Queensland's horror filled history

WITH filmmakers lining up to have a stab at making the next great Aussie horror movie at locations throughout Queensland, Terry Mallinder hits the rewind button to look at the history of Sunshine State shocks on celluloid.

 

TURKEY SHOOT (1982)

Filming location: Cairns.

LONG before The Hunger Games there was so-called "Ozploitation" film Turkey Shoot, set during one of those dystopian futures and centring on a concentration camp that offers the wealthy the chance to hunt human targets for sport.

Shot just outside of Cairns, the movie featured American actors Steve Railsbeck and Olivia Hussey, the latter reportedly fearing the "bush" so much she hated the experience. Known as Blood Camp Thatcher in the UK, the film has recently been remade in Melbourne.

 

DARK AGE (1987)

Filming location: Cairns.

HE MAY now be hunting tourists to the area (in Wolf Creek), but here John Jarrett hunts a giant killer crocodile through the Outback - which was actually predominantly Cairns - in this creature feature that also stars AFI award-winning indigenous actor David Gulpilil (Crocodile Dundee, The Proposition).

The film never made it to Australian cinemas, and took more than two decades to be released here on DVD, though American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was a fan and hosted a screening during a visit to the country in 2009.

 

DEAD CALM (1989)

Filming location: Whitsunday Islands.

THOUGH set in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the beautiful Whitsunday Passage actually plays host to the sinister goings-on in this classic thriller from veteran director Phillip Noyce (Rabbit-Proof Fence) about a couple (Sam Neil and Nicole Kidman) who encounter a psychopathic Billy Zane while on holiday.

The film's other big star, playing the couple's yacht, was the Airlie Beach-based Golden Plover, which had also featured in The Blue Lagoon (1980). A full-size model of the renowned tall ship was made for the film ... so it could be destroyed towards the film's climax.

 

BLOODMOON (1990)

Filming locations:  Brisbane, Redcliffe

THE hallowed halls of Ashgrove's Marist College, once attended by former Prime Minster Kevin Rudd and ex-Wallabies rugby union captain John Eales, is the main backdrop to this nasty slasher film about a serial killer who is strangling people at an all-girls school using a piece of barbed-wire.

It was so nasty, in fact, that when released theatrically, it included a "fright break" intermission that allowed audience members to head to the nearest exit if they deemed the film too scary ... or just plain awful.

 

THE ISLAND OF DR MOREAU (1996)

Filming location: Cairns.

FILMED among the rainforests south of Cairns, the real horror behind this failed adaptation of the classic HG Wells story about an eccentric scientist who is creating human-animal hybrids was what happened behind the scenes.

Just before the start of filming, Marlon Brando's daughter had committed suicide, Val Kilmer's wife had filed for divorce and original director Richard Stanley was fired by the studio, which all made for a rather unpleasant shoot - and a finished product that co-star David Thewlis vowed never to watch. Ouch.

 

KOMODO (1999)

Filming locations: Cape Moreton, Brisbane, Gold Coast.

MORETON Island stands in for Emerald Isle, North Carolina, in this straight-to-video suspense-thriller about 4.5m 15-foot-long komodo dragons terrorising the locals. Only the makers forgot to leave out shots of a localPacific bank, of which there are none in the south-eastern US state.

It was the only film directed by veteran American special effects whiz Michael Lantier, who made a name for himself working on blockbusters such as the Indiana Jones and Back to the Future trilogies, and Jurassic Park.

 

 

HELLION (2001)

Filming locations: Gold Coast.

A RECENTLY divorced woman moves into a new house - in the Gold Coast suburb of Rainbow Bay - with her three children, only to discover that the property is already inhabited ... by an evil force emanating from the cubby in the backyard.

The film, known as Cubbyhouse in the US, might only be notable for featuring Craig McLachlan (of Neighbours fame) meeting his end via some demonic vines.

 

UNDEAD (2003)

Filming location: Woodford.

