Bamboo Gods, Iron Men and Wonder Women

Have you ever wondered about news pieces like THIS one. Or last year’s reports about Tarantino in the Philippines and so on? Don’t worry, not everyone’s an expert on filipino exploitation cinema, so enjoy this:

Once Upon A Time in the Phillipines, exploitation cinema ruled. In the early 1960s, Directors like Gerardo DeLeon & Eddie Romero came up with a new kind of sci fi horror film and went on to create the “Blood Island” films. They introduced a creepy mad scientist who used humans for crazy experiments deep in the jungle. Later in the 1970s, theaters were invaded by Director Cirio Santiago‘s action packed genre films like “Ebony Ivory & Jade“, “TNT Jackson“, “The Muthers” and Hustler Squad. These films revolved around badass babes who took on armies with their sexual and physical prowess. Director Cesar Gallardo’s Blaxploitation-Martial Arts mixer “Bamboo Gods & Iron Men” and the Female Dirty Dozen styled “Hustler Squad” were two more films of the time that became cult classics. Even American exploitation directors like Jack Hill (Coffy) got in on the Fillipino craze and went there to shoot his legendary Women In Prison films “The Big Doll House” and “The Big Bird Cage” for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. This is also where film audiences were introduced to a new actress named Pam Grier! What made Filipino exploitation cinema special? The films were of course very exotic but they also had a different mood to them as well. The country itself became another character along with the lurid, pulp storylines which gave grindhouse and drive-in audiences another kind of thrill than they were used to seeing. These werent Chinese or Japanese films. They were distinctly Filipino and had their own flavor. A kid named Quentin Tarantino grew up on these films and they made a large impact on him when he went on to craft his own cinema genre stories. Filippino cinema is yet another piece of the greater structure that makes up his own culturally diverse cinema style. If you love exploring new kinds of movies, The Quentin Tarantino Archives and The Deuce recommend discovering these spicy movie morsels from Southeast Asia for yourself!

I hope you enjoyed this short journey into Quentin’s secret film vaults and we’ll keep more articles like that coming for boring sundays like this one.

Peter Roberts

Peter is the editor in chief at the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and staff writer at, he is a long time cineast and lives in Massachusetts.

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