Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010) - full transcript

Karate-kicking midgets! Paper-mache monsters! Busty babes with blades! Filipino genre films of the '70s and '80s had it all. Boasting cheap labour, exotic scenery and non-existent health and safety regulations, the Philippines was a dreamland for exploitation filmmakers whose renegade productions were soon engulfing drive-in screens around the globe like a tidal schlock-wave! At last, the all-too-often overlooked world of drive-in filler from Manilla gets the Mark Hartley (NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD) treatment in Machete Maidens Unleashed! This is the ultimate insiders' account of a faraway backlot where stunt men came cheap, plot was obsolete and the make-up guy was packing heat! Machete Maidens Unleashed! features interviews with cult movie icons Roger Corman, Joe Dante, John Landis, Sid Haig, Eddie Romero and a large assembly of cast, crew and critics, each with a jaw-dropping story to tell about filmmaking with no budget, no scruples, no boundaries and - more often than not - no clothes. Strap yourselves in - and join us for a non-stop Filipino femme-fest, all the way from the jungles of the Pacific via the trash cans of the critics!

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Where is everybody going?

To the refreshment center.

It's everybody's favorite spot
for delicious, tasty food,

from a snack to a full meal.

Plus all the extras, including
gum, ice cream, candy.

Make your evening at this
drive-in even more enjoyable.

The refreshment stand
has everything

to make your visit
here a pleasant one.

Why not get something now?

This contains
70,000 feet of film,

reduced to the most terrifying
90 minutes every made.

We were giving the audience
what they wanted to see.

The most grotesque creations

we ever dared to show you
on screen!

We did not have stars,

so we had to exploit
the subject matter.

A tremendous social revolution
is taking place.

Here, for the first time,
is the story of that change.

And I fully accept
the statement

we were making
exploitation films.

really is about ballyhoo.

It's about marketing.

I have here the upchuck cup,

a little item passed out
by the management

to remind you that if you can't
take the current double bill

of horror films
called frenzy of blood,

that you'd better not come.

So in exploitation films,

if you're selling sex,

it's "the girls with
the biggest breasts,

"and the most beautiful teeth,
and the most luscious thighs,

and you can have them,
if you come to this theater!"

You know, I mean,
that's what they're saying.

It's sort of like,

"never before
have you seen material

so ripe for masturbation!"

A titillating motion picture

of a young girl looking
for fun and kicks.

The truth is,

exploitation implies
lower budget and second run.

One of the things
about low-budget is

you go where
it's cheapest to make movies,

and that is really where
the Philippines come in.

You've got jungles,

you've got girls
who you can exploit.

You've got everything,
and you get it cheap.

So many of these exploitation
films made there

were made for the United States,
Australia, and Europe.

These were Western-style Roger
corman tits and ass movies,

marcos said, "come on down.
I'll give you the army."

¶ Let's go ¶

¶ where the action is ¶

¶ come on, let's go ¶

¶ where the action is ¶

¶ I said one one, two two ¶

¶ three, four, five ¶

¶ come on, everybody, ¶

¶ let me know you're alive ¶

¶ seven, six, five, four ¶

¶ three, two, one ¶

¶ don't stop dancin'
if you're having fun ¶

¶ let's go ¶

¶ where the action is ¶

¶ come on, let's go ¶

¶ where the action is ¶

¶ let's go ¶

American movies that
were shot in the Philippines

in the '60s and '70s
and through to the '80s

were basically low-budget
drive-in movies.

American companies would come
into the Philippines

and use it as a backdrop.

They weren't sold as
Filipino movies.

They were sold as
jungle action movies,

and the fact that they were
shot in the Philippines

was kind of secondary.

And you'd think,
"are they Mexican?

What are they?"

Because they weren't Chinese,
they weren't Japanese.

And the Philippines appealed
in several ways.

First, it was inexpensive.

The cost of labor
was so affordable.

We could hire filipinos
for about 5 bucks a day.

They had
an amazing movie industry.

They had studios,

they had all the camera
equipment that we needed.

We shot with a Mitchell
that was so old

the serial number on it
was, like, six.

They had stunt people,

they had special effects,
demolition people.

They used to say,

"when you're hiring
a pyrotechnics crew,

just check their fingers.

Just make sure they've got
all their fingers."

It's probably a good sign.

Antiamericanism was
rampant all over the world,

and we had liberated
the Philippines

from Japanese occupation,

so the Philippines was a place

that still really
appreciated American culture.

That was very significant,
I think.

The Philippines
was the wild east

as opposed to the wild west.

There was kind of a lawlessness

about the whole thing.

You were aware
that this was a gun-happy,

very dangerous society.

The makeup man had a .45.

The airline policy
was that, you know,

you won't have your guns on your
person while we were in the air.

So they were collecting
the passengers' handguns.

And you're thinking
to yourself, I mean,

"is something
going to break out?

Why is everyone armed?

Somebody had a gunfight
in the lobby

while some of my people
were there,

but that apparently those things
were kind of common.

Human life was cheap,
film was cheap.

It was a great place
to make a picture.

The period of the b movies
in the '70s, '80s,

maybe starting even from
the late '60s, you know,

is one of the sadly obscure
periods in philippine cinema.

Eddie romero is
definitely the guy that created

this kind of Filipino
exploitation movie genre.

I'm not exactly a pioneer
in that area.

Although probably the first
Filipino who entered that film.

He began writing at a very,
very early age

and he came to the attention
of Gerry de Leon.

Gerry was considered
one of the best directors

we had in the Philippines.

Gerry de Leon was the master,

Eddie romero was the faithful,
and, you know,

very gifted apprentice.

And from there
I am quite sure, you know,

the collaboration
started to happen.

It started with
an American g.I.

Who had been stationed
in the Philippines

and he stayed on.

He loved living there.
His name was Kane Lynn.

We got to talking,
and he wanted to know

if we could get together on
production in the Philippines.

It was just the perfect set
of conditions

to start something like this,

and to his credit,
Eddie romero seized it.

Kane Lynn, Eddie romero,
and irwin pizor's company,

hemisphere pictures,

was the first company to make
real American co-productions

in the Philippines.

They were making war films
like raiders of Leyte Gulf,

the walls of hell.

Will the American agent
reveal the plans

for general MacArthur's return
to the Philippines?

The war films
were not popular here,

and they could barely sell them.

I said, look,

I think you ought to get
involved with horror films.

Forget about these war films.

Well, Kane said,
"I have an old horror picture."

I saw it, and I was knocked out.

I said, "it's a great movie."

Terror is a man was a spin on
the island of doctor Moreau.

He knew that the forbidden
secrets he uncovered

were against the laws of nature.

It's a not very subtle one,

but what de Leon brings to it
is sort of visceral feeling

of the pain that this creature
that's being created

out of animals feels.

These shots
were always striking.

The way they were lit,
the way they were framed,

the way they were composed.

Although it's just
an exploitation movie,

exploitation subject,

you really do feel something
for this poor creature

that's midway between
man and monster.

Hemisphere put a gimmick
in where this bell goes off...

A special warning bell
has been installed

to protect the faint-hearted.

When the bell rings,

we suggest they close their eyes

and not open them
until it rings again.

And God knows where
they picked up that footage.

It does look like someone
cutting into meat.

I said to Eddie,
"it looked very realistic."

He said, "oh, we shaved a pig
and then cut into him."

Kane Lynn changed the title
to blood creature,

and it went through the roof,

and they realized horror
pictures were the answer.

We learned especially
in the small towns

of the United States,

horror films were
practically a staple.

Visit one of the most
mysterious corners of the world,

where unbelievably cruel,
barbaric customs

are still practiced.

The blood island series

were really just American
drive-in movies

with a bit of action,
the suggestion of a bit of sex,

some horror happening somewhere,

the weird rubber-faced monster
coming at you.

What sold the blood island
movies to American audiences

was the blood, breasts,
and beasts.

The three "b" s.

The kind of elements
people wanted

that went to the drive-ins.

They went in the car
with a girlfriend to make out,

and every now and then
they'd hear a scream, look up,

and they'd see something
kind of lurid happening,

and then they'd go back
to their snogging.

And I think that's how
these movies are structured.

If you went to see a film called
brides of blood,

and you came out
complaining about, you know,

the fact that it
was a cheesy movie

with some naked Filipino girls
being eaten by a monster,

I mean, who would have listened
to you, you know?

What did you expect?

It seems that some
living organisms on this island

are undergoing
drastic mutations.

There were kind of
good invention of stories

to begin with.

Gerry and I tried
to flesh them out a little more,

but that was very limited

on account of the nature
of the market.

So as simple of
characterization as we can.

It's create a situation
that's very tense,

make sure that people don't have
too much dialogue to say,

because these
probably weren't great actors

and they might get it wrong.

