Category Archives: Australian Horror Films
THE LOVED ONES-Australia-2009
Written and Directed by Sean Byrne
Alright, okay you’re going to have to give me a minute to wrap my brain around this one. There are so many fucking images dancing like maniacs in my head right now. I see the cast of The Breakfast Club and all their screwed-up personalities; I see Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed because he didn’t want to be alone; I see Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles; I see the killer in Wolf Creek; I see Glenn Close and that boiled rabbit in Fatal Attraction. Oh, sweet heaven, I see so many images in my brain and none of them go together and it’s all because I just watched The Loved Ones!
After the death of his father in a car accident that he himself was involved in, Brent (Xavier Samuel, Bait, and Eclipse) retreats into a world of marijuana and heavy metal music. He cuts himself to ease the pain that he feels. His mother, though she loves him, silently blames him for her husband’s death. His girlfriend, Holly (Victoria Thaine), is his only lifeline.
When Lola (Robin McLeavy, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) asks him to the dance, Brent rejects her on the grounds that he is already going with Holly. This is a big mistake on his part because it sets off a chain of events that include kidnapping, hammers, nails, knives and drills and they all find their way into Brent’s body courtesy of Lola and her father (John Brumpton, The Hunter), not to mention hypodermic needles, window cleaner and table salt. Looking back, I can think of a few clichés that fit quite nicely with this film; “You always hurt the ones you love” and “If I can’t have you, then no one can have you” come to the forefront of my brain; the latter a very popular one among psychos and serial killers. You can catalog Lola under psycho; this bitch makes Close in ‘Fatal’ look like Strawberry Shortcake in Sunday school.
I loved this film, it is such a tour-de-force and there are so many references and influences that it’s hard to wrap your brain around all of it. I saw nods to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wolf Creek, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Fatal Attraction, Jeffrey Dahmer and The Hillside Stranglers. I could probably think of a few more given the time.
After the film was over with I found myself pondering the title. The Loved Ones; why would you title a film that is so psychotic with so sweet a name? Then, thinking back, it came to me; the entire film is about just that: loved ones. There’s Brent and his father, Brent’s mother and Brent, Brent and Holly, Lola and Brent, Lola and her father. The love may be right and true and it may be sociopathic and psychotic, but at the end of the movie it’s still love, sweet bloody love.
The Loved Ones is director Sean Byrne’s feature debut. It’s almost like he worries that he’ll never get another chance. Sean, I can assure you that after this one, there will be plenty more chances.
Under the instructions of director Sean Byrne, Robin McLeavy prepared for the role of Lola by researching the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, as well as watching Misery, Natural Born Killers and the works of Quentin Tarantino.
- Marc Jacobs Loves Lola. (Lo-lo-lo-lo Lola) (bellasugar.com)
- Hughes Cinema Style: The Breakfast Club (fabsugar.com)
- Back to Cool: Teen Queen, Molly Ringwald (fabsugar.com)
- Hughes Cinema Style: Sixteen Candles (fabsugar.com)
- Molly Ringwald Talks About Her New Book, “Getting The Pretty Back” | Babble (babble.com)
- It’s a Cult Movie Halloween: Claire From The Breakfast Club (bellasugar.com)
- Molly Ringwald and Caboodles Return From the ’80s (bellasugar.com)
- Molly Ringwald Dishes on Redheads, Makeup, and Shaving Off Your Eyebrows (bellasugar.com)
- Love From Australia Suede Over-the-Knee Boot: Love It or Hate It? (fabsugar.com)
- Rose Byrne Tells Us About Her ’70s Bangs and Fearless Fashion (fabsugar.com)
DEEP BLUE SEA-United States/ Australia-1999
Directed by Renny Harlin
Written by Duncan Kennedy and Donna Powers and Wayne Powers
If you went to see “Deep Blue Sea” for its intelligent plot, Oscar-worthy acting and heart-wrenching drama then you are a complete dumb-ass. If you went to see “Deep Blue Sea” to watch dumb people get chewed, chomped and swallowed (no spitting here) by hyper-intelligent Mako sharks then welcome to my world. Why the hell else would you want to see this movie? Tell me; was it the scene where Samuel L. Jackson is delivering his ‘there’s no ‘I’ in team’ speech and gets rudely interrupted? How about when Saffron Burrows takes one for the team? Then there’s Stellan Skarsgård, who goes above and beyond the call of duty to give his right arm (or was it his left?) to further the cause of the killer sharks. To say that Skarsgård is the spearhead that leads the tiburón revolution is the understatement of the decade. Then there’s LL Cool J as the Bible-thumping, booze-swilling Sherman ‘Preacher’ Dudley. He’s no Robert Shaw, but the sharks ate his bird. Its payback time, bitches.
