A few months ago I sat home watching a string of my favourite Hong Kong films (Taxi Hunter, Run & Kill, Ninja Terminator, Troublesome Night) and realised that, as the saying goes, they really don’t make them like they used to. Times and markets had changed and while we do see the occasional bit of Hong Kong Exploitation cinema we do not see the films at the regular intervals we saw them during the late 80’s and early 90’s.
It was then that I realised that, as some of these films may not see proper re-releases on BluRay (or whatever post formats we will see in the future,) that there was a real danger that some of these great works could very well be lost.
Generations to come, and those that may become filmmakers, could miss out on both the energy, visual splendour and beautifully aggressive yet creative film making that came before them, and seeing how filmmakers are influenced by works of the past, the situation was dire indeed. It was time to go to the pub.
It was at the pub that I brought the idea up with fellow film maker (Dan Findlay) – with whom I had recently shot a music video for a Colombian rapper (another story entirely; link here) – and I expressed that something had to be done, some record had to be made, a documentary, of both the movies and the minds of the men and women that made them. He agreed, or as he put it “That works”.
We then set forth our mission – document the history of Hong Kong Exploitation Cinema roughly focusing on the era between 1987 and 1997 – the title: Neon Grindhouse.
Soon we gathered more to join our venture including, Mike Leeder, who not only had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the films we were talking about, but as both a producer, casting director and actor working in the trenches of the Hong Kong film industry since the 1980’s, had the unique experience of witnessing much of what we were covering and knowing the people involved. Together we expanded the crew we built on the initial treatment I made and we formed what became the basis of the concept of the documentary. We were locked and loaded.
Enter The Neon Grindhouse!
Next Blog: A Ninja Master.