Better go away now.

You are making me
uncomfortable again.

John Ashley was kind of
a teen heartthrob

throughout the mid to late '50s.

A romantic idol among people
who didn't know any better.

Married to Deborah walley,
they divorced.

His way of getting over
the divorce in the late '60s

was to take a job
in the Philippines

doing brides of blood.

It was exotic for him.

He loved the people.

He loved the excitement.

Well you've got to admit,
he's got style.

John was a lover, you know?

He had quite a few
escapades here.

I had a shirt made for him,

and all his girlfriends
were embroidered on the shirt.

A lot of embroidery.

Ashley ended up
becoming a producer

on his own there
with Eddie romero.

He was a charming person.

He was very easy
to get along with.

He had great sensitivity

for the personalities
of other people.

He was a good friend.

Kane came to me

'cause I was doing their
advertising and marketing,

and he said, "brides of blood.

"We want to have marketing.

We've got wedding
and engagement rings."

Female patrons who showed up
to see the movie

got cheap plastic wedding rings

because apparently they were
marrying a monster in the film.

Genuine synthetic wedding
and engagement set free.

And I had the catchline:

"Here comes the bride with a
non-human creature by her side!"

And then
mad doctor of blood island

had green blood
that was handed out to everyone.

I invented this idea
of the oath of green blood.

You had to take it
before you could see the movie.

I join the order of
green blood with an open mind,

and through this liquid's powers
am now prepared to safely view

the unnatural green-blooded ones
without fear of contamination.

The green blood potion has been
known to passionately affect

some people after drinking it.

I said, "well, look,

before we give these out,
I should test it."

Well, I took it,

I had a stomach ache
the whole night.

The mad doctor of blood island,

with his supernatural beings,

caught up in the rampage
of gory brutality.

I thought
mad doctor of blood island

was the best of the three
blood island pictures.

There's at least one scene

where someone's intestines
are ripped out

in glorious detail.

The monster in that film
is particularly awful.

It looks like papier-mache.

There's a tendency to overuse
zooming the zoom lens,

and I haven't found anybody
that likes it except myself.

There were really no rules
as to what kind of films

they were making and what they
could get away with,

so I think they were testing
the boundaries.

I know they came close
to pushing the envelope.

A lot of what they did
became the standard

for low, low-budget
horror films.

The mpaa, the ratings board,
didn't see these films.

They could care less.

So little kids
were going to see

monsters raping women
staked to poles.

Beast of blood
was the third film,

and it was the least horrific
of the three.

In the world
of the gruesome and grotesque,

comes your
most horrifying meeting

with nerve-chilling fear.

It had a lot of nudity

that Celeste yarnall
did in one scene.

That was supposed
to never be seen by anyone

other than the Japanese market,

which for me at the time
seemed so far away.

Of course now, with DVDs,
it's all over the world,

and I'm, "did I do that?"

I guess I did.

You'll see an orgy
of bloody terror,

as a mad fiend
transplants human heads.

Good morning, don Ramon.

I hope you slept well?

The head can talk
to doctor lorca.

The day may come soon, lorca.

Hence the famous line, "lorca,"

because that head
is going to get lorca

if it's the last thing he does.

The conditions were incredibly
primitive on that picture.

They went back and back
into the jungle.

I had just found out
that I was pregnant,

and I tried to confide in them
that some of these things

were going to be
a little bit rough on me.

I'm supposed to drop down
and be enveloped by quicksand.

Well the head stuntman
had a rifle over his shoulder,

and when he leaned over
to pull me out,

the rifle swung
over his shoulder

and split open my face.

That picture made a fortune.

They found this formula,

and they stepped it up.

They brought it up
to a new level of extremity

and it worked in their favor.

I did well,

but I get a little tired
of them after a while.

I think everyone's affection
for those movies

is based in dollars.

Sam sherman,
the guy who urged hemisphere

to get into making horror films,

ultimately lost patience
with them,

because they did make
horror films.

They just kept making the same
one over and over again.

Eddie romero
was planning a picture

the beast of the yellow night

as a follow up
to beast of blood,

and it was a very complex,
faustian story.

He suffers the cruelest curse
ever placed upon mortal man

by the host of darkness,

condemned to stalk the night

with an insatiable lust
for living flesh.

It was wild.

But I felt it was too far out

for this kind of a market.

Why do you think I keep
bringing you back like this?

To awaken the latent evil

in the people
that I come in contact with.

I felt that
for that type of film,

the characters were more fully
developed, more believable.

Whatever else you might be,
you are still a man.

It didn't do as well.

When the film was released
in the uk,

the reels were put
the wrong way round,

and when I told Eddie this,
you know, he just laughed,

and he said,
"did anyone notice?"

And I said, "no, it probably
made the film better."

It ended up
going to Roger corman,

and Roger corman
was kind of stuck with it.

He didn't really like it.

It was such a twist of fate,

that Roger corman
came to the scene.

John Ashley recommended
coming to the Philippines

and said,
"you have carte blanche there.

You can do whatever you want."

Roger corman wasn't like.

Kane Lynn or John Ashley.

He had no love
of the Philippines.

This was just a money-making
opportunity for him.

I first visited the
Philippines in 1970,

which was the year
I started new world pictures.

New world and Roger corman

were really the experts
in genre films.

But in any film
I've ever worked on with Roger,

there's three main elements
that he's looking for,

one is humor,

which he considers
tremendously important.

Grand theft auto
is a love story...

With cars.

Another is action,

Which he considers
very important.

And another is sex,
which he considers important,

but not quite as important
as the other two elements,

I don't think.

This clinic deals specifically

in sexual problems.

What's the matter?
Having trouble?

Cinema was really changing,

and it was becoming r-rated,

and these were
low-budget movies,

moving away
from the studio films.

In fact, if you look
from today's perspective

at 1970s exploitation pictures,

they look like they were made
on another planet.

The basic elements
of them are things

that you couldn't put
in movies today

and get away with.

And these pictures
always played

at drive-ins,

where huge screens
can be seen for Miles around

by cars driving back and forth,

and the images in these pictures
are astonishing.

The new world company
built their success

on women's exploitation.

It's the candy striper's job

to make the patients' stay
in the hospital more pleasant.

This is not
what we mean by pleasant.

It was pleasant, wasn't it?

Our first film was a picture
we made in the United States

called the student nurses,

which turned out
to be a major success.

The student nurses.

Once you've met them,
you'll never forget them.

New world did a lot
of nurse pictures.

Roger was just turning
them out as fast as he could,

making five, six pictures
a year.

Student nurses,
student teachers,

and then what else
could we have?

How about
young female prisoners?

There have always been
women in prison.

There's always been bad girls

in juvie hall
or the dormitory films.

The difference between the films
is really only,

how tawdry are we going to get?

By the time we started,

you could do a lot that was
just absolutely unheard of,

so that really made
the difference, I think.

So what have you got
in the Philippines?


The big doll house
was originally written

for the United States,

but after I saw the Philippines,

I thought, we could easily
switch this to a tropical prison

and I could make
a bigger picture for less money.

The prison films focused
always on beautiful women

who were imprisoned
rightly or wrongly

and fought their way out.

This way
you'll only get killed.

Not if we get out of here fast.

Women in cages and in boxes
and confined.

We hear in one of the movies

that the women are only allowed
two showers a week,

but we as the lucky viewers
get to see both showers.

You've got to have "t" and "a"
and then a little torture.

The person being tortured
on the wheel

or having fire beneath them,
and they're all screaming,

and the next scene they're fine.

As far as incorporating
all those elements,

you had to have
at least one per reel.

I just imagine
the screenwriters just saying,

"okay, I've done three pages.

Nobody's been tortured."

And they just write that in.




guarded by barbed wire and guns

in a tropical hell.

They call it the big doll house.

Big doll house set the tempo

for almost every woman
in prison,

woman in jeopardy situation
that came after it.

Prerequisite girl fights
and dunking heads in toilets.

That was pretty humiliating.

I mean, they did it.

They took my head
and put it in the toilet.

I read the script and I
thought it was just, just awful.

I said, "oh, my God.

What am I going to do
with this?"

Jack was aware that people
were willing to see women

in these incredibly
tense conditions,

all being thrown together,

what were the pressures
that were going to build

among these women?

Green, scared, and pretty.

And they're not wearing
very much,

and there's gonna be

You can bed down over here
where I can take care of you.

And there's gonna be
cockroach races.

That's it, go boys!

The filipinos
got these huge cockroaches

that they were able
to catch very easily.

There were plenty
of them around.

Come on, baby!

All of these elements
that ended up making

for what he knew was gonna be a
sensationally entertaining film.

