Ozploitation: Volume 2 (1975 - 1984)
By: David Michael Brown on August 24, 2009  | 
Umbrella Entertainment (Australia). Region All Regions, PAL. 2.35:1, 16:9 enhanced (Long Weekend, Razorback), 1.78:1, 16:9 enhanced (Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again, Stone, The True Story of Eskimo Nell), 1.66:1, 16:9 enhanced (The Chain Reaction). English DD 5.1 (Razorback only), English DD 2.0. 654 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Directors: Colin Eggleston, Russell Mulcahy, Ian Barry, Sandy Harbutt, Richard Franklin
Country: Australia
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Umbrella follows the outstanding Ozploitation Volume 1 set with another fabulous collection of the weird, wild and wonderful world of Australian Exploitation films.

Colin Eggleston's Long Weekend is an eerie, naturalistic thriller that pits a fueding couple against nature as they head to the beach to try and save their marriage. Based on a script by Everett De Roche, who also wrote Patrick, Road Games and Razorback, the film creates a genuinely unnerving atmosphere that is only sidetracked by an off kilter performance by Briony Behets. The film is beautifully shot by Vincent Monton and Eggleston shows himself as a talented director who should have gone further.

We all know Razorback, Russell Mulcahy's exercise in style over substance that was thwarted by budget restrictions and its giant mechanical pig. The outback has never looked so glorious as the director shows off the lessons leant shooting Duran Duran videos. You half except Simon Le Bon to leap out and kick the porcine marauder's bacon but alas, we have to make do with the malfunctioning animatronic porker chomping through the scenery instead.

Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again were the product of Ginanne's trip to the seedier side of Hollywood. The first Fantasm film was a huge hit at the Australian box office, giving couples an excuse to look at the wonders of John Holmes manhood and the curvaceous form of Russ Meyer starlet Ushi Disgart and a host of Seventies porn starlets. Basically both films are collections of erotic vignettes tied together with a flimsy plot. These porn-manteau however, rarely do more than titillate and work best as a peek back to that free living decade. Many will be surprised to see the names of Richard Franklin attached to the project but everyone has to star somewhere!

Steve Bisley stars in The Chain Reaction, a post Mad Max action thriller with an environmental message. The films features thrills galore as Bisley plays a daredevil mechanic mixed up in a government cover up of a toxic leak. Car tyres squeal into action and the Mad Max connections continue as George Miller handles the action in this likeable entertainment. Bisley exudes a warm Aussie charm as a man who wants a simple life of wine, women and fast cars who is forced to become a hero.

Stone is an exploitation masterpiece. Directed, written and starring Sandy Harbutt, he takes the role of a cop trying to infiltrate the notorious Gravediggers biker gang to try and discover who is killing of the hell's angels one by one. The gang live on the road; sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, preferably on the seat of a speeding motorcycle, is their mantra. The deeper our hero gets into their culture, the harder he finds it to get out. The fact that many of the 'actors' are real life bikers only adds to the film's gritty realism. It's an Aussie classic.

The True Story of Eskimo Nell follows the bawdy adventures of Dead Eye Dick and Mexican Pete on their hunt for the titular Nell. A translation of a saucy poem, the film is as close to a Western Carry On down under as you can get. The combination of comedy and history works well and there is nudity aplenty. Another of the saucy romps directed by Richard Franklin before he hit the tarmac with Road Games, this is actually a very well made
Once again the collection is a mixed bag but overall these are good transfers. The newer films obviously fair far better than the older ones but every film is easily watchable.
Likewise all the films sound good given clean, stereo mixes. Razorback has the added advantage of a thumping 5.1 mix so wins out overall.
Extra Features
Each disc is a replica of the previous Umbrella Entertainment single disc so here goes:

The classic Long Weekend includes a commentary with Executive Producer Richard Brennan and cinematographer Vincent Monton and a stills gallery accompanied by an audio interview with actor John Hargreaves.

The Razorback disc includes the fabulous 70 minute documentary Jaws on Trotters featuring interviews with director Mulcahy, make up man Bob McCarron, composer Iva Davies and the cast. Actor Gregory Harrison also provides a running commentary and the usual still & poster gallery and trailer complete the disc.

The extras in the Fantasm double set include Fantasm Penetrated in which producer extraordinaire Anthony. I. Ginnane tells tales of John Holmes, filming in LA and selling softcore pornography to the masses. The Documentary also includes some fabulous footage of Ginnane spruking his film back in the 70s. Stills, posters and trailers are also included,

The Chain Reaction's bonus goodies include Thrills and Nuclear Spills making of featurette, deleted scenes and some TV Spots. The most interesting extra is the short film The Sparks Obituary, an early short film from director Ian Barry. A nice inclusion as the film is referenced in the making of.

The Stone disc only features the extras on the first disk of the double disc set that Umbrella released last year. That means no Stone Forever documentary, no The Making of Stone, no slide show or make up test' all we get is the theatrical trailer.

The True Story of Eskimo Nell features interviews with the late Richard Franklin and many of the cast and crew who discuss how they managed to translate the infamous poem on screen, a photo gallery and Umbrella trailers are also included.
The Verdict
As with volume 1 this is great value; six Aussie classics for fifty bucks, go and buy it now. Any set that includes Stone, Long Weekend and Razorback cannot be ignored. Let's hope that Umbrella has a volume 3 ready to be unleashed soon.
Movie Score
Disc Score
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