While B-movie lovers genuinely understand, that what Americans were watching throughout the 70’s in then still widely popular drive-ins, was shot mostly in Philippines and other exotic countries… for newcomers it might come as a surprise. However, this fantastic documentary is NOT A GOOD PLACE FOR THEM TO START as it’s targeted specifically for classic exploitation cinema followers and I’m guessing that among this weird crowd it will find it’s purpose. After all, it talks about jungle movies, tits & ass, New World Pictures bunch, obscure spysploitation spoofs with Weng Weng, horrors with John Ashley and art of making sticky dive-in trailers. If you’re up for these themese, you’re gonna have a real ride with "Machete Maidens Unleashed!" as it definitely keeps the word unleashing almost everything there is to be unleashed.
Directed by Mark Hartley - who did a classy job on "Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story Of Ozploitation" documentary - this thorough look inside follows an exploitation timeline enlightening us about the beginning of American sponsored B-movies in Philippines from the first war movies, through cheap horrors and then stepping up to bring the story of Roger Corman and New World Pictures, who by their presence infuenced native Filipino directors and producers (the most obscure for the Western World), who by the middle 80’s cut couple of hundreds low-budget movies by themselves. What director did exceptionally well on this picture is he squeezed some real answers from the whole bunch of adventurous businessmen, directors, actors, editors and producers involved. Due to his priceless effort we get to know almost everything we’ve been always afraid to ask or because we just couldn’t afford this out-of-print book on obscure 70’s cinema. That’s where "Machete Maidens Unleashed!" breaks the ground in my opinion and that’s where it does the real favour. That’s quite difficult to undermine.
However, that’s not where this brilliant picture draws the line as it definitely generates a lot of new buzz around the exploitation cinema, which is accidentally or not coming back to life due to the rising interest in this style of directors and viewers! The exploitation revival has been a fact for the last couple of years, when we got such great movies as: "Planet Terror", "Black Dynamite", "Machete" or "Hobo With A Shotgun" and some less appreciated, but still fun to watch like: "Run Bitch Run!", "Nuns With Guns" or "Zombie Strippers". I personally don’t buy the arguments that they sometimes do not have a good plot (really???), or they’re in bad taste (hmmm?), or the acting is poor (sic!), or something else is wrong, for instance there is no Brad Pitt. Did "Big Doll House" have it? No, but it’s still a great brain junk. Even if you don’t like revival flicks, you love to feed your cravings with 60’s & 70’s classic, thus you will surely enjoy "Machete Maidens Unleashed!" and that’s why it’s been made for ya!
As a matter of fact, we lack tight, essential documentaries on the subject and in context of "Corman’s World…" arriving shortly, we might have a window to jump into the forgotten world of passion for the teen market when tits & ass were liberating feminine issues – an argument lifted primarily by the actresses in this documentary. When filmmaking was fun and the titles were often more important than the movies. When the trailes didn’t really concern a storyline and when you were making it for as little as you could making as much as possible (I’m fundamentally not at all against this concept) to be praised as a cult personality 40 years later! If all these things seem familiar and you were often pondering them stoned watching "For Y’ur Height Only", this is a movie to be enjoyed and rewatched!