Machete Maidens Unleashed! The Naked Joys of Filipino Exploitation Films

By  · Published on July 2nd, 2010

I remember my first time like it was yesterday. The smooth and funky music beats, the naked flesh, the intoxicating emotions, the midgets, the decapitation, the giant rats… I’d seen some Australian exploitation movies previously, but the first time I watched the documentary Not Quite Hollywood (trailer here) I was filled with so much joy that it somehow manifested itself physically and shot from my body in a hot liquid arc across the room. Good times indeed, and well worth the extra clean-up fee.

And now it looks like those good times will be repeated as the folks behind that doc are at it again!

Machete Maidens Unleashed takes an equally unabashed look at the Filipino exploitation genre and promises just as much blood, babes, and zaniness as its Aussie predecessor. The film is funded in part by the Melbourne International Film Festival and will premiere there later this month. Director Mark Hartley is also the kind and twisted man who brought the world Not Quite Hollywood, so we know the Filipinos are in good and loving hands. Check out the trailer and synopsis below courtesy of the lovely people at Twitch.

Editor’s Note: We had to put the trailer behind an age-gate, as it is very much NSFW.

Fantastic. There are some recognizable faces on display (including Chuck Norris, Dick Miller, Pam Grier, and Weng Weng), but many of the scenes appear to be from movies I have yet to see. That’s great news as I’m still catching up on titles that were brought to my attention in NQH. One noticeable absence from the trailer when compared to the Australian doc is the lack of talking heads. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a blessing to not see Quentin Tarantino’s gigantic noggin rambling onscreen, but one of NQH’s many charms was the abundant amount of interesting and often hilarious anecdotes from filmmakers and critics active in the genre. Based on the synopsis though it looks like there will be some of that in the full feature.

From the early ’70s well into the ’90s the Philippines was a back-lot for a bevy of B-movie mavericks and cinema visionaries alike. The country was utilized for its inexpensive labour, exotic locations and distinct lack of rules. A large body of genre work emerged that somehow managed to capture the raw, chaotic energy of contemporary Filipino culture. These productions (a cavalcade of monster movies, jungle prison movies, blaxploitation and kung fu hybrids) were miraculously made at a time when the country’s political situation was repressive at best.

MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED! is the ultimate insiders’ account of genre filmmaking in the Philippines. A role call of local and international survivors from this period have been interviewed, all adding their distinct and honest account of this Devil-may-care school of filmmaking. Sitting alongside the talking heads are a dazzling array of outrageous film clips from key Filipino titles.”

What do you think about the trailer? What are your favorite Filipino exploitation flicks?

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.