director Mark Hartley
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is director Mark Harley’s third documentary on alternative or subculture movie history, following Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008) and Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010). This time he turns his historical perspective, interview lens, and films clips on The Cannon Group and in particular Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the two Israeli cousins who turned a small independent studio into a temporary player in Hollywood in the glorious 1980’s.
Everyone has their own relationship with the films from Cannon, and I too recall the odd mixture of optimism and pessimism that struck me when I sat down for a movie and saw that logo come together. They truly channeled the independent spirit and strategies honed by the likes of Roger Corman, only they really wanted a place at the bigger Hollywood table. In a lot of ways they extended the cult and drive-in genres beyond the 1960’s and 1970’s deeper into the 1980’s than perhaps any one else really did.
They made a lot of junk. Some of it great junk. Some of it serious junk. Some of the junk transformed into movie classics and much-loved flicks.
Hartley’s approach is pretty standard fare, but he gets some good stories, some reasonable (and less reasonable) takes on things, stokes ironic nostalgia, and invokes a number of imitations of Golan and Globus. It seems anyone who ever met them learned to do an impression.