Judy brown strapped
to a table naked,

and then being menaced
by a live cobra

on some kind of contraption
like the pit and the pendulum.

Silly, huh? Ridiculous.

Totally ridiculous.

There was a sheet
of glass involved there.

I'm a bit claustrophobic.

Being enclosed in,
that was what scared me more.

And I was topless.


All these girls were ready
to take on new experiences.

They wanted to get
their careers going,

and they wanted to be
up on the screen,

and if it involved
cobras, okay.

Meet the girls
of the big doll house.

Well, you don't look like
a hardened criminal to me.

They're young,
they're beautiful,

and they're killers.

There were no big stars
who came out of those pictures

and went on to huge movies.

That wasn't the case.

No shit!

Pam is the exception,

because Pam is basically
Jack hill's discovery.

Even though she had virtually
no experience

and no training
that I was aware of,

I just felt she was a natural.

And she went over there,
and she learned to act.

They gave me
the actor's studio,

the actor's workshop,

the myth that they gave me

all these great books on
stanislavsky, right?

So I'm learning
this profound work,

and I'm going to do
a Roger corman

booties-in-the-jungle movie.

So I said, "I'm gonna do it.

"I don't care if it's a b movie.

I'm goin' in there,
and I'm gonna kill ya!"

She had an intensity,
obvious good looks,

extremely large breasts,
and she was smart.

She probably still is smart.

You don't get dumb.

And I think all of that
shone through.

Who you can talk into
to going to the Philippines...

That was the trick.

My agent said,
"don't you do this movie!"

I don't think
a Hollywood starlet

would be very happy there.

It's so humid and so hot.

I remember I got heatstroke.

I don't remember ever having
dressing rooms or honey wagons.

My dressing room was a cave,

and guess what else
that cave was used for?

The men's latrine.

It was just horrible.

We would immediately get
a call from the agent,

saying that they were living
in some rat infested jungle hut.

I saw a rat carrying a kitten
through the window.

I wonder if everybody in this
place lives like this.

And you would have to say
to the agent,

"well, you know,

"it really is the best
of those jungle huts down there,

"you know?

They're really out there
in the middle of nowhere."

The bugs were enormous.

Bugs the size of birds
that were flying around.

I can remember eating a salad,

and roaches were climbing out
of my salad.

I don't recall that there was
any health or safety on set,

off set, whatsoever.

We were using military-trained
attack dogs.

The director of photography
went in with his light meter

to get a reading on the dog,
and the dog ate it.

You just want to do the scene,

and you want to do it properly,
and get out.

There was always a rumor

that there was one girl
who didn't come back,

and it was circulated around
the actresses,

and they were all afraid to go
because of this supposed girl

who had vanished
in the Philippines

and never came back.

Roberta Collins.

She was in the first couple.

Action, big mouth.

She was like a favorite
for directors

of this kind of film.

She had just
a remarkable personality.

Get it up or I'll cut it off.

The audience just exploded
with that line,

and that was one that I wrote
myself, actually.

I don't know if I should be
proud or ashamed of that.

In my family,
there was a lot of outrage

about the big doll house.

"What have you been doing, Jane?

What kind of movies are these?"

I didn't like the film.

I thought it had gone
a little bit too far

with the sex and the violence.

It was the most profitable
independent picture

ever made up to that time.

It was just a huge, huge hit.

The film cost about $100,000

and grossed something
like $4 million.

When I saw the grosses,

I have to admit,
my scruples faded away,

and I said,
"let's make another one."

Women in cages.

The sensational
new motion picture

that rips the veil off
the dirtiest racket

ever conceived
by the minds of vicious men.

The market
was flooded immediately,

essentially flooded by us.

Women in cages
was Gerry de Leon's

last American-funded film.

It's a beautifully shot film,

but very lackluster in the
performances and the plotting.

If you liked the title,
women in cages,

you're gonna like this movie,

because you know what it's got?

Women in cages.

So, you know,
it's truth in advertising.

The next film that I did
in the Philippines

was the big bird cage,

which I did almost as a spoof

on women in prison pictures.

I felt to just do
another one wouldn't work,

so I kind of made fun
of the whole genre.

Nothing like that
ever happens to me.

Jack was trying to appeal to
what the audience responded to,

and we were surprised

at how much the audience
liked the humor.

The big bird cage,

a strange and brutal world
of men who are only half-men...

Don't play coy with me,

You don't have anything
I'd be interested in anyway.

And women who are more
than all woman.

I told you I was cut it off

if you try to pull
that shit on me!

But still including the kind
of ingredients that you need.

Being hung up by your hair
in the sun,

that always seemed to me
a bit extreme.

The fact is, if you really
have a lot of hair,

it's not that big a deal,

that that can support
your weight.

I just liked the combination

of sid and Pam grier
working together,

so I starred them as a team
in the big bird cage.

Say, when are we gonna have
that revolution anyway?

Pretty soon, pretty soon.

Sid haig is
a lazy revolutionary

who gets this wonderful idea

of breaking the women
out of this women's prison

in order to help
get the revolution started.

Worst plan
in the history of movies.

Everybody gets killed,

and it's supposed to be
a happy ending.

The big bird cage did not do
as well as the big doll house

and maybe the fact that we
played it a little bit too much

for the humor hurt it.

A lot of the pictures
had no really redeeming factors

as far as the stories
were concerned.

They were very bizarre,
to say the last.

I remember one film we made
called night of the cobra woman.

I was getting tired
of the woman in prison concept,

so we started to move
into science fiction.

How much longer must I remain
in this ridiculous human form?

It featured a woman
who was part cobra.

Plunging her fangs
into warm flesh,

she sucks the life
from the bodies of men.

She's a woman who has sex
with men and extends her life,

but when they wake up,

they're like 90 years old,
and then they die.

Marlene Clark had some sort
of snake skin,

and I remember a scene where
she just peeled it off her body.

It was a very strange movie.

Only the cobra could satisfy
her unearthly desires.

If there's an underlying theme,

then it would be,
be careful of women.

They're snakes.

They'll suck the life
out of you.

I'll suck the years
out of your body.

It was only way I can be
a human and a woman again.

It was filmed in slitherama,
with a hiss.

I came up with that,

One of the things that
made these films noteworthy

was the fact
that very few people

were making films
with women leads.

Roger treated women
in film really as heroes...

And that was a departure.

Moviegoers were not used to

seeing women doing action
at all.

And even if they were little
mousy girls at the beginning,

by the end,
they're toting two machine guns

and shooting down
scads of guys.

Female guerrillas.

Machete maiden action.

You not only had
a female heroine,

but you also had
a female being abused.

So you got both sides
of the coin,

and you appealed
to the male audience,

and you appealed to any dates
they may have had to bring,

which I suspect were not many.

Is this how you get your kicks?

There are a lot of filmmakers
who are responsible filmmakers,

but sometimes what's fun
are the irresponsible filmmakers

who later say, "well
of course, I was doing this."

They were about women
being abused at the beginning,

but then taking over
and having revenge.

I think that was
very helpful overall

in terms of women establishing
themselves on the screen

as powerful figures
and being empowered as women.

Women really related to that,
and began to love us as heroes.

You hear people talking about
the crassest, most exploitative,

sexist, racist films
as liberating, and intelligent,

and I'm thinking,
"what are they smok...

I mean, you know, "what?"

You can't rape me.

I like sex.

Feminism and women
taking their power

was worldwide at that time,

so taking off our tops was
kind of a powerful thing to do.

It was, to a certain extent,

Look, I can do this,
I can still be an actress,

and I can still be respectable.

It's an interesting mixture
of feminism,

because there we were, being
exploited in a certain way,

and at the same time,

we were showing that
we were powerful women.

They took control,

but they'll show you their tits.

All those films
in the Philippines,

ten beautiful women,
naked every single time.

Hundreds... I mean hundreds...

of beautiful little girls,
just running around bare-assed.

And all the only guy is you.

That's right.

I don't buy
that feminist stuff.

What you're talking about
is a tit shop,

pure and simple.

Feminism with aggressive women

was not going to be palatable
in the mass market

without tits and ass.

Buenos dias, senoritas!

Somehow we had to do that in
order to get to the next step.

I didn't feel badly about it.

I saw it as a path.

Are we not taking this
a little too seriously?

Intellectualizing this?

This is not a film
about the human condition.

This is a film
about tits and ass.

A lot of filmmakers deal
with people all the time

where someone says,

"in your film,
when the, you know,

"mutant woman gave birth
to the mulatto monster

"who tore the head off the Nazi,

"weren't you talking about the
exploitation of colored peoples

around the world
and their ultimate triumph?"

And they'll go,

"yes, I was,"

and inside they're thinking,

"what the fuck
are they talking about?"