BEFORE Daybreakers and Pre8destination, the German-born, Brisbane-raised Spierig Brothers, Peter and Michael, made possibly Australia's only zombie "slash" alien invasion "slash" comedy about a small fishing village, played by the historic township of Woodford (aka Berkeley), whose residents turn into the "walking dead" after a meteor strike.

The movie won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2003 Melbourne International Film Festival "for daring to be everything Australian films are not supposed to be: part of a popular, disreputable genre".

 

HOUSE OF WAX (2005)

Filming location: Gold Coast.

IT WAS the time Paris came to the Gold Coast - one-time socialite queen Paris Hilton that is - to star in this horror about a group of teens who, after seeking refuge in a wax museum, must try to avoid becoming a permanent part of the exhibition.

While you could argue her performance was more wooden than wax, the appearance of Hilton created interest, especially with the marketing campaign: "On May 6, Watch Paris Die".

There was also drama off camera too, with a studio at Movie World destroyed by a fire triggered by a lit candle.

 

THE HORSEMAN (2008)

Filming locations: Burpengary, Brisbane.

SHOOTING in his own backyard north of Brisbane, including the Burpengary caravan park, writer-director Steven Kastrissios's debut film is a no-holds-barred - and sometimes gruesome - thriller about a grieving father seeking revenge after the death of his drug-addicted daughter.

The movie began life as a short film to help Kastrissio get the full-length version financed, and won Best Independent Drama at the 2006 Queensland New Filmmaker Awards.

 

THE RUINS (2008)

Filming location: Gold Coast. 

WEST of the Gold Coast substituted for the jungles of Mexico in this "creepy" horror about a group of young American tourists who get a history lesson of an evil kind when they visit an ancient Mayan temple.

Most of the filming was done on "practical sets" on Mount Tamborine and on a private property near the Natural Arch in Springbrook National Park, others in a soundstage at Movie World Studios.

 

ACOLYTES (2008)

Filming locations: Glasshouse Mountains, Redcliffe. 

THE Glasshouse Mountains take centre-stage - especially during a beautifully filmed panning shot in the opening scene - in this powerful thriller about two young men who make a brazen attempt to blackmail a serial killer into murdering the bully who brutalised them years earlier.

Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Exodus), now a rising force in Hollywood, stars in director Jon Hewitt's joint-winner of the best film award at the 2008 Melbourne Underground Film Festival.

 

 

DAYBREAKERS (2009)

Filming locations: Brisbane, Gold Coast.

STARRING Ethan Hawke, Sam Neil and Willem Dafoe, the film is set in 2019 when a plague has turned most of the human race into vampires.

The catch is the population with the pointy teeth are now suffering a blood-supply shortage.

This creative action-horror from Brisbane's Spierig brothers is set in the US, but scenes were shot at Riparian Plaza and Robina Train Station on the Gold Coast, others up the road at Movie World.

 

TRIANGLE (2009)

Filming locations: Brisbane, Gold Coast 

THOUGH set in the Atlantic Ocean, in the infamous Bermuda Triangle, the spooky happenings in this supernatural horror, starring former Aussie soap queen Melissa George, are staged at locations in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

There's the Queensland Maritime Museum, in particular the dry-docked HMAS Diamantina, whose interior doubled as the engine room of a haunted luxury ocean liner, as well as Raby Bay Marina, Southport Yacht Club and The Spit, and Movie World Studios, where a heated water tank was used for filming.

 

THE REEF (2010)

Filming locations: Hervey Bay, Bowen.

AUSTRALIA'S answer to Jaws sees a great white shark terrorise a group of friends whose boat has capsized at the foot of the Great Barrier Reef, with filming predominantly done around Hervey Bay - and the tiny Lady Elliot Island - with footage of the film's "antagonist" completed off the coast of Port Lincoln, SA. Directed by Andrew Traucki (Black Water), the film met with some controversy due to being billed as "Based on the true story" - that of Ray Boundy.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland was worried the film would take a significant bite out of tourism in the area.