Despite the ridiculous nature of the plot, “Deep Blue Sea” is a load of fun and is arguably the best killer shark movie since “Jaws” from way back in 1975. “Deep Blue Sea” never once takes itself too seriously; it’s stupid as hell and it knows it. Face it, any movie with Thomas Jane as a guy that rides the sharks and pulls license plates out of their mouths is not going for “The Remains of the Day” or “Chariots of Fire” crowd.
- the license plate pulled from the shark’s teeth is the same plate found in the tiger shark in Jaws.
- Director Renny Harlin has a cameo as one of the employees leaving the facility early in the movie (he’s the one with long, blonde hair and sunglasses).
- The “Deep Blue Sea” of the Sun (universetoday.com)
- Look of the Day: Deep Blue Sea (fabsugar.com)
- Winnipeg Fringe Festival: Danny and the Deep Blue Sea; Made in Germany; Gametes and Gonads (bloodyunderrated.net)
- Jaws: 10 movies that were inspired by Steven Spielberg’s classic (digitalspy.co.uk)
- The Greatest Sharks In Video Games, Just In Time For Shark Week [Video] (kotaku.com)
- At the bottom of a deep blue sea (flourishbaking.wordpress.com)
- Egypt between the devil and the deep blue sea (redress.cc)
- Far into a deep blue sea. (zugeybernardino.wordpress.com)
- The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea – Egypt (bgtvmediaonline.wordpress.com)
- The Battle between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (thefrustratedpoet.wordpress.com)
Directed by Timo Vuorensola
Original story by Johanna Sinisalo
Original concept by Jarmo Puskala
Screenplay by Michael Kalesniko
Alright, let me see if I can get this shit straight before I drift off into a beer-induced sleep. The Nazis have been living on the dark side of the moon since 1945. The very first black man (a model, of all things) to ever set foot on the moon is captured by those same Nazis and is then turned white and German by some Joseph Mengele want-to-be. He is then forced by a guy named Klaus (Götz Otto) to travel back to Earth with him and his fräulein Renate Richter (Julia Dietze) to meet the President (a woman who resembles a certain Governor from Alaska a bit too much) and seemingly set off an invasion by those same Nazis that will allow Herr Adler to take over the earth and begin a fourth Reich. Instead of an initial invasion, they are in turn utilized by the somewhat ball busting and quite horny campaign manager for the President and become part of a tactic to aid in said President’s re-election. The Nazi bastards then screw over the campaign manager, launch a full scale invasion of earth and are thwarted by the black man and the fräulein who has since changed her Nazi ways and taken a shine to the black man even though he is now white and German. Oh, so that’s what the hell I just watched. No wonder I spent the entire movie saying ‘What the f–k am I watching’ under my breath.
Iron Sky is one of the most ridiculously entertaining films I have seen in quite some time. It is a perfect example of a film that is so illogical and yet works in ways that I seriously doubt the filmmakers could have ever imagined. It’s the kind of film that you can say is ‘f–king stupid’ and ‘f–king genius’ in the same breath and both answers would be correct. But the thing that gets me about this film is why in the hell is it not available in the United States? I had to download a copy from the Pirate Bay. Come on, people; we spend so much time bitching and moaning about remakes and re-boots. A film like this is just what we need to quell that griping and give us something to talk about. Isn’t that what cinema needs; something to talk about?
Nazi spaceships are named after operas in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle. “Rheingold”, “Walkure”, “Siegfried” and “Götterdämmerung”.
The German customs office would not allow the film-makers to bring any Nazi costumes and regalia into Germany, but fortunately the makers of Inglourious Basterds helped director Vuorensola by revealing how they had circumvented the same problem.
When Renate Richter takes off the helmet after leaving the escape pod, it can be seen to bear the number “SS-1138″, a nod to George Lucas.
A tribute to Pink Floyd is made by using synthesizer effects for barely a few seconds from the band’s track “On the Run” from their album Dark Side of the Moon (which is where the Nazis made base). The music can be heard just after the scene where the Earth fleet departs for the moon.
During the Nazi’s invasion on New York City, three World Trade Center buildings are visible.
The time stamp on the news report of the Invasion of New York City is 9:11 PM.