The revolutionary spirit
of young people in the '60s

continued into the early '70s,

so with a number of these films,

we had a rebel,
revolutionary spirit to them.

The revolution is at hand.

The time has come.

A lot of pictures with rebels,

a lot of pictures with corrupt
regimes being overthrown.

It was very easy
for our directors

to get the political content in

because I told them
I wanted the political content.

In his mind,
it was kind of a moral balance

between the exploitable
ingredients that he needed

to sell it,

and giving him a feeling that
there was some importance to it.

And I bought that
completely myself.

If you look
at Jonathan demme's the hot box,

that's overtly political.

The hot box.

Four American nurses

snatched from their work
in a foreign hospital.

We abduct nurses to provide
healing and medicine

to our guerrilla army.

We were doing the whole thing
that Roger likes.

You know,
"oh, no, don't take us!"

You will do what
you are told to do!

If not, you will all be shot.

I played a character
in the film called bunny,

and bunny was the one
who always got hysterical.

I hope some day
you're on a date,

and then some maniacs
come along and shoot your dates

and drag you into the jungle
and then attack you

and then not even tell you why!

She wasn't very deep,

but she really said it
like it was.

We escaped only to discover

that the military
was actually the brutes.

Soiled, spoiled and violated,

they wouldn't take it
lying down.

It was the girls
learning firsthand

what the efforts of the
revolutionaries were about.

You get tired of seeing
your sisters assaulted,

your families abused,
paying a fine week after week

for trying to sell
what you grow.

The original title was called
rx prescription revolution.

One day I get a call
from Roger corman,

and Roger says, "Margaret."

"Hi, Roger."

"I just want you to know
that the title,

prescription revolution,
is now the hot box.

His sense of it was
that we didn't have

that iconic moment.

He said, we're going to shoot
that scene of the hot box.

Plunged into the fiery depths
of the hot box...

They had some guy kind of
spraying us down with hoses.

A tropical torture chamber
where anything can happen.

And we were standing
in the corner,

freaking and screaming,

and now the movie
was the hot box.

The girls were treated in a way

that was somewhat titillating
for that kind of audience,

and I was really dismayed

that the purity of what we
thought we were going after

was really kind of undermined.

One of the great ironies
of the Filipino pictures

is you have these movies
being made about revolution

against essentially
fascist dictatorship

in a fascist dictatorship.

1972, all right?

That's when all the TV stations
just stopped,

and then suddenly there was that

I have signed
proclamation number 1081,

placing the entire Philippines
under martial law.

Marcos declared martial law,
and he called all the shots.

He was the ultimate leader.

Martial law
means military power,

and he, as commander in chief,

was in absolute control
of this country.

There were checkpoints,

militia with the guns
and the whole thing.

And they were on every corner.

You had to be inside at
a certain time in the evening.

And if you were in a club,
and it was midnight,

the owner of the club
just went over

and put the lock on the door,

and you had to stay
and party all night

till 6:00 in the morning.


And if you went outside
after curfew,

they would put you in jail,

and you would end up picking
up trash along the streets

the next day.

When they declared martial law,

we were supposed to go
into some town square.

All unlicensed firearms
now in your possession

should be turned over
to the Philippines constabulary.

After that time, you know,
anybody with a gun,

it was a serious offence.

Brutality was absolutely
a reality in this country.

They'd stop somebody because
he was kind of shady looking,

and "oh, there's
a butterfly knife.

Big offence.

And they shot him
right there on the spot.

Life was like...

You'd get snuffed out
just like that.

State control
was almost absolute.

And media definitely
had no escape

from this kind of governance.

Artists of all kinds
who were subversive

were afraid to voice
any kind of opinion

because they would disappear
or end up in the prisons.

Print, radio, television,

and, of course,
the movie industry

were all under
the control of the state

through its various

such as, for example,
the censorship board.

The only problem there
with censorship is

if you do a film
that deals with subversion.

In the big doll house,

pat woodell's character
has that one line...

Before you can do anything
in here,

a lot has to be changed
out there.

If that were made
in a philippine movie,

that would be stricken out,

and then you'd never
hear from the director again.

You're under arrest.

Somebody's determining
exactly what kind

of entertainment
we're going to have,

but the American movies
were just out there.

So, you are the
representatives of the people.

They're liberators,
and we are the oppressors.

Almost censorship
was not in place.

I don't think they had
any jurisdiction over us.

They had no idea what we were
doing on a day-to-day basis.

They didn't read the script.

To a certain point,
that was kind of liberating

for some
of the Filipino directors

who engaged in the production
of films for export.

If you're making an
exploitation picture,

you actually can get away with
a lot more subversive stuff,

or really powerful statements
because nobody's looking.

One of the reasons
that we were able

to get away with films
with a revolutionary theme

was the fact that we didn't
really say in all the films

they were in the Philippines.

Well I shouldn't even be here.

My trial was a real joke.

Those fucking banana Republic

And I don't think marcos
would look at a character

such as the commandant
in big bird cage

and equate himself to that.

After that,
the almost desperate need

for the dictatorship
to attract business

into this country.

We were trying
to explain production

to president marcos,

and we were talking about
the various aspects,

and the subject came up
about below-the-line costs,

right, in which he got a rather
puzzled expression on his face

and said, "can you explain
about this below-the-line?

Is that something like
under the table?"

We got all the cooperation in
the world from the Philippines

because we paid 'em.

Almost anything we needed,

marcos was very open
to giving us.

I asked the army to supply me
with three helicopter gunships

to be there at 9:00
in the morning,

and the captain in charge said,
"I apologies for being late,

"but we were 100 Miles north
strafing and bombing rebels.

We will now change
to blank ammunition."

"Excellent idea," I thought.

The army was very willing to
stage the battle scenes for us.

And that actually was important,

because although we started with
the women in prison pictures,

we very quickly moved
to action films.

Black mama, white mama,

from a hellhole
of twisted passions,

to an inferno of flaming death.

When Roger called me to invite
me to do black mama, white mama,

he said, "I want you to know

it's the female version
of the defiant ones.

Chains of hate
kept them bound together.

Two women,
totally different purposes.

A terrorist and a hooker.

You two should have
lots to talk about.

Out for themselves,

but in the end,
finally bonded together.

Pam dragged me through
the jungle,

and I dragged her,

and then I got raped
while she was on

the other end of the...

Pam grier was amazing
on all of these shoots

because she was up
for almost anything.

There I am, hooked with
handcuffs together with her,

and if Eddie asked her
to jump off a cliff,

she would have gladly done it
and taken me with her.

Some of it was an exaggeration,

but we got along very well.

I liked Pam very much.

What's that?

It's a charm bracelet.

The later Eddie romero movies,
woman hunt,for example,

was a lot sleazier in terms of
the way the times had changed.

Audiences were expecting more.

They certainly offered
a more extreme meal

than the early ones had.

Pig, ready for the butcher.

Come, join the woman hunters.

Set your sights
on the tastiest game.

Pretty basic formulas.

Women being kidnapped
and sold into slavery.

They haul us in there
in a cage through the jungle,

and they turn us over

to this lesbian,
black widow kind of woman...

You like to put on a beard
when you do it?

Do you dress up like Tarzan,

or do you pretend
you're a woman?

Who has her way with us.

Another incredible bevy
of beautiful women

who were being hunted down

by these wealthy, industrialist,
perverted guys.

We're all pigs.

We're all gonna be slaughtered.

Roger liked that theme
where they were the game,

the naked prey,

and literally, having to flee
for their lives,

and having to fight the hunter

was a unique way
in which to present

a new women-in-jeopardy theme.

Hello, lover.

In the Filipino films,

the best ones are the ones that
are trying to do it for real,

are trying to make a good movie.

Failing miserably, but trying.

I would look
at making a "b" picture

for a "b" audience
with "b" elements,

but not Eddie romero.

Every picture to him
was an "a" picture

that had complexity of story.

I wanted to make the characters

and the stories
more believable.

My own wife,
my closest colleague.

You never understood.

You never understood!

Eddie was doing
a film with Roger

called the twilight people.

We had all these characters that
were half-human, half-beast,

and one of the characters
was the bat man.

Eddie sent Roger
a long script rewrite

on how he wanted
these characters to interreact

and so on and develop
their stories,

and Roger sent back
a very terse telegram

which says, "Eddie,
just make the goddamn bat fly."

"You make the bat fly,
and we're in business."

Nobody could really take any
of those things that seriously,

let's face it.

So it's a take off,

but it wasn't meant
to be amusing.

You gotta play it straight.

I would hate to do a film
without any trace of humor.

I don't think
there were many spots

where you'd break out
and really laugh

unless it was really
the poor little bat man,

trying to fly.

