley, the film features interviews with industry veterans such as Roger Corman, John Landis, Joe Dante, and Pete Tombs, who reflect on their experiences working with Filipino directors and crews and making low-budget, high-octane movies that combined elements of action, horror, and erotica.

The documentary begins with a brief overview of the history of the Philippines, which was under U.S. colonial rule from 1898 to 1946 and remained a U.S. ally during the Cold War. This geopolitical context set the stage for an influx of American filmmakers and studios, who began shooting movies in the Philippines to take advantage of the low costs, exotic locations, and talented crew members. However, rather than simply import American culture to the Philippines, the filmmakers discovered a rich and vibrant local film industry that was eager to collaborate and innovate.

The heart of the documentary is a series of interviews with actors and directors who worked on Filipino exploitation films, particularly those featuring women as the protagonists. These movies often had lurid titles like The Big Bird Cage, Women in Cages, and Black Mama, White Mama, and featured graphic violence, nudity, and sex. However, they also had a subversive and liberating quality, as they presented women as strong, independent, and resourceful characters who used their wits and weapons to fight against corrupt authorities, oppressive regimes, and exploitative men.

One of the key figures in Filipino exploitation cinema was director Eddie Romero, who made over 60 films in his career and is considered a national treasure in the Philippines. Romero's movies often had a political edge, reflecting the turbulent times in which they were made, and featured memorable characters such as the female assassin played by Pam Grier in the iconic film Black Mama, White Mama. Another important director was Cirio H. Santiago, who made over 100 movies and was known for his fast-paced action sequences and innovative use of low-budget special effects.

The documentary also explores the role of female actors in Filipino exploitation cinema, who were often asked to perform risky stunts, fight scenes, and nude scenes. However, many of these actors embraced the challenge and saw it as a way to break free from traditional roles and stereotypes. One of the most memorable interviews in the film is with actress Margaret Markov, who starred in several films directed by Santiago and Romero and talks candidly about the ups and downs of her career.

Alongside the interviews, the documentary features an impressive array of clips from Filipino exploitation films, which showcase the vibrant and audacious style of the genre. These clips range from the infamous scene in The Big Bird Cage where women are forced to roll around in mud while being whipped by guards, to the epic fight scene in The Woman Hunt where a female warrior battles a gang of armed men in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The film also features a lively and eclectic soundtrack that includes everything from Danny Elfman's score for The Forbidden Zone to the electric guitar riff from The Big Bird Cage.

The documentary concludes with a reflection on the legacy of Filipino exploitation cinema and its influence on filmmakers around the world. From Quentin Tarantino's homage to Pam Grier in Jackie Brown to Robert Rodriguez's use of Filipino actors and crew members in movies like Machete and Sin City, the spirit and style of these films continue to inspire and entertain audiences today. Machete Maidens Unleashed! is a must-see for fans of cult cinema and anyone interested in the history of globalization, media, and popular culture.

Machete Maidens Unleashed! is a Documentary movie released in 2010. It has a runtime of 84 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.3..

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7.3/10
Director
Mark Hartley
Stars
Carmen Argenziano, Allan Arkush , John Ashley
Also starring John Landis
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