Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films | Calling all trash cinephiles! This is a must-see!

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)

Most of Hollywood is all talk, we make films’ – Menahem Golan

B-movie fans growing up in the 1980s will certainly remember Cannon films and their iconic logo, as well as the names of the company’s owners, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus – two movie-obsessed Israeli cousins who set out to be bigger than Hollywood and ended up changing the way movies were made and marketed forever.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)Throughout the decade, Golan and Globus – aka the Go-Go Boys – churned out some outrageously schlocky fare that ended up on the shelves of VHS rental shops everywhere, including Sylvester Stallone’s lame arm-wrestling flick Over The Top, the Lawrence of Arabia meets The Great Race rip-off Sahara with Brooke Shields, the Mount Everest of bad musicals, The Apple, and the cut price Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which featured a Chippendales dancer as the bad guy. They also introduced ninjas into pop culture – courtesy of Franco Nero – turned Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme into action heroes, and brought two pastel shades of breakdancing to the big screen – hence the title, Electric Boogaloo.

For me, I will never, forget their foray into sci-fi and horror, especially 1985’s Lifeforce (1985) and the creaky 1983 comedy House of the Long Shadows, which famously teamed Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Back in the day, they were grave disappointments. Today, however, they are cult favourites – and so are alot of films in Cannon’s back catalogue.

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For his latest delvings into cinema’s weirder side, Aussie film nut Mark Hartley’s crams in as many excerpts from Cannon’s back catalogue as he can, and interviews a roll-call of names who worked on the howlers, including Elliott Gould, Dolph Lundgren, Bo Derek and Sybil Danning, and their recollections provide a fascinating, hilarious – and at times vitriolic – portrait of the fiery Golan and the shrewd Globus, who, despite their flaws, certainly put their mark on pop culture.

Your head might spin at Hartley’s fast-cut editing as many of the same anecdotes about how G& G were tasteless, misguided and out of touch are all told by multiple interviewees. One that had me in stitches is Golan pitching a role directly to Manis the orang-utan (Clint Eastwood’s sidekick Clyde in Every Which Way But Loose). But despite labelling them as junk peddlers and names far worse – all of the interviewees agree on one thing – that the brash pair loved cinema more than anything.

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As outlaws working against a Hollywood that ostracised them, they came, they conquered (briefly), and they crashed spectacularly. Along the way, they gave moviegoers some truly memorable B-movie cinema moments. But for all the awful Death Wish sequels, Indiana Jones rip-offs, and bargain bin stinkers, they also had the odd flicker of artistic integrity when they gave the likes of Barbet Schroeder (Barfly), John Cassavetes (Love Streams) and Andrei Konchalovsky (Runaway Train) their chance to shine, and Franco Zeffirelli the opportunity to make his 1986 opera musical masterpiece, Otello.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films is available to stream from Metrodome and BFI Player, and screens in selected UK cinemas, while the UK home entertainment release is scheduled for 13 July

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About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on June 10, 2015, in Documentary, Must-See and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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