Director Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood, Machete Maidens Unleashed!) continues his delightful documentary disinterment of down-market movie detritus with this chronicle of the rise and fall of 1980s action-exploitation juggernaut Cannon Films, whose contributions to the cinematic canon include American Ninja, The Delta Force, Death Wish II and Masters of the Universe.

Midnight Madness

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

Mark Hartley

All genre fans are familiar with the iconic hexagonal logo of Cannon Films. Revamped in the 1980s by film-obsessed Israeli expats Menahem Golan (who passed away last month, aged eighty-five) and Yoram Globus as the premier production house for low-budget, high-return genre moviemaking, Cannon changed the way that populist films were financed, produced, and marketed.

Yet even while the company made its cheerfully disreputable name churning out unabashed exploitation fare — from Breakin' and Lifeforce to the Chuck Norris vehicle Invasion U.S.A. and the belated sequels to Michael Winner's Death Wish and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre — it also pursued art-house respectability by financing such projects as John Cassavetes's Love Streams, Jean-Luc Godard's King Lear, and Franco Zeffirelli's filmization of Verdi's Otello.

With his previous documentaries Not Quite Hollywood and Machete Maidens Unleashed!, Mark Hartley has established himself as the foremost chronicler of cinema's sordid, seamy, and scandalous underbelly, exposing the wild and zany past of the global exploitation-film biz. Now, with Electric Boogaloo, Hartley recounts the rise and fall of Cannon, wrangling interviews with folks who served on both sides of the camera during the company's 1980s heyday, including Franco Nero (Enter the Ninja), Richard Chamberlain (King Solomon's Mines), Michael Dudikoff (American Ninja), Lucinda Dickey (Breakin'), Elliott Gould (Over the Brooklyn Bridge), Bo Derek (Bolero), and Dolph Lundgren (Masters of the Universe).

Get ready for an alternate film history full of explosions, ninjas, alien invaders, break-dancing, and plenty of jiggle and muscle-flexing!

COLIN GEDDES

Screenings

Mon Sep 08

Scotiabank 11

Industry
9:00am
Mon Sep 08

Ryerson Theatre

Regular
11:59pm
Wed Sep 10

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Regular
9:00am
Sun Sep 14

Scotiabank 11

Regular
12:45pm