- Iron Sky – review (guardian.co.uk)
- Nazis Attack from Outer Space in Iron Sky (dreadcentral.com)
- IRON SKY Launches a New Trailer (collider.com)
- Win Double Passes To See Iron Sky! (gizmodo.com.au)
- Review: Iron Sky (2012) (thefilmoracle.wordpress.com)
- What’s the fuss over Iron Sky? (bbc.co.uk)
- Jarv’s Schlock Vault Special: Iron Sky (moonwolves.wordpress.com)
- A really bad film that lost it’s funny bone to political satire; Iron Sky (marcwinger.com)
- IRON SKY – U.S. Trailer for the Moon Nazi Invasion Film (geektyrant.com)
- San Diego Comic-Con 2012: The Iron Sky Babe Army Awaits! (dreadcentral.com)
- Review: Iron Sky (pete975.wordpress.com)
- Moonnazi Daydream Read Our IRON SKY Blu-Ray Review (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- Film Reviews: Movie review: Iron Sky (15) (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Marvel At Our Winning Iron Sky Limericks (gizmodo.com.au)
- Iron Sky (noframeof.wordpress.com)
- Fantastic Concept Art from the “Moon Nazi” Movie Iron Sky (io9.com)
- Forget Neil Armstrong, The Nazi’s Are Coming Enjoy The IRON SKY Playlist! (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- Off-Topic – Re: Iron Sky (disclose.tv)
Written and directed by Christopher Smith
Triangle is a horror film disguised as a suspense film that wants to be a horror film. There are all the elements of a suspense film, but there’s enough blood and supernatural (psychological) activity to warrant calling it a horror movie. Viewing the DVD cover, I expected a movie that could be considered The Strangers at Sea. Instead I got an old Yogi Berra saying mashed up into “its deja vu all over again meets the Strangers on a boat.”
Melissa George is a single mother with an autistic child who is both a blessing and a bother to her. She loves him dearly, but she has no time to herself. She leaves him, presumably at school, to go sailing with friends. The boat is capsized during a storm and they take refuge on what appears to be an abandoned cruise ship. This is when the weird starts. If I were to tell you what happens, it would seem ridiculous. I can assure it’s not, although it may be guilty of the occasional plot hole. What I can tell you is that Triangle is an entertaining film that has you wondering in circles up to and including the very end. In fact, I believe it’s safe to say that Yogi Berra would have been very proud. It is indeed deja vu all over again.
The film makes many oblique references to The Shining. The number 237 crops up, which was the same number of the spooky hotel room Danny was forbidden to go into; there are also words written on a mirror, a ballroom and an axe.
- New Zealand Horror Film Short THE FRENCH DOORS (geektyrant.com)
- Made in Britain: Severance (2006) (moonwolves.wordpress.com)
- Joss Whedon Thinks Iron Man’s Triangle Is “Ass” (geektyrant.com)
- Cat People (1982) (horror-movie-a-day.blogspot.com)
- Yogi Berra (junojs100w.wordpress.com)
- What’s Killing You – Horror Film Infographic (geektyrant.com)
- Cinéma de Mode: Ember – A Fashion Horror Film (iheartberlin.de)
- How Long Would You Survive in a Horror Movie? (geektyrant.com)
- The Cabin in the Woods (2012) (horroraddicts.wordpress.com)
- Sheppard, Steinbrenner, (not) Berra [Yogi Berra Is Not Dead] (deadspin.com)
- Are You Ready for a FRANKENSTEIN Found-Footage Film? (geektyrant.com)
- Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012) (feedmefilms.wordpress.com)
- A Lonely Place to Die (smallscreenreviews.com)
- Texas Frightmakers: Q&A with Producer Allen Reed (dreadcentral.com)
- Old Hollywood Book Reviews: Shock Value (journeysinclassicfilm.com)
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK-United States, Australia, Mexico-2010
Directed by Troy Nixey
Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
Based on the 1973 teleplay by Nigel McKeand
The Guillermo del Toro produced and co-written remake of the 1973 film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark has all the feeling of a TV movie, just like the earlier film, which was a TV movie in the first place. That’s not a compliment, mind you, it’s a harsh criticism. Watching this film in the theatre, I felt like I could pause, go take a leak, grab a beer and come back without having missed anything. The original film worked because it understood the constraints of the format (television) in which it was played out. Guillermo del Toro and director Troy Nixey have made a horror film that’s too little for the big screen and therefore too big for its cinematic britches.
Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes are Kim and Alex; a couple restoring an old mansion, Blackwood Manor, for a client of theirs. Alex’s daughter, Sally, is staying with them after her mother forces her off on Alex to look after her. The child soon becomes the target of a horde of nasty little nocturnal creatures that want her for their own and will stop at nothing to have her. The creatures, resembling malnourished rats with human faces, scurry about, sensitive to the light, staying in the shadows and allowing only glimpses of them from the corner of the eye. They whisper Sally’s name in the darkness, beckoning her, luring her. It all sounds like pretty scary stuff, right?
Well, no, not really. Besides having the feel of a TV movie, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark feels like a reject from the Disney factory. I’m surprised they didn’t make Sally’s character older and cast Miley Cyrus. I’m also surprised that I didn’t see Robin Williams name in the credits as the voice of the creatures. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a major disappointment from del Toro, the man behind the lens for The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. If this film had been made by a lesser name it would have stood as a failed experiment. Coming from del Toro and crew, it’s a failure, period.
Appropriately set in Providence, RI as that was the home of H.P. Lovecraft who wrote the story “The Rats in the Walls” which apparently inspired this film. Though the short story was set in England not Rhode Island.
The runes carved into the stone over the furnace that the creatures live down spells out “Be Afraid” in Elder Futhark.
Directed by Andrew Traucki
Written by Andrew Traucki and James M. Vernon
When I was growing up in South Carolina, my family would travel to Myrtle Beach for vacation every year or two. The one thing I remember most about those trips was swimming in the Atlantic. The water was murky and I would always imagine that all of a sudden a great set of jaws would appear out of nowhere right in front of my face. After viewing The Reef, I get the feeling that writer-director Andrew Traucki has had the same experience at one time or another. The Reef is another in the long line of shark films to ride the wave that Jaws set into motion thirty-six years ago. It could easily be described as “Jaws Meets Open Water”.
The film is about five friends who go on holiday on board a yacht in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The ship hits a reef and eventually capsizes. This leaves the five of them to make a decision; swim for it and try to reach the nearest land or stay put and risk drifting further out to sea. I’m not giving anything away by telling you that four decide to swim for it while the other stays behind. The question is, who is in a more of damned if you do, damned if you don’t predicament? Is it the one who stayed behind or the four who take their chances with the water and the sharks? One shark in particular has his eye on them and is making reservations for his next meal. To steal from a classic film “Who will survive and what will be left of them?”
The Reef is not a perfect shark movie. It drags at the beginning and takes a bit too long to build a suspenseful atmosphere. When it does, there is no stopping it. The film is most harrowing when the shark is nowhere to be found. Just like those vacations on Myrtle Beach, I kept expecting it to appear out of nowhere. Sometimes it does, sometimes not. Not knowing what awaits you is the scariest of all.
The film is based on the true story of Ray Boundy, who was the sole survivor of a similar incident in 1983.
Written and Directed by Joel Anderson
“There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.”-Dwight David Eisenhower
There’s no ’60-40′ or ’70-30′ when it comes to the belief in the supernatural. It’s always ’50-50′. You either believe in ghosts, or you don’t. At the beginning of Lake Mungo we are told that “In December of 2005 the death of 15-year old Alice Palmer began a series of supernatural events that would haunt her grieving family.” Alice is with her family at Lake Mungo on an outing when she disappears. Later that night her body is recovered by divers and her death is ruled a drowning. Throughout the rest of the film the family goes through a series of strange supernatural occurrences that lead them to believe that they are indeed being haunted by the ghost of their daughter. What’s even more disturbing than the haunting, however, is finding out the secrets that their daughter kept from them.
Lake Mungo is the type of film that comes along every once in a while that shatters your expectations completely. From looking at the cover art I expected a cheap little ghost story with little or no scares and even less plot. What I got was a film that, although it is about ghosts, is more about closure for a grieving family. each family member deals with Alice’s death in their own way. The father sinks himself into his work, the brother becomes more passionate about his photography and the mother begins to suffer nightmares. As a whole, they are trying to come to terms with the loss of Alice and with the secrets about her that are revealed to them over time.
The film is told in mock-u-mentary style and I feel that this was indeed the best way for it to be presented. It gives a closer insight into the lives of the family and the grief they are experiencing than any high budget film could achieve. Writer and director Joel Anderson has crafted a film in the tradition of Paranormal Activity that I must admit gave me chills at certain points. By making the main focus of the film about closure he has fashioned a ghost story to be remembered.
Written and Directed by Greg Mclean
Michael Vartan as Pete McKell
Sam Worthington as Neil Kelly
John Jarratt as Russell
Mia Wasikowska as Sherry
In the history of the cinema there really haven’t been that many good giant crocodile movies. In fact, there have probably only been two. The first of course was Alligator (1980), directed by Lewis Teague and written by John Sayles and Frank Perilli. The second would of course be 2007′s Rogue.
