A few very minor quibbles aside, I thoroughly enjoyed last night's preview screening of Australian filmmaker Mark Hartley's new documentary ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS. It has a similar visual style and format to Hartley's previous two film documentaries (NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD and MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED), making for a neat trilogy of studies on exploitation film genres and filmmakers that had (at the times of their release) been somewhat underappreciated and/or undiscovered by all but the most devoted of movie cultists.
ELECTRIC BOOGALOO is something of a cautionary tale, of two producers from Israel who lived the American dream until it became too big for them to handle. But for the most part, it is just an entertaining romp through an increasingly-distant period of prolific, low-budget maverick filmmaking. And while the studio are best loved for their exploitation output of the 1980's, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO reminds us that Cannon Films, and their head honchos Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, did have their name on some genuinely good films (such as 52 PICK-UP, EVIL ANGELS, RUNAWAY TRAIN and BARFLY).
Anyone who spent their weekends in the 1980's at the local video store hiring out tapes like MISSING IN ACTION, DEATH WISH II, INVASION U.S.A., MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, ENTER THE NINJA, INVADERS FROM MARS, BREAKIN' and LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER is sure to enjoy ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. At the Q&A after the screening, director Hartley announced that he has no more film-related works in mind for the future, in which case it is good to see him finish off with possibly the strongest of his doco-trilogy (I thought it was certainly better than MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED, which Hartley admits was mostly a work-for-hire job, and it may even head NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, at least after an initial viewing).