When they decided that there
was a limited return

that you could get
from pictures that were r,

then they said,
"okay, we'll make some pgs.

We'll make some
fantasy pictures."

A movie about Atlantis
with fish monsters.

They were odd-looking

except for Leigh Christian,

who was a
terrific-looking creature.

And also John Wayne's son
as the star.

What's the pitch?

Ashley assured me
that they were going to attempt

to do something
on a higher level,

certainly a pg level.

A primeval priestess leads
a people from a kingdom

beneath the sea
to a blazing battleground above.

Beyond Atlantis.

That's almost always
the kiss of death,

because people who don't know
how to make

fantasy pictures for families

end up making fantasy pictures
that don't work for families.

Cannibal fish.

- We need a rope.
- I got one.

My father and I kept
this hybrid society going

by having me mate with humans.

It is your destiny to mate
with an outsider,

not to love him.

It was, like,
highly improbable.

You had to suspend disbelief

along the way
for all of this stuff.

I wasn't very happy
with the script.

We tried to do
what we could with it.

I kind of, like, got the idea
that people cared about it.

I'm given a script,
and I do what I'm told,

and I collect my pay check
and go home.

Eddie romero got the idea
that the scenes

that I did with Pam grier
were incredibly sexy.

Perverted but sexy.

And so he thought that,

"God, it would be great
if we had him with two girls.

That's gotta be twice
as sexy, right?"

Then we did savage sisters,
and I had four women.

Come on, girls.
Line up for your present!

"Oh, God.
This is totally nuts."

But I wound up the whole deal
by shooting all four.

Ha ha!

You needed only one bullet
last time.

Stinkin' bitches
wouldn't stand still!

Straighten your tie.

Shine your shoes.

Company's coming.

Three little maids from
the toughest school of justice,

with plenty of ammunition

stacked in
just the right places.

You couldn't possibly take it

It was really a cartoon.

It was full of sex.

I'm a dog.

What kind?

A whipped dog.


Greenback salad.

My favorite dish.


I guess this is where we blow
your stinking heads off!

Anything you can think of.

I enjoyed doing that.

But there were limits to what I
could do with the material.

You look kind of sexy,
all tied up like that.

Well, I used to think I'd let
all of you pee in my face

just to see where it came from,
but, hell, not anymore.

I don't know if I want
to become so descriptive

of what I had to do
in the movie,

but if you could just take
your imagination

of a little part of a man's body

and have a good time with it
and tear it off.

Things were a little tense,
but I think it came off alright.

To say I'm proud of the movie?


These are not really
the kind of films

that I've been longing to make.

They were the films
that I had to make

considering what the market
had to offer

and what the market wanted.

Eddie's a very honorable man,

and whatever he did,
he always gave it his best shot,

and sometimes it didn't live up
to his hopes and expectations,

but what else is new?

He wasn't proud of the films

and pretty much disavowed
them late in his career.

I was always tired,

but I felt, you know,
I had little choice.

He's now national artist
for cinema and a grand old man,

which is pretty amazing
for a guy

who started with
terror is a man.

Cirio Santiago was
kind of the next generation

of filmmakers
after Eddie romero.

They saw what Eddie had done
and they thought,

"well, we can have
some of that."

Here comes
this Maverick director, cirio,

who saw in the Filipino films
that they produced, you know,

something that was
not Hollywood enough.

He was making philippine films
when I met him,

and then he made the transition
to working with me.

He asked me if I wanted
to direct for this market.

I said,
"yeah, I would direct for free."

He said,
"well, I'll pay you $3,000."

The first film cirio
directed for me was savage.


That's his name.

The biggest dude
with the baddest gun.

He's more than a man.

He's a death machine.

Now they found his new hero.

This savage, they call him.

I had grown tired
of the women-in-prison genre,

and I felt this black
soldier of fortune action film

might do well.

Let's do something to excite
the imagination of the people.

Something dramatic.

It'll be dramatic, all right.

That was a time
when black films

were very special in drive-ins.

They were very big.

Stronger than slaughter,

slicker than shaft,

more super high than super fly.


Cirio was a good director,

and he got the army to come in
for the big scenes.

Fire, all units!

So we really had a fairly
big-looking film

for a small amount of money.

Savage is still
a pretty shitty movie.

That's what you call an

Tnt Jackson, black bombshell
with a short fuse.

The basic idea
behind tnt Jackson

was to combine
the black exploitation concept

with kung fu.

You want it black,
you got it black.

Roger called me up one day
and said we had a script.

I had read the theme.

It didn't seem to read right.

So he said,
"well, you rewrite it."

It was started by dick,

and he got, I think, $500.

Roger said,

"well aren't you going
to write any more?"

I said, "I'm finished."

And he said, "I wanted
to get my money's worth."

I heard him talk.

He said, for $500,
what do you want,

gone with the wind?

I know very little
about kung fu.

The idea is to get
as much as you can

on film at that time,
so you write a good sentence.

You write, "the battle begins.

That can be, you know,
months of shooting.

You got it covered
in one sentence.

It was fast and furious.

It starred Jeannie bell.

The name is Diana Jackson.


Tnt to you.

She was an unknown, so I said,

"we've got to
publicize Jeannie bell."

My wife at the time, Sylvia,

came up with the idea
of a fake award.

The first annual
ebony fist award

as the greatest black kung fu
fighter in the world.

She was a two-time winner.

She was a two-time winner,

Jon davison, who was the head
of our publicity,

came up with a great catchline:
"Tnt Jackson..."

"She'll put you in traction."

With that dynamite bod,
she's a jet-black hit squad.

You'd better treat her fine,
or she'll shatter your spine.

You'll know you've been kissed
by her ebony fist

when the blood from her face
stains your diamond necklace.

That may have only been used
in the TV spots.

She's a one-mama
massacre squad.

This was one of those movies
that was not, shall we say,

in the forefront of the
great... even Filipino movies,

and we had to do a lot
of faking in the trailer.

We just decided to make up
a whole subplot about heroin.

Undercover out to blast
a killer army

that's poisoning the people
with deadly China white.

Deadly China white
in black Chinatown

where the red dragon rules.

Black Chinatown,

where flesh is cheap
and life is cheaper,

and the red dragon rules.

Films like savage!
And tnt Jackson

did bring a different look
to the black exploitation films.

They took it out
of the United States of America

to do black filmmaking,
and as a matter of fact,

you wouldn't think of that
in the Philippines.

Black actors
in a new environment.

It definitely opened up
the business.

Still want to go home?

Where's home?

Yeah, I know what you mean.

I think we've found our turf.

Once cirio started producing
and directing,

I mean, all bets were off

in terms of product being,
you know, halfway decent.

They were usually out of focus.

The sound quality
was sometimes terrible.

There were all sorts
of scratches,

there was gouges,

and you'd occasionally see,
you know,

could be claw marks
from rodents.

Roll it!

Roger would just get
madder and madder

during the course
of the screenings.

"I mean, really...
we're really screwed this time."

And they basically needed
to be doctored.

They needed new scenes shot.

And Roger almost always wants
you to add another chase

or at least another explosion.

You could hear him screaming
at cirio through the walls.

"You really screwed me, cirio!"

Break the sex barrier
with the stewardesses of fly me.

Rated r.

I wasn't supposed to be
a karate-kicking stewardess,

but when we got back
to the states,

they decided that it needed
a little bit more punch.

Fly me,which was another
terrible picture,

had Jonathan demme direct
three days at the yamishiro.

They got David carradine
to come in for the day

and he taught me karate
and kung fu in 11/2 hour,

and then I just beat people up.

I kicked the shit
out of a lot of people,

is really what I meant to say.

As the pictures went on,

they became a little
more threadbare,

and when cover girl models
rolled around,

it was pretty much the nadir
of the period.

Authentic oriental crap
is what it is.

But what it did have is

it did have a lot of dresses,

because they were supposed to be
fashion models,

and we said they're
always overexposed,

but they're never

Very important.

This is
mark "f stop" Fitzgerald.

If his camera could talk,

he'd be in jail
for statutory rape.

It's one of the best trailers
we made.

It doesn't reflect
the movie at all.

At some point,
someone is running

and fires a gun in the air,

and you cut to a helicopter.

Now that's the picture

where the exploding helicopter
came from,

and we learned that any time
anybody fired a gun,

if you cut
to the exploding helicopter,

it looked like they blew it up.

So later, when we found even,
you know,

less attractive movies
were coming our way,

we've always had the exploding
helicopter in our drawer.

They pinned her a criminal
in Jackson county jail.

As a viewer, you would see
new world trailers and go,

wasn't that explosion
in eat my dust?

So I used to look
at these things and say,

"these are brilliant."

