Fantastic Fest Review: Machete Maidens Unleashed


Director:Mark Hartley

Cast:Roger Corman, John Landis, Eddie Romero, Joe Dante

Running Time:85 Minutes


As a lover of film, I really appreciated Machete Maidens Unleashed. You can take a film course, or read a
book, but it's the stories and the specific detail that made this film
fascinating to watch.

Following the exploitation films of the 1970's, Machete Maidens focuses specifically on
the exploitation of the Philippines. There films could be made relatively
cheap, and were turning considerable profits. Actors and actresses didn't need
to be professional and extras were abundant.  All these films needed to succeed were breasts, blood and

I'll admit that when the film began it was hard to understand.  Machete
Maidens is built on interviews, and people and their titles flashed by in a
moment's notice. It took a few times before I recognized each interviewee and
could fully understand what they were talking about. Even their language,
mostly about film, was sometimes confusing, since the interviews were conducted
with directors, actors, and those in the film industry.

Once I got into the topic though, I was hooked. Not a lot of
resources have explored this period of exploitation. The film obtained footage
that was remarkable, and really added to the entire experience. Watching film
from a movie called Student Nurses, I
couldn't believe that there was an audience that went to these kinds of
pictures. But there was, and they came in droves. 

Basically, that's what this film was about too: money. Producer
Roger Corman was able to find directors in the Phillippines who would make a
quick picture about women in prison who break free, then he would sell it in
the United States and turn a sizable profit. Some would say, it was nothing
short of genius.

Of course, there's never one opinion and Machete Maidens Unleashed gave people the freedom to oppose.
Sometimes documentaries can be one-sided, but in this case the audience learned
several perspectives. It helped the film to be deeper and more enlightening.

I could see Machete Maidens
Unleashed again, as I'm sure there were a few things I missed the first
time. Either way, for anyone who is interested in the history of film, this one
is sure to broaden your horizons. 


About Katie Scott


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