We’re not really sure who the hell Mark Hartley is, but over the last few years he’s become one of our favorite documentarians. After the giddy, go-for-broke fun of his “Not Quite Hollywood,” which exposed the rest of the world to the fast, cheap, and crocodile-infested world of Australian exploitation cinema, he set his sights on a similar cultural export in “Machete Maidens Unleashed,” about Phillipino expoitation cinema (and its relationship with western cinema). While not as gut busting and awesome as “Not Quite Hollywood,” if you told us we’d have to watch “Machete Maidens Unleashed” once a day, everyday, for the rest of our lives, well, we probably wouldn’t complain. Hartley is once again set to appeal to the little kid who stays up past his bedtime to watch questionable movies on late night premium cable, with his new documentary “Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.” We didn’t even know about this one yesterday, and now it’s one of our most anticipated movies of 2012.
For those of you who are not Chuck Norris enthusiasts or children of the ’80s, Cannon was an independent production and distribution company that started in the late 1960s but didn’t hit its stride until the late ’70s and into the ’80s when it was sold to Israeli cousins Menaham Golan and Yoram Globus. Once the studio was sold, it was refashioned as a kind of high-end exploitation house (and unofficially dubbed “the seventh major studio”), churning out things like the “Death Wish” and “Delta Force” movies, Tobe Hooper‘s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” and “Lifeforce,” Sly Stallone‘s “Cobra,” and seemingly endless “American Ninja” and “Missing in Action” movies. Additionally, they dabbled in art house fare, releasing John Cassavetes‘ “Love Streams,” Godard‘s “King Lear,” and the Oscar-nominated “Runaway Train.” They’re also notable for having a tenuous relationship with Marvel Comics that produced a failed “Captain America” movie and a lengthy lawsuit regarding a proposed “Spider-Man” project. But, really, it’s the schlocky stuff that people remember, and it’s certainly that angle that will most prominently be captured in Hartley’s documentary. Would you rather hear about their 1986 Best Foreign Language winner “The Assault” or cheeky behind-the-scenes gossip from “Masters of the Universe?” That’s what we thought.
‘Electric Boogaloo’ will be distributed by Drafthouse Films, the distribution arm of our favorite place to watch movies during South by Southwest, the Alamo Drafthouse. In addition to a theatrical roll out next year, there will be an accompanying Cannon Films touring retrospective. Hopefully all of the screenings will be held between 11 pm and 3 am, the ideal time to watch a Cannon movie (for some reason the crappy explosions just look so much better then). We really, truly cannot wait for this one. Just look at that gloriously EPCOT-y logo and tell us you don’t get goosebumps. And take a trip down memory lane with awesome one-sheets below (including one for the documentary itself).