In some cases, the trailers
are better than the films.

Steve carver
did a lot of trailers

for Roger before he moved
on to directing for Roger,

and he came up with some of
the more memorable catchphrases,

one of which was...

They wanted love...

"He gave them terror
and death."

We did push the limits
whenever possible.

On or off duty,
they always come when you call.

There were a lot of tricks
that I employed,

learning from Roger, of course.

How to distract
the rating people.


If something was coming up
on the trailer,

all I had to do was
say something,

they'd turn their heads
and miss it.

Learn the bare facts
from the summer school teachers.

And that's how we got
a lot of that stuff by.

Jon davison bet Roger corman
that he could make

the lowest-budget picture

they had ever made
at new world at that time.

Welcome to miracle pictures,

where they make
a picture a week,

and if it's a good picture
it's a miracle.

I said, "what is the film?"

They said, it's going to be
Hollywood boulevard,

and it will be a parody

of a low-budget motion picture
production company.

Girls, I've called you all here

to offer you
a glorious opportunity.

Look out.

It is
machete maidens of mora tao.

Miracle pictures' new
super spectacle

shot entirely
in the Philippines!

We were making fun of something

that we knew very well.

We did this under the guise
of a movie making plot,

and the girls go
to the Philippines,

and they shoot filipinos
out of trees.

But the filipinos falling down
are from another picture.

But we went out to Malibu
and shot the starlets

with machine guns firing away.


Go! I want action!

There's a scene where they try

to get Mary woronov
to meet some dogs,

and it's just because we had
this shot of this Filipino guy

holding these vicious dogs.

So we just shot a scene
that was the other angle.

That whole movie doesn't exist

except for the existing

Why is there a cut to that pig?

Well, 'cause the pig
was in the Philippines

and we were here,
and it was a free pig.

Ten days. Two units, two days.

No waiting.
Two units, no waiting.

Two directors, no waiting.

Roger said it was the best
ten-day picture of the decade.

It did reflect the spirit
of new world,

as a matter of fact.

A number of directors
who had started with us

and moved on came back
to play roles in the picture.

Paul bartel came back as
a totally pretentious director

of a low-budget
nonsense picture.

You tell the writer, p.G.,

that we have taken his empty,
flaccid, stupid little story

and firmed it up into
a pulsating, penetrating,

thrusting, unflinching
look into the future.

Now, when you look back at it,

it's kind of a documentary

of how new world pictures
were really made.

If you wanted a job
with Roger corman,

he would, like, give
you a broom.

And if you did a really good job
sweeping up, he would say,

"would you like to be
assistant editor on this film?"

And if you did
a really poor job sweeping up,

you know,
you just stayed sweeping.

It was an absolutely terrific
place to be a young editor

or young director or somebody
who wanted to direct.

I would say that this is
maybe the finest moment

in my motion picture career.

I respect and I admire
Roger corman,

but he is so full of shit.

He's about money.

Roger's about money,
and because he's about money,

he has given many, many people
their breaks, which means,

"I'm going to let you
break your ass

"and work so hard for me,

"not pay you, make millions,

but you'll have made a movie."

And believe it or not,

that's not a bad deal
for a lot of people.

And you look at all the people
who started with corman.

But you don't hear
Bobby de niro saying,

"Roger gave me my start."

He says, "that fucker
still owes me money."

Roger loves films.

You know, Roger loves,
in his own way.

As he says there's
only three ways to make films:

The right way, the wrong way,
the corman way.

You shoot the beginning,
the end, and the action.

And the sex.

"We want frontal nudity
from the waist up,

"total nudity from behind,

no pubic hair, go to work."

Everything else,
all the dialogue scenes

and all of the developmental
scenes of the characters,

those are left up
to the editing,

and you shoot them
very sparsely.

Go to your cameraman and say,

"how long to make it excellent?

How long to make it good?

And how long to get an image?"

And then get the image.

It's nonsense.

I mean, I have no idea
how these stories come up.

From the start
of the partnership with Roger,

cirio was able to also
produce and direct

for other film companies.

Ebony, ivory, and jade:

Three foxy mamas
with a thousand ways to kill.

In ebony, ivory, and jade,
I play ebony,

and I'm a track star
and my rival, ivory,

and my best friend, jade,

get kidnapped
by some terrorists.

What the hell is this?

If you say one word, you die.

And we have to karate chop
our way to freedom.

These sisters got soul
they can't control.

There's action.

Pretty girls.

I'm ready for my close up,
Cecil b. De Mille.

Kind of campy dialogue.

Oh, stop talking like
a martyr's ass.

All you're trying to be
is another black martyr.

With exploitation movies,

dialogue and acting
is always the problem.

You want the film to move fast
so you have a lot of action.

Whatever you do,
don't fall down,

because if cirio wants
to cut you out of the picture,

all he has to do is cut to
a guy firing a gun,

and you're out,
and you're home, you're gone.

He was trying to do...
do the American films

within a limited budget
and limited time.

He understood that kind
of exploitation template

with the humor.

We got mosquitoes,
we've got ants,

we've got no can opener.

Dinner is served.

That's what I wanted to do.

This is fun.

Don't take me seriously.

The muthers to me, you know,

it was what it was.

Sexual exploitation
in the jungle.

Just like every other snake
I ever met:

Can't leave my tits alone.

And the storyline was...

We were
two black female pirates.

The lead pirate, Jeannie bell,

her sister has disappeared.

Do you have any idea
where she went?

When little Sandra
gets out of camp,

she doesn't leave her

We get into the plantations

so we can take her out,
and she gets killed.

Then we have to find a way
to get out ourselves.

Didn't you know?
There's no way out.

There's my way.

It's one of the few movies,
I know for decades,

where four black actresses
play the lead.

One of the things that we
all had hoped for in Hollywood

was the opportunity
to get into a script

where it didn't really matter
what color you were.

We're not trying to be black
or against the white woman.

Just out there,
wanting to get our freedom.

And it has nothing to do
with what color you are.

It has to do with survival.

The only other parts that were
available for me were hookers

so I'd rather beat 'em up
than be beat up.

Firecracker was an idea
of cirio's.

Tnt Jackson had been
so successful,

he felt we should make
a similar film,

but make it with a white girl.

See Jillian kesner,

grand prize winner
at the black belt Olympics.

She'll mix seduction
with destruction.

She was a real trooper.

She didn't know that much about
martial arts at the time,

but she really studied hard
and went full bore.

The final showdown was

They said, "okay, we have
these collapsible sticks,

"and she's gonna jump up
and come down,

"and gently push them
on your eyes,

"and they will collapse
into themselves

and maybe some blood squirt

And I'm like, "really?
Let me see them."

And they, like, showed me
on a dummy,

and of course they stuck,

and the guy's jamming them down.

I said, "you know,
I don't think I want Jillian

to push those down on my eyes."

So of course they used
a mannequin at that point.

In the end,
when they showed that sequence,

and she jumped up and, you know,
my eyes squirted out,

my mum literally almost had
a heart attack.

At that point she jumped out
of her chair

and was like, "oh, my God!"


The screen's first erotic
kung fu classic.

Cirio lived a dream.

He basically, you know,
worked on a film

every day of his adult life.

American films,
I did about close to 40.

Filipino films I made about 63.

More than a hundred.

He had diplomatic immunity
for a number of years

which was a good thing,

considering the
pictures he made.


We are all vampires.

We're all dead.

And we are like you very much.

Vampire hookers.

Yeah, it was awful.

Coffins are for being laid
to rest, not for being laid.

The catchline was

"blood ain't the only
thing they suck."

Imagine that.

I used to tell his cast
and their crew,

"don't think that we're
making a "b" movie.

Think that we're making
the best movie we can make."

Cirio was a pioneer.

Now we're having a hard time

getting into
the international market,

but he was there ahead,

and although he denied
they were done here,

I think he was still
proudly Filipino.

Bobby Suarez was a guy
who'd worked for rank,

in the English film
producer and distributor.

The big difference
between cirio and Bobby

was cirio was
personally unflappable,

but Bobby was like a spark.

He did the whole film

with a cocked .45 automatic
in his belt,

and every now and then he'd just
shoot at something.

It kept everybody
really nervous, and in line.

Nobody gave him any lip.

He's very proud of the fact
that he was a Filipino

and he had this opportunity

to make a little noise
for the country

as far as his films were

He was a salesman
as well as a film producer,

so as he's making his movies,

he's thinking what is commercial
and what will sell,

what is needed
in the Western world.

The plots always got very

What's going on?

I never really knew
who the bad guys were.

Who? Where?

I didn't really understand
what they were doing,

but they were bad,
so I killed 'em.

I figured no one's
ever gonna see this.

Money was always scarce.

