Saturday 5 August 2023

A slightly annotated compendium of modern Australian horror films

mentioned recently that a lot of entry-level film-makers gravitate towards, broadly defined, 'horror', long one of the staples of film industries passim. That’s not something I’ve tried to keep up with, not something that, mostly, the film festivals keep up with and now that the AFI’s annual screenings of anything that pays the entry fee seem to belong to the past, it’s doubtful if many people at all keep up with this mostly near-subterranean activity. 


But wait...not entirely..for starters Harry Windsor (real name) in the latest edition of The Monthly (You'll have to give them your email if you want to read it free) has now, and at length, catalogued the current horror offering. It begins with Monolith which screened at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas (apparently a haven for such genre material but also the launching place for the deeply abysmal Oscar-winner Everything Everywhere All At Once). Monolith will also screen at MIFF. So will Late Night With the Devil (which has already screened at the Sydney FF. Other recent entrants according to Harry Windsor include Evil Dead Rise, Barbarian, Smile. Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism (screening at MIFF) and Run Rabbit Run (screening on Netflix). 


So, to look things over more generally I asked Adrienne McKibbins, a meticulous keeper of lists, just how far back can this little trend be traced. The answer is a long way.


Which first causes questions to be asked. Notwithstanding the apparent popularity of horror for low budget movie makers, who actually saw Me and My Mates Vs Zombie Apocalpypse made  in 2015 and directed by Declan Shrubb. It was released on 24 July 2015 and even has a Wikipedia page which tells us it is a 2015 Australian zombie comedy horror film written and directed by Declan Shrubb and developed through ScreenACT's 2012 Low Budget Feature Pod. The film stars Jim Jefferies, Alex Williamson, Adele Vuko, Greg FleetAndy Trieu and Matt Popp, with cameos by Eso from Bliss N Eso, Jim Punnett and The Roundabout Crew. So now your know one more part of the mosaic of where your taxes were at work, at least if you pay taxes in the ACT.


So here's the full lists of Australian horror, broadly defined as I said, a list I am advised, that is dominated by crocodiles, sharks guessed it...zombies. There might be a few objections to some that have been lumped into the category, most notably Goran Stolevski's ambitious art-house oriented You Wont be Alone but, it's just a list and not an attempted defamation


First up, special attention should be given to the work of Andrew Traucki who, between 2010 and 2022 made five films BLACK WATER (2007), BLACK WATER ABYSS (2007), THE REEF (2010), THE JUNGLE (2013) AND THE REEF STALKED (2022)


Emma Booth, Hounds of Love

The general list is as follows (in Alphabetical order)

100 BLOODY ACRES (2012) ACOLYTES  (2008), THE BABADOOK (2014), BAIT 3D (2012),BLOODY HELL (2020), BOYS IN THE TREES (2016), CARGO  (2013)                       CARGO   (2017)    (NB Yes in our narrow cinematic history we have made, within five years, two films titled CARGO, the second not, as far as I know, a remake of the first. Then again there's a pattern of sorts here. There have been two films made here called Palm Beach. Both starred Bryan Brown and one of them, by far the worse of the two, opened the Sydney Film Festival about forty years after the first was made), CARNIFEX (2022),  CUT  (2000), DAY BREAKERS (2014), FAMILY DEMONS  (2009), GREAT WHITE (2021), HOUNDS OF LOVE (2016) (NB It might be a stretch putting this one in the 'horror' category. It was mentioned on this blog when Adrian Martin sent through a translation of the review in Positif) after we published John Snadden's review "Definitely not for the faint-hearted", JOHNNY GHOST  (2011), KILLING GROUND  ()2016), LAKE MUNGO  (2008),  LITTLE MONSTERS (2019),  ME & MY MATES VS ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (2015) (NB Definitely the best title for an Oz horror movie thus far), NEEDLE  (2010),  NEXT OF KIN  (1982), OUTBACK VAMPIRES (1987), PLAGUE  (2014),  PRIMAL (2010), RELIC  (2020),  ROGUE  (2007), SCARE CAMPAIGN  (2016),  SISSY  (2022), SLENDER MAN (2018), STORM WARNING  (2007), THE FURIES  (2019,  THE LOVED ONES  (2009),  THE TUNNEL  (2011), THESE FINAL HOURS  (2013),  TRIANGLE (CO/PRO)  (2009), UNDEAD  (2003), WINCHESTER  (2018), WOLF CREEK  (2005), WOLF CREEK 2 (2013) WYRMWOOD ( 2014),  WYRMWOOD APOCALYPSE ( 2021), YOU WONT BE ALONE  (2019), ZOMBIE BRIGADE  (1988) 

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