Month: June 2014

Interview with John Jarratt from Wolf Creek 2 (15mins)

Click below to listen to our entire interview

It’s be a long promotional journey for Wolf Creek 2.
What started with the premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September of 2013, continues almost 1 year later with the BluRay and DVD release.
So I can empathise with the croaky, coughing voice of John Jarratt during our 15 minute phone interview.
“I’ll give the odd interview in the ensuring years and stuff,  like whenever I get an interview with anything else I do,  I’ll talk about Wolf Creek.  But as far as campaigns are concerned, you guys today and a bit more next week and the pressure will be off from that point.” 

A theme prevalent in the many interviews Mr Jarratt has conducted centers on Wolf Creek 2’s popularity in the download industry.  A point he firmly presses to end our interview.
“Don’t pirate independent films. If you are going to do that, do it with the big Hollywood blockbusters.  Pay for it or you will kill the goose that laid the golden egg and you won’t see Wolf Creek 3”.
The only thing missing was the above statement being spoken in the voice of Mick Taylor.

Jarratt’s film career began at a remarkable time in the industry.  You can correspond his debut and subsequent roles with the renaissance period of Australian filmmaking –  the mid 1970s -1980s.
“It was a glorious period right up to The Man From Snowy River and Crocodile Dundee.  And then around 1985, Film Finance Corporation came into being and a whole lot of bureaucrats had far too much to say about the creative industry.
And then in the late 1990s, Baz Luhrmann and P J Hogan came screaming back up the ladder with the lunatics slowly getting to the asylum. I think it has been slowly growing ever since.
I think Wolf Creek also put an end to the smack films in the back streets of Melbourne or the coming of age films, they seem to all die off  and good solid genre pictures have started to come back through like Animal Kingdom. I think it is in a good place.  

In the 1980s it was just Mel Gibson as the only one who came out of the Australian film industry, now there’s 30-odd major movie stars and tv stars in the world today that are Australian. And we’ve always had fantastic crew.  In the next 20 years, we are going to be a force to be reckoned with”.

One of the strengths of Wolf Creek 2 is a concerted effort to inject some absurdity and deeper humour into the character of Mick Taylor, which results in occasions where you will catch yourself laughing, and feel guilty about it.
“That’s what I was aiming for. It’s good to laugh, even if it is inappropriate.”  Jarratt reassures me.

Wolf Creek 2 set pieces are really well thought out and executed, with a particular wonderful nod to Spielberg’s Duel.
“Don’t be afraid to steal good stuff from previous movies.  Tarantino’s very good at that and that’s what makes him interesting. You shouldn’t be ashamed of taking something that’s worked and reworking it. That’s how genres grow.”

 

 

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Carla Laemmle – who spoke the first words in a horror film, has died at 104

Carla Laemmle, the film actress who spoke the first ever words in a horror film,  died on June 12 2014 .  She was one of the few remaining living actresses from the silent era.

The historical moment occurred in Dracula (1931),  where as a coach passenger, she spoke the opening lines, reading directly from the Transylvania tourist brochure her character was holding.
”Among the rugged peaks that frown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age ”


CarlaLaemmle Like many silent film stars of her time, she disappeared from the screen (in her case for 60 years) , before returning to voice in a vampire-related video game in the 90s.  From 2000, she appeared in numerous documentaries on Dracula, the history of cinema, and of Universal Pictures – which her uncle Carl Laemmle founded.

From the age of 11, Carla (with her father), moved into a bungalow on the Universal film lot.
Having studied dancing from the age of 6, she was chosen for a minor role in the Lon Chaney silent film The Phantom of the Opera (1925), where she appeared, uncredited, as the prima ballerina.
”I think the thing about the Phantom of the Opera is the romantic quality it has. It’s so intriguing and mysterious.  It fascinated people” she told interviewer David Skal in 2003.

As for Dracula, there were two versions filmed in 1931.  The aforementioned English version, and a Spanish-language version, filmed on the same set, with the same props, during the night.   A star of the Spanish-language version, Lupita Tovar, is still alive at the time of this obituary. She is 103.

Although unsure how she came to be cast in Dracula, Carla recalls having to visit the casting office, to pick out her costume for her character. She chose ”a crazy little hat and glasses”,  she told historian Leonard Maltin 80 years later.

Right up until her passing, Carla still participated in interviews for film festivals and documentaries.  She was amazed that her brief appearance in Dracula, garnered so much fan mail over the subsequent decades from around the world.
She died at the age of 104.  She was the last surviving cast member of Dracula.