In Australian director Damien Power’s Killing Ground, which we reviewed out of the Sundance Film Festival, Ian and Samantha arrive at an isolated campsite to find an SUV and a tent—with no sign of the occupants. The discovery of a distressed child wandering in the woods unleashes a terrifying chain of events that will test the young couple’s breaking point.
With IFC Midnight releasing the film in limited theaters and on VOD platforms July 21, 2017, Bloody Disgusting caught up with Powers who shared his five favorite Australian horror films!
“WAKE IN FRIGHT: A long unblinking stare into the blinding Australian male psyche, this is one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen. The abasement of Gary Bond’s schoolteacher plays like one long waking nightmare. I’d like to think we’ve moved on as a nation…
THE LOVED ONES: Sean Byrne’s prom-night horror is a perfectly realized worst case scenario: drugged, abused and tortured with a power drill, Xavier Samuel is rendered a mute witness to his own suffering. Robin McLeavy steals every scene she’s in as the vengeful Lola. And just when you think things can’t get any more disturbing, they open the door to the cellar.
WOLF CREEK: For a film so shocking and relentless, WOLF CREEK has one of the most relaxed build ups in horror history – it’s a full 40 minutes before we meet Mick Taylor. Greg McLean gives us plenty of time to get to know our victims before the carnage begins. We’re scared because we care. It doesn’t hurt that McLean and John Jarratt created one of the most memorable movie monsters in recent horror history.
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK: Peter Weir’s sublime slice of gothic horror has an unshaken sense of the uncanny. There’s something happening here, and if it isn’t exactly clear that’s the point. Long before people freaked out about the ‘facts’ of Blair Witch, there was much consternation about the lack of resolve to this ‘true’ fiction. They’re remaking PICNIC as a limited TV series with Aaron Glenane (KILLING GROUND’s Chook) in a role. Look out girls!
MAD MAX (1979): I know MAD MAX isn’t a horror film but there are some moments of pure terror. I saw the film when I was way too young and it completely freaked me out. One of the sequences that has always stayed with me is when Toecutter’s gang ambushes Max’s wife Jesse in the woods, and then she and her baby are run down while trying to flee on foot. Horrifying.
Four of my five picks are playing in TO HELL AND OUTBACK: AUSTRALIAN HORROR, a 13-film survey of Down Under genre classics weekends at midnight, June 30-September 30 in IFC Center NYC’s “Waverly Midnights” program. Catch them on the big screen if you can.”
“Tension builds as the narrative threads wind together; danger escalates and Sam and Ian’s options narrow drastically. The Australian bush setting plays a significant role in the film, and Killing Ground is part of a long tradition of Australian cinema – from Picnic at Hanging Rock to Wolf Creek – that finding a deep sense of unease in a hostile wilderness.”
Aaron Pedersen, Ian Meadows, Harriet Dyer, and Aaron Glenane star in Killing Ground.