 

 

UNINHABITED (2010)

Filming location: Capricorn Coast.

THE protected Masthead Island, about 60km north-east of Gladstone, off the Capricorn Coast, was the location for a young couple wanting somewhere deserted in which to camp. Of course, not all goes according to plan, with the pair having to confront a vengeful ghost. Think The Sixth Sense meets Castaway.

Director Bill Bennett (Two If By Sea) actually spent 10 days on the island with his brother in the 1970s, and had been left intrigued by its mysterious past, namely the many shipwrecks that occurred throughout waters there.

 

SAVAGES CROSSING (2011)

Filming location: Ipswich.

A GROUP of strangers are forced to take refuge at a roadhouse at the tiny Savages Crossing, north of Ipswich, during a severe storm, only for one of them to turn out to be more dangerous than any flooding.

Wolf Creek's John Jarrett teamed with his third wife, Cody Jarrett, to write this horror, and unfortunately for the veteran, who also  appears on screen, the general consensus was that he should stick to acting.

Craig McLachlan pops up again as the co-owner of the roadhouse.  Jarrett is now directing and starring in another 'Queensland thriller', StalkHer.

 

 

COME AND GET ME (2011)

Filming locations: Sunshine Coast, Brisbane.

THE Eudlo Forest, west of the Sunx  shine Coast, was the menacing backdrop to director Chris Sun's debut offering, revolving around four women whose girls' night out takes a turn for the worse when they are stalked by a group of madmen through the woods.

Not one to beat about the bush, Sun described the film as "horror gore", his goal being to "make something that was action from the very beginning" in the vein of cult classic Halloween.

 

SANCTUM (2011)

Filming locations: Dunk Island, Gold Coast.

MUGGY Muggy Beach on Dunk Island, Jacobs Well on the Gold Coast and Mexico's incredible Cave of the Swallows stand in for Papua New Guinea in this James Cameron-produced film that tries to take suspense to new depths by having an underwater cave-diving team in over their heads.

While real caves were filmed near Mt Gambier, all of the underwater scenes were shot in a massive water tank at Movie World Studios ... and led to director Alister Grierson contracting pneumonia and lead actor Richard Roxburgh (Hawke, Moulin Rouge!) apparently fearing for his life.

 

THE KILLAGE (2011)

Filming location: Sunshine Coast.

FILMMAKER Joe Bauer's first feature is a "slasher" comedy that pokes fun at Friday The 13th and the like, by having a group of young adults embark on a recreational work retreat... with yes, one of them turning out to be a homicidal maniac who likes to dispatch their victims in creative ways.

The majority of filming was done at Ewen Maddock Dam Recreation Centre, just north of Australia Zoo, at Landsborough. Just don't tell the young school kids who stay there.

 

 

DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL (2012) 

Filming location:  Sunshine Coast.

CHRIS Sun's second feature is a full-on revenge flick, a single father's brutal quest for vengeance after the sexual abuse and murder of his six-year-old daughter.

The controversial Sun said it was "based on actual events from the Sunshine Coast - the only difference is we threw a bit of Hollywood in it", and it won him the Grand Jury Prize as Biggest Baddest Mother at the 2013 PollyGrind Underground Film Festival of Las Vegas.

 

CHARLIE'S FARM (2014)

Filming location: Gympie.

FOR Chris Sun's third offering - and most highly rated - he called in American Pie actress Tara Reid, fresh from a somewhat career-reviving performance in cult favourite Sharknado, to be chased around a Gympie property.

Instead of pastry and airborne sharks, Reid is this time trying to avoid (an unrecognisable) one-time Aussie wrestler, the seven-foot Nathan Jones. After working to a budget of $80,000 for Come and Get Me, Sun had $1.5 million in the kitty for Charlie's Farm.

 

COMING SOON ...

StalkHer (Gold Coast)

The Pack (Glenorie Station, near Toowoomba)



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