Australian Tour 2: Australian Horror Movies

I may earn money from the participating companies linked in this post: (supporting my nearby independent bookstore Bluebird & Co, in Crozet, VA) and/or Audible. My podcast is sponsored by Audible and Care/Of.

Okay, here’s the thing. I am a screamqueen. I am one of those weird horror people. I am not a gorehound–I am not afraid of the squishy-gross, but I am not a torture-porn fan. So I am at the much-more-than-you-expect level, but not at the what’s-in-her-basement level.
I have also been into horror all of my life. I don’t use that phrase lightly. My wonderful 1970’s parents believed that I, being as spooky smart as I was (that’s for another day), should have access to almost any media I want. Our deal was always this: I could read any book of Mom’s or Dad’s, or in the adult section of the library, or watch any movie my parents had on VHS, as long as I gave my parents a heads-up first. We’d touch base afterwards to see if I was okay…and I knew that I was trusted to handle my own intellect, my own emotions, and to not be afraid of images, words, or ideas.

And I watched Halloween at ten years old, and read my very first Stephen King at nine, and never looked back. Thanks, Momma Dollop!

My first introduction to Australian horror was Stones of Death (1988). I rented it from a Mom-n-Pop video store (a sad loss for movie lovers, because that’s how you found odd little gems), and didn’t even know it was Australian until the first actor spoke with that fabulous accent. Then I got sucked into this horror tale based on the mistreatment of the Aboriginal Australians. This one doesn’t seem to be available right now on VHS or DVD. Correct me if I am wrong, please.

A short list of my recommendations. Consider it followed by a silent plea for more. Educate me, please. I am woefully under-educated.

  • The Babadook: yes. Incredible mental illness horror metaphor. Works at the metaphor level, works at the oh-fuck level. I can also do a mean imitation of the voice.
  • Cubbyhouse (I don’t know why the only version available is the German uncut version, when it is an Australian movie…)
  • Dying Breed: amazing, horrifying, I needed a nap afterwards–I mean that in the best way
  • Ghost Ship: best best best opening scene ever
  • Stones of Death
  • Wolf Creek (based on the real Australian serial killer Ivan Milat. Incredible visual work in this one–emotionally gripping.)
  • Wolf Creek 2 (have not seen this one, but the same actor, John Jarratt, plays the killer, so it should be just as horrifying as the original–on my Netflix queue)


  1. Avatar for Steve Steve

    Hi Carla!

    Only recently found your blog , congrats and thanks for running such a packed site full of dollop-y goodness, think its going to take me a while to go through all the posts and links.

    Just saw the boys here in Adelaide last night , great show and was awesome to see the dollop unfold before my eyes . Dave had a rather fetching shiny birthday balloon tied to the back of his chair and some audience members seemed determined to get them drunk by constantly plying them with scotch !

    Thought I would add a few movies and notes regarding Aussie horor, I’m a big fan of the genre too ( I lean more towards the stuf that gets in your head as opposed to the full on gore or dreaded “torture porn”). Hopefully theres a few titles among them that you can track down and enjoy!

    Have to say first up that Wolf Creek 2 is a bit of let down, the first film was quite enjoyable but the second lacks any of the humour and relies more on trying to ramp up the gore and torture .

    100 Bloody Acres –  a little similar in vein to Dying Breed, at least in terms of dark comedy, though I’d describe this more as a clomedic horror , also features John Jarratt from Wolf Creek.

    Long Weekend – I think there’s been a remake of this recently so be sure to track down the original from 1978, again not really a traditional horror movie by any stretch but it has a kind of creeping dread and unease that builds as the film unfolds. The theme is probably more relevant today than ever too – without giving too much away its about a camping trip gone wrong, but with a man vs nature kind of narrative.

    Lake Mungo – very creepy documentary/found footage style. Wont giveo too much away but well worth watching.

    Van Diemens Land – So, this one is more of a drama based on true events. Actually it seems Dave and Gareth did a Dollop about it here in Aus a few nights ago ( one of the lost episodes it seems ). The story of Alexander Pearce, also known as the Cannibal convict 😉  . Its quite a bleak film, there’s not much dialogue but has stunning visuals and the scenery of the bush more than makes up for a bit of slow pacing.

    So , theres a few off the top of my head that I think would be worth your time. Also , if you havent seen it – Not Quite Hollywood – A brilliant documentary from a few years back all about  Australian cinema in the 1970’s and 80’s. Lots of clips of crazy action and horror movies to check out on that. Some great behind the scenes of the original Mad Max movies too.

    • Hi, Steve! Lovely to see you! Come back often and hang out. I love it–movies and books. I have added your suggestions to Netfliz queue and my to-be-read pile.
      I have been nervous about watching Long Weekend, because I saw something about hurting a kangaroo for fun, and that’s another place I have trouble going–violence against animals. I know it’s not real, but I can be such a girl about it. 😉

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