We had car chases,

and because they ended up
wrecking the cars,

they didn't want to get
a really good car.

And they'd do flat out
35 Miles an hour.

I remember doing one car chase,
and traffic's passing us by,

and we were supposed to be
speeding along.

The breakthrough movie
for Bobby Suarez

was Cleopatra wong.

She's a fighter.

She's a mean machine.

It's about a syndicate
that took over a nunnery.

They actually capture the nuns.

Don't tell me that nuns
in this country

sport automatic rifles

their monastic uniforms.

Like all exploitation movies,
it's got these scenes

in it that stick in your brain.

The finale,
where the convent was blown up,

there were so many guys
dressed up as nuns

and they never seemed to die,
you know.

They keep on coming,

and those scenes
were all in slo-mo.

And you kind of think,
"well, if all of the film

"was as powerful as that,

then it would be some kind
of a masterpiece."

When Bobby was making it,

he didn't think that guys
dressed up as nuns were funny.

It was a very serious movie.

He was always trying
to build the franchise,

and he wanted to do
the series of films

using the same characters.

That's why he made
dynamite Johnson.

That's the bionic boy part 2.

Still very similar
to Cleopatra wong.

They have this group
of Nazi obsessed people

that took over a
whole mining camp.

I was doctor hiss...

By this time Tuesday,
Hong Kong will be no more.

This scientist who had come up
with this plan

to have a laser that was going
to blow up anything we wanted.

The mine was guarded
at night by a metal dragon.

Well I don't know if
it was made out of cardboard,

but it was certainly made
out of something flimsy

that was about
all we could afford.

But, you know, Bobby had run out
of money by that point.

That dragon has got
twin cannons for eyes,

it has got the machine gun
at its tail,

and when the mouth opened,

it breathes fire.

The person who was inside
working the flame thrower,

the thing backfired
and he got burnt,

and everyone was running out
of the dragon.

It was hilarious.

He would kind of make
whatever he thought

he could get someone
to put up the money for.

All Bobby needed
was a film title,

a good-sounding film title.

Wrote something down.

He said,
"this will be my next film."

And I looked at it,
and it said,

the one armed executioner

I said, "okay."

I said, "what's it about?"

He said, "doesn't matter.

"It's the title.

That's what gets 'em in."

Haunted by the memory
of a love that refuses to die,

he ruthlessly seeks revenge.

I'm going to get
every last one of them.

So help me God.

Bobby Suarez was kind
of dragged out of retirement

by suddenly realizing
or hearing

that Quentin Tarantino was
a big fan of some of his movies.

He started to dust off
some old scripts

and send 'em round to
all and sundry,

and they were pretty much

of Cleopatra wong
and bionic boy.

Bobby was like p.T. Barnum.

Everything was larger than life

as far as his films
were concerned,

and, I mean,
they were what they were.

They were okay
for what they were,

but I mean, they weren't
exactly blockbusters,

even though in his mind,
they might have been.

I don't think he realized
that time had moved on,

and these movies
were being looked at

with a kind of nostalgic glow.

God bless him for his vision,
you know.

He wanted to do something
better than what was being done,

and he gave it a shot
and to a great extent, he did.

Here come the losers,

killers by instinct,

mercenaries by profession.

The losers was about
five hells angels in Cambodia,

rescuing a CIA agent,

taking on the whole
Chinese army.

The plan was to blow a big hole
in the fence.

We got there too fast,

and I would have been blown up.

It's too late to stop.

Oh, my God!

I headed the front wheel
to hit this post,

and I hit it dead on.

The bike was in the air,
and it landed on top of me.

Safety issues
were pretty crazy.

Health and safety takes money.

I sustained a lot of injuries.

They make me hang from
a helicopter 100 feet up

without any safety nets.

I almost fell during
the second take.

Bobby said,
"do you mind rolling out

of the car at 35 Miles an hour?"

I said "yeah.
Yeah, I mind doing that."

The fights,
it was no holds barred.

Bobby calls me over.

He says, "Chris, doesn't look
you're hitting them."

I said, "you mean really
hitting them?"

He said "yes."

I said, "well, I'm not."

"That's what they're paid for.

"Hit them!

Hit them!"

One of the hoodlums
really punched me here.

My appendix burst out.

Some guys there are nuts.

They drive off cliffs,

they'd jump off the cliff

They would just
cross themselves and jump.

The people they would get
to do the stunts,

they would regard
as breakables.

I said, "I tell you what.

Bring me about
20 cardboard boxes

and two twin bed mattresses.

They did, and I set up
a little fall pad.

It was like, "oh, my God!

"We can drop an actor
out of a three-story window

"and not kill him!

This is great!"

Here we have fire suits
that protect them,

and there, they just put some
fuel on a guy and lit him up,

and when he got hot,
he jumped in the water.

If somebody got injured
to the point

where they just couldn't
work anymore,

they'd just stuff
a five peso note in his pocket

and send him home.

There were a couple of times
in the films with Bobby

where I'd throw a guy
through a window.

It was a glass window.

They didn't know what
candy glass was.

So when an American goes
through a window, they go,

"oh, well, we can do that."

There was this tower.

It was supposed to be hit
by a truck.

The guard was supposed
to jump first,

but he panicked; He hung on.

He was killed.

In a country
where the rich rule

and the poor are shit,

you can get away
with that kind of thing.

They would take risks because
this is the big American movie.

You don't want
to look back and say,

"well, that was exploiting..."

But they were paid their salary.

We employed many,
many filipinos.

Hundreds and hundreds.

You could hire thousands
of them

if you needed thousands
of them,

and all they had to really do
was put on black pajamas

and charge up the hill
with their ak-47 bad guy guns,

and if they were close
to an explosion,

they were supposed
to flop over and play dead,

so anybody can do that.

I mean, it didn't take
a rocket scientist.

Apocalypse now,of course,

was without a doubt,

the biggest production that
ever came into the Philippines.

My film is not about Vietnam.

It is Vietnam.

It's what it was really like.

Coppola was able to use
helicopters, tanks, whatever.

Marcos gave us
just a blanket okay

and then it filtered down
to military men.

Marcos didn't make
any promises.

You know, he complained
that he couldn't get ahold

of any helicopters because
coppola was using all of them.

The philippine commander
would say,

"well, the helicopters
are sick today,

but if we had a certain amount
of money,

we could make them well.

There was always these
islamic rebels in the South.

The military would use it
all for the time for an excuse.

The real war took precedent
over the fake war.

The philippine government...
the fucking helicopters,

they take away whatever
they feel like

and they've done it three times

It was a crazy shoot.

That's not news.

Every time things were smooth
and were running right,

all of a sudden, something
disastrous would happen.

Marty sheen's heart attack,

marlon Brando arriving

100 pounds
more than we expected.

The typhoon.

The roofs of major houses
were corrugated metal,

and those sheets would fly off,

and it was like a guillotine
that could decapitate you.

When it cleared, it was
just this kind of war zone.

As they say, shit happens.

I think Francis was absolutely
brilliant on that movie.

It's amazing what he got under
those circumstances.

He expected to get
everything he needed,

and sometimes... very often...
he expected too much.

It was a little bit insane
towards the end.

There's the scene
where they come in,

and there's all these bodies
are hanging from the trees,

and they were using
real bodies.

Somebody said they were
in in the refrigerator

in the art department
next to the beer.

My lips are sealed.

My buddy told me,
"come on, check this shit out."


But I never...
I never saw that.

You're in the asshole
of the world, captain!

You're just thinking,
"can we get through this?

"Can we get through this day?
Can we get through this week?

When will we ever get out
of here?"

There was no calendar,
so you never felt

you were progressing
or achieving.

We would refer to it as
apocalypse never.

The good thing, a wonderful,
great movie came out of it.

It defied fate.

It should have failed, right?

To relive it, I can't
put it on here and watch it.

You couldn't pay me.

It was Francis Ford coppola's
big fantasy, is what it was.

You had playgirl bunnies

and people falling out
of helicopters

and guys smoking dope
and taking drugs.

It was a joke,

and I don't know
one Vietnam veteran

that really could watch
that movie and enjoy it.

It just made us look like

made us look like
a bunch of total idiots.

That was nothing like Vietnam.

They were opulent.
They overspent.

They spoiled people for a while

and then they went away

and everything eventually got
back to normal again.

Marcos and imelda
saw that it might create

a feeling around the
world of serenity and security

and kind of make it a little
more enticing for tourism.

Imelda marcos was in love
with actors and movies

and really wanted to promote
that side of her country.

I said to him,
"what is my role as first lady?"

And he said, "as president, I'll
be the father of the country.

"I'll establish a strong house.

And you make it a home."