A group of tourists are on a river cruise in Kakadu National Park, located in the Northern Territory of Australia. The tour guide, Kate, sees a flare go up and by law is required to investigate. The tour boat suffers damage to it’s hull and must be run ashore onto a small island until help can arrive. Good idea, bad location. The group is stranded in the lair of a very large and very aggressive crocodile that soon makes them regret such a snappy decision. The crocodile makes quick work of one tourist and then proceeds to have its way with two more later on in the film. It’s up to Kate and the few remaining survivors to figure a way out of this mess before they too become Crocodile Kibble.
Rogue is Director Greg Mcleans’ followup to his 2005 independent horror hit Wolf Creek. He doesn’t knock this one out of the park like he did with the previous film, but he does make a definite home-run. There were just a few moments in the film where it seemed to bog down. All in all, though, Mclean should be commended for an excellent story and excellent direction. The cast led by Radha Mitchell and also starring Wolf Creek alumnae John Jarratt as well as future Avatar and Alice in Wonderland stars Sam Worthington and Mia Wasikowska make for an excellent ensemble.
Rogue, like Wolf Creek before it, is based on a true story. In Australia in the 1970′s there was a giant crocodile that was attacking boats. It was even given a nickname.
Oh, by the way, Alligator wasn’t really a giant crocodile film. But who’s keeping score?
Directed by Greg Mclean
Written by Greg Mclean
John Jarratt as Mick Taylor
Kestie Morassi as Kristy Earl
Nathan Phillips as Ben Mitchell
If you were to ask a random group of 10 people what type of horror films they consider to be the scariest, chances are at 6 out of those 10 will tell you that the horror films that are based on real-life events are the most frightening of all. After all, no werewolf is going to attack you by the light of a full moon and no vampire is going to seduce you and take your blood for nourishment. A couple of Sundays ago it was National Zombie Hunting Day on Facebook. I never saw a single zombie the entire day. I work in a hospital, so I saw a lot of homeless people who were drunk and smelled bad, but they were still alive and none of them tried to eat my flesh. Zombies don’t exist. Nor werewolves. Nor vampires. Murderers and kidnappers, unfortunately, do exist.
Wolf Creek is based loosely on the abduction and likely murder of Peter Falconio (likely because his body has never been recovered) and his girlfriend, Joanne Lees. Lees managed to escape and has since written a book about the ordeal. She was the chief crown witness at the murder trial of Bradley John Murdoch, the man convicted of Falconios’ murder and who is now serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder. In addition, actor John Jarratt also based the character of Mick Taylor on real-life serial killer Ivan Milat.
Three friends; Liz, Christy and Ben, are traveing across Australia when their car breaks down at Wolf Creek, a crater formed by a 50,000 ton meteorite. They can’t figure out why the car will not start and prepare themselves to wait out the evening. Later that night they are approached by Mick Taylor, who can be best described as a larger than life ‘Crocodile Dundee’-like character. They agree to go with Taylor back to his camp after he tells them he can fix their car. Taylor drugs them and then binds them in separate areas of the camp. He tortures Kristy by shooting at her and sexually abusing her. I don’t want to give away the rest of the film. All I will say is that the three of them, especially Kristy and Liz, are put through more torture in one night than they could ever imagine.
John Jarratt has shaped Mick Taylor into one of the most horrifying villains that I have seen in a horror film in a long time. According to trivia Jarratt stayed in character the entire time they were shooting the film. It is an absolute shame that the snobs who pull the strings at the Acadamy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are too damn afaraid to watch a horror film every now and then. Jarratt deserves the Oscar for his portrayal of Mick Taylor as much as Heath Ledger and Charlize Theron deserve theirs for playing the Joker and Aileen Wuornos.
Equally impressive is the performance of Cassandra Magrath as Liz Hunter. What makes it even more impressive is that she isn’t really given all that much dialogue. Her encounter with Jarratt is one of the cruelest incidents I have ever witnessed in a horror film, or any other film for that matter.
Like Inside ( a film I am sure most people would agree that I refer to way too often ), Wolf Creek takes what could happen in real life and makes it far more frightening than anything that Freddy or Jason could ever dream of. Jst remember, no one has ever been bitten by a vampire or attacked by a werewolf; but Ted Bundy was responsible for the murders of at least 30 women and Andrei Chikatilo murdered over 52 women and children before they were finally executed. Sleep on that.