Saturday, March 11, 2017

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)


I didn’t ever make the connection, but after watching this documentary I came to realize that Cannon Films was a part of my life, whether I liked it or not. Growing up in the 1980s, how could I avoid some of their classics like Masters of the Universe or Breakin’ or Revenge of the Ninja and of course Hercules. But it turns out that the story behind this studio is just as entertaining as some of their cheesiest movies.


This documentary explores the rise and fall of Cannon Films. Menaham Golan and Yoram Globus came to Hollywood with a dream to create films – lots and lots of films. They started out small with quicky skin flicks and silly action films. But every once in a while one of their films would become a hit and they would have enough money to make 20 more B flicks.

They rushed production, cut costs, wheeled and dealed. They started the ninja craze of the 80s, rode the breakdancing fad, employed Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson and even managed to make a couple of Shakespeare films (seriously)! But in the end they went too fast, reached too high and everything came crashing down. Filled with interviews with cast, crew and business acquaintances, you’ll hear from Franco Zeffirelli, Marina Sirtis, Molly Ringwald, Dolph Lundgren, Tobe Hooper, Elliot Gould, Michael Dudikoff, Bo Derek, Sybil Danning, Richard Chamberlain and a whole host of others. The stories will have you laughing, shaking your head and wondering if Electric Boogaloo was really as goofy as you remembered.

Good Points:
  • Filled to bursting with great stories about making some of these infamous movies
  • Manages to hit all the key high and low points of the studio and its creators
  • Sure to cause flashbacks to anyone who was a movie fan in the 80s and 90s 

Bad Points:
  • Sorely missing is any input from Golan, Globus, Stallone and Norris
  • Feels like there were even more great stories cut for time
  • Sure to cause unpleasant flashbacks for anyone who was a movie fan in the 80s and 90s (didn’t want to remember The Apple and God help me if I see any more footage from Going Bananas)


Oh yeah this movie was right up my alley. I love cheesy movies of the 1980s and Cannon made some of the cheesiest. So many great stories in this, and some of them had my jaw dropping. It both praises and questions the men who made this studio. They did some really innovative things and some really questionable things. While I wish Golan and Globus had participated in this (they quickly got their own documentary produced and released before this one!) what you do get is a hell of an entertaining look at a dark horse studio and the very unique world of 1980s Hollywood.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 3
Sound: 3
Acting: 3
Script: 4
Music: 3
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

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  1. This sounds like the type thing I'd enjoy. I'll have to see if I can add it to my NF queue.

    1. Definitely check it out. I think you'll really enjoy it. But be warned it may make you want to revisit the "American Ninja" series again... that way leads to madness. ;)

  2. Given the production costs of even the cheesiest shoestring movies, it’s surprising that so many independent film companies (besides the out-and-out porn producers) somehow make a go of it. Even here in NJ, which hardly has been Film Central since the days of Edison, there is an indie producer in nearby Butler NJ that goes by several brand names including E.I. Independent Cinema that churns out cheapo horror, scifi, and soft-core flicks – nothing as ambitious as Masters of the Universe. It has been in business for decades and evidently makes money. In the late 90s and early 2000s the studio had an especially good run thanks to the unexpected cult appeal of actress Misty Mundae in such movies as SpiderBabe and Bite Me! In her last film with them (Shock-o-rama) she plays a soft-core/horror scream queen (“Rebecca Raven”) who quits her job at an NJ indie studio only to be attacked by a real zombie; it’s hard not to suspect that her “I quit!” rant in it didn’t need to be scripted:

    I’ve seen a few Cannon films, but I wasn’t aware the movie Electric Boogaloo was about the filmmakers. Sounds entertaining.

    1. Oh man, Misty Mundae! Yeah she was a big hit with the b-flick crowd. I remember when I worked at the video store we had a few folks who pretty much watched everything she was was in as it was released. Yeah making movies is hard work and very expensive, so to see these little studios making it work is really inspiring. I hope they are making the movies they want to make, because that kind of freedom may be worth it for them.

      Well the title "Electric Boogaloo" comes from the Cannon film "Breakin' 2 - Electric Boogaloo". You get to hear all about how that title came up and what the cast thought of it.