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May 12, 2011 7:05 PM   Subscribe

Machete Maidens Unleashed! is a documentary about Filipino exploitation films of the 70s and 80s. It features interviews with Roger Corman, Joe Dante, John Landis, Sid Haig, Eddie Romero and is directed by Mark Hartley, who also directed the Ozploitation documentary Not Quite Hollywood. The film was started by Andrew Leavold and grew out of his as-yet-unfinished 'Search For Weng Weng', about the midget James Bond of the Philippines who starred in For Your Height Only and Impossible Kid (and inspired the Weng Weng Rap). You can follow Andrew's adventures through the world of Filipino filmmaking on his blog, Bamboo Gods and Bionic Boys. Several Filipino genre films are available online, including TNT Jackson (NSFW).
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (11 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I saw Machete Maidens Unleashed when it aired last night, and thought it was a really fun documentary. Lots of great quotes from Roger Corman, John Landis, and R Lee Emery. The only thing I didn't like was all the time spent talking about Apocalypse Now. It was only an hour film, and I didn't feel they could spare the time talking about a production that's already had several documentaries made about it. Otherwise it was very enjoyable to watch.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:09 PM on May 12, 2011

Is there a way to watch the documentary featured in this FPP online?
posted by hippybear at 7:43 PM on May 12, 2011

I saw For Your Height Only about 9 or 10 years ago, on a 4th or 5th generation videocassette, passed from person to person like some top secret message. It's weird, then funny, then ???, then boring, then absurd, then really drawn out, but after all that, if you've been able to hold out through all that, you are in for a scene that makes it all worth it.

(pro tip: don't just go look for that scene only. A large part of what makes it worth it is going through an hour and a change of enjoyment mixed with endurance. Just seeing the scene out of context will just ruin the magic, and it will seem only about 1% as entertaining as it could be. )
posted by chambers at 7:49 PM on May 12, 2011

Is there a way to watch the documentary featured in this FPP online?

I can't access Netflix or services like that, so I'm not sure. It's streaming at on ABC iView, but that's only viewable by people in Australia. There's probably ways around that.

It should be getting a DVD release soon. It's already out here.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:49 PM on May 12, 2011

My Dad's Filipino and taught me basic Arnis as a kid. Which made renting Arnis: Sticks of Death on VHS so cool back when it came out.

I remember being underwhelmed by the film but still, it was WELL before FMA became incredibly popular in the American martial arts community. Dan Innosanto's book was only published in 1980. Still have my original copy.

The very fact that it was a Filipino movie that had the kind of stick fighting my Dad had taught me, and that almost no one else at the time was doing, was just cool. I'd rented and watched far worse with less motivation at that age.

The movie itself was wonderfully cheesy in a Mitchell kind of way with less gut and schlitz and more beefcake and lumpia. Although I do remember thinking There could be more stick swinging and less talking going on.

But I treat my martial arts videos like my porn: fast forward past the talking to the action.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:52 PM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Metafilter: There could be more stick swinging and less talking going on.
posted by chambers at 7:53 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Weng Weng Rap is very dope.


I'll never forget a comment one of my friends made when Weng Weng got ready to square off with Mr. Big - "About time he fucked with someone his own damn size."
posted by BigSky at 7:53 PM on May 12, 2011

I saw both Weng Weng films on the big screen. Andrew Leavold sometimes comes to the Mu Meson Archives to screen them. They're just pure joy! The dubbing was added by an American producer who thought it was funny but they're just infectious. Weng Weng is just such a positive, lovable screen presence. You have to cheer for him. Apparently the Marcoses and the royal family loved him.

I really hope that Leavold finishes his version of The Search for Weng Weng. There's so much more that isn't covered by Machete Maidens.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:57 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

The movie itself was wonderfully cheesy in a Mitchell kind of way

I would love to head up a project for the United Nations, that (somehow) encourages every country to make their own version of Mitchell. Have 'em go to town on it, make it their own. See what happens.

We could all learn a lot about each other, like 'who is the Ugandan Merlin Olsen?' or 'Can the the Turkish John Saxon really be as cool as he seems?', or even find the musical wonders of a Sri Lankan take on Hoyt Axton's theme.

Joe Don Baker would present an award to the best version, then shoot the winner in the leg as they walk off stage. 'Cause hey, it's Mitchell!
posted by chambers at 8:12 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Watched it last night, bought the DVD this morning, and received a package containing two Weng Weng films from Andrew this afternoon.

Such a great project.
posted by cerulgalactus at 2:33 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

And also, Chambers - that is truly the best idea ever. It could run back to back with Eurovision.
posted by cerulgalactus at 2:36 AM on May 13, 2011

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