So I said, "I'll build
the cultural center

of the Philippines to be the
sanctuary of the Filipino soul

and the monument
to the Filipino spirit.

She did a great deal to expand
the potential of Filipino films.

She was the one who started

the manila international
film festival.

The dream was supposed to have
the current of the orient,

you know,
the current of Asia here.

And so they built
the modern-day Parthenon.

In a rush to finish building,

a whole floor collapsed
on workers.

And the story
is that imelda said,

"well, look, you know,
we haven't got time

"to dig 'em out
and restart again,

"so let the concrete dry
and just slice the limbs off

and then cover over it."

In that pantheon
of the cinematic arts,

it's also a burying ground.

Which is a big lie.

Cleaned up
every piece of debris,

and we did not stop until we got
each and every one of them

and each and every one's family
was compensated.

When it was finished,

her dream of putting up
the festival became a reality.

All the big producers
were there.

The thing that most of them
seemed to be interested in

was this character
called weng-weng.

Brace yourselves for the
acclaimed international star

of the Hollywood, cannes,
and manila film festivals,


Who the hell are you?

Check it out.

He's a midget,
but he's proportioned.

And he turned out to be this
31/2-foot secret agent guy.

They used him
as a decoy during raids.

He could infiltrate
a small opening,

they'd shove him in,
open the doors, you know.

He made a whole series
of films, as we discover now.

This is agent 00,

and he will stop at nothing
to get his man

in for y'ur height only.

Lo and behold,
to everyone's surprise,

this film became the darling
of the market.

You're such a little guy,

Very petite, like a potato.

Yeah, let's go.

I can see why
it may have been considered

a bit embarrassing, really.

All of the things that you get
in James Bond movies,

you know, the karate scenes,
the flying jet packs,

the daring escapes,
and getting the girl,

they're all in the
weng-weng movies.

He could parachute
using an umbrella.

One of the people behind
the promotion of weng-weng

was dick Randall,

and one of his specialties
was dubbing of movies.

But he had a very peculiar
sense of humor did dick,

so when he got the chance to dub

this weng-weng movie
into English,

he really went to town.

You know, sex is like Tequila.

Take one sip,
and you're a goner.

Shall we get it on?

Yes, darling. Bare your bod.

My husband
just adored weng-weng.

And he'd sit on his lap,
and dick'd get all excited.

"Oh, oh, weng-weng's wonderful.

We have to...

You know,
you're making me fall for you.

He had his own style.

He could be funny.

If you find that sort
of thing funny, you know,

you will be able to watch
that film with pleasure

for the rest of your life.

If you don't get it,

you're gonna just not get it
at all.

Oh, my little head.

I didn't understand it.

I'd look at it and say,
"oh, my God."

He was really a parody,

and we are all just laughing
at it,

not laughing for ourselves,

but laughing for America.

But I think it's a revenge
of third world filmmakers

to be able to take
these kinds of popular genres

from Hollywood
and slightly subvert them

and then send them back out
again and just say,

"well look what we've done,
and a big raspberry to you."

"Hey, take this."

We shrunk the goon.

It makes perfect sense.

This is exactly what
filipinos do.

We transform our pain
into ridicule.

Did Hollywood use us,

or did we really make
a breakthrough in Hollywood...

at the margins as it may be...

and use this
for our own cultural agenda?

Why the rest of the world
got it, I will never know.

The audience was changing
a little bit in the late 1970s.

People started thinking,

"oh, I'm paying the same amount
of money for this

as I am to see star wars,
and this isn't nearly as good."

What Spielberg and Lucas did,

their big influence was
to take exploitation films

which had always been "b" -budget

and now make them
"a" -budget pictures.

The biggest of that type
of film was jaws,

and when it came out,
Vincent canby,

the main critic for
the New York times,

said, "what is jaws but
a big Roger corman film?"

What he didn't say was,

"it was not only bigger
than mine,

it was better than mine."

And when I saw jaws,
I thought, "I'm in trouble,

and my compatriots
are in trouble.

I made piranha for Roger,
and it was an unexpected hit,

and, of course, I was asked back
to do another film.

I was asked to do a picture
called humanoids from the deep,

which was another American
version of piranha.

Humanoids from the deep.

Later on, he did a picture
called up from the depths,

which was the Filipino
rip off version.

Beneath these waves
lies a horror beyond imagining,

hungry for human flesh,

and it's coming
up from the depths.

I sent Chuck griffiths,

who was a good writer/director,

had done many films for us,

to the Philippines.

Chuck was dealing
very often with dreck

and so he was sent off to do
up from the depths,

and the only way he felt
that he could do justice to it

was to make fun of it.

I'll kill it!

I'll kill it!

No, you fool.

It's out there!
There are people out there!

And the producer,
being cirio Santiago,

wanted to make it
a scary, more serious film.

The sun's in my eyes.

So it actually becomes
somewhat of a dilemma,

because you have kind of two
films going on simultaneously,

and, you know,
what is it, you know?

Roger didn't mind you
making fun of the movie,

but he really didn't like it if
the movie wasn't as advertised.

A living tidal wave
of terror is rising,


eating its way
up from the depths.

The creature they built
was a little bit crude.

It wasn't as good
as it should have been.

Chris walas made
an underwater monster

that was supposed to be
propelled by a diver

who was holding it
in front of him.

But the front half was so heavy

that when you would start
to shoot it,

it would just dip down
like this.

You got it!


Anything that mimicked
a large-budget film like jaws,

if Roger's version
were to come out,

it would be
panned automatically.

The critics were a big problem

and I think critics
change audiences.

I felt maybe we had made
too many films

in too short a period of time
in the Philippines,

so we concentrated
on coming back home

and shooting in America.

Fewer and fewer marketplaces
were available to him.

The drive-ins were starting
to close.

The grindhouses
are starting to disappear.

The big-budget films
were starting to dominate,

so we had to adjust to that.

And Roger still continued
making pictures into the '80s,

but the places to play them
became limited,

and they started to go
directly to vhs.

But that's life.

I think we lost that

because it's nice to have your
films shown in a theater,

enjoyed by people.

Sometimes it would be
difficult to promote

the Philippines as
a safe filmmaking site

because of the security

In the South,
you have the Muslim militants,

who are in constant uprising,

and they're always shooting
people and kidnapping people

and blowing things up.

Banditry was not a problem
when I was shooting there,

but a little later on
when things deteriorated,

it was dangerous
to go out on the road.

People in the condo area there,

they could kill for a bottle
of beer.

I put my kids in
a little montessori school,

and there were guys
with sub-machine guns

guarding every entrance
to prevent kidnapping.

The political climate, I
think, just went a little crazy.

Filmmakers just finally got
to the point

where they were afraid
to go over,

and if even they weren't afraid
to go over

and shoot their movie there,

the insurance companies
wouldn't bond us.

That was basically the start of
the end of filmmaking

in the philippine islands.

That is a time in filmmaking

that will probably
never happen again, ever.

And I'm not saying that time
was better than this time,

although it may have been.

I look back at it now,

and really do think of it
sort of as the good old days,

'cause we were having fun.

It felt raw over there.

That's what I liked
a lot about it.

It wasn't anything
that was polished,

made to appear to be anything
more than what it was.

It was an amazing time.

Exciting, fun, creative.

We did have an audience
for these movies,

which helped the studios
go, "aha!

I think I'll have another
female action lead,"

which is good. Very good.

They're silly
and in a way primitive,

but also very engaging
and visceral.

I think the salaciousness
of them and the sexiness

is so trivial
by today's standards

that you can really look
at these films

and you can say,
"gee, these are really fun."

They all did well,
and they excited us,

and they were
the ultimate guilty pleasures.

You know, you can look back
on these things and think,

"oh, it was sleazy," or,
"it was this or it was that,"

but it really wasn't.

It was really revolutionary.

To have one of those great
"b" movies in the Philippines

under your belt,
that's not so bad.

For me,
it's always an exciting time

to be making films.

The first time savage!Was
shown in Hollywood boulevard,

I was there for one hour
looking at the marquee.

The stories that take place
on the film set,

ten times better than any of
the movies, any of the movies.

I've worked on too many films
where people are like,

"we're losing the light!
Jesus Christ!

"Oh, shoot into the...
just shoot this.

Okay, and run over there,
blow that up"!

Action sequence!"

Okay, shit!

And this isn't coherent,
we'll put it in anyway.

And later people are going,

"the brilliant direction
of somebody somebody,

you know..."

I've worked on too many movies
to buy into this stuff.

I don't know.

Where do these statements
come from?

This is one of the weirdest
interviews I've ever had.

As you leave the theatre,
folks, please be careful.

Don't let this happen
to your car.

If you should accidentally
pull a speaker loose,

please turn it in
at our snack bar or box office.