Midnight Madness Report: Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
The genre diehards were out for Monday night’s Midnight Madness screening of Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. Having previously directed the Midnight Madness title Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! and Machete Maidens Unleashed!, Australian filmmaker Mark Hartley claimed during his introduction that Electric Boogaloo is his last documentary. Which is a shame, because over the past few years, he’s proven himself a highly entertaining historian of cinema’s more insane chapters.
Electric Boogaloo recounts the heyday of Cannon Films, the fly-by-the-seat-of-its-pants studio responsible for such sorta-legendary sorta-classics as The Apple, Death Wish II, American Ninja, Breakin’, and The Last American Virgin. Unless you’re a Cannon superfan, you probably haven’t seen most of their work—but you’ll want to after seeing Hartley’s documentary. Much of the film’s humour centres on the antics of Cannon’s two Israeli owners, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Yoram was the businessman, concerned with the bottom line. And Menahem? He just wanted to make movies. And make them fast. As the many of the documentary’s subjects attest—Hartley interviewed over 90 people for this film—Menahem would often come up with movie plots on the fly, and start shooting within weeks. They may not have won an Oscar, and they may have eventually gone out of business—but Menahem and Yoram were definitely unique.
Hartley and producer Brett Ratner were on hand for a Q&A after the doc, as well as some of Electric Boogaloo’s more vocal subjects: former Cannon music supervisor Richard Kraft and Robin Sherwood, one of the stars of Death Wish II. Hartley says he watched about 120 Cannon movies while making Electric Boogaloo, but drew the line at the sequels to Lemon Popsicle, one of the studio’s chintzier coming-of-age titty pics. Kraft, meanwhile, gave some insight into Menahem and Yorum’s financial strategy: apparently it was Cannon policy not to pay invoices until a worker had requested the money three times. And when the duo learned about Hartley’s film, they not only refused to be in it, but made their own rival Cannon documentary, entitled The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films. Menahem passed away last month at the age of 85, but Yoram has apparently reached out to one of Hartley’s producers to see if Electric Boogaloo could be included on The Go-Go Boys‘ DVD as a special feature.