Howls of Horror at Wolf Creek
This is one of the more gruesome scenes in low-budget Aussie horror-flick Wolf Creek, which chronicles the torture suffered by three young backpackers after they are captured by a serial killer in the Australian outback.
Chicago Sun-Times reviewer Roger Ebert even wrote in his zero-star review that he was so sickened by that particular scene that he 'wanted to walk out of the theatre and keep on walking'.
Reviewers seem to be split down the middle over writer-director Greg McLean's maiden feature film effort. They have either hailed it or panned it for McLean's unflinching depiction of brutality and his mastery of the psychology of fear. On film review website Rotten Tomatoes, Wolf Creek has a 52 per cent rating - that's almost an equal number of positive and negative reviews.
McLean is cool about the criticism. In a phone interview with The New Paper from Melbourne, the 34-year-old director said it was 'pretty appropriate' that some hated his debut film.
'You put something up that has a very strong point of view or impact, you're going to affect different people in different ways, so I'm not particularly bothered by the fact some people really hate it,' he said.
REAL LIFE KILLERS
McLean said the movie is based on two real killers - Ivan Milat, who murdered seven backpackers in the 1990s, and Bradley Murdoch, who killed British backpacker Peter Falconio in 2001.
He grew up reading horror comics and scary movies and is interested in such 'exploitative' cinema, which includes 'splatter' movies and pornography, as he believes they are actually not that different from mainstream films.
'Look at mainstream commercial movies, like a lot of those big Michael Bay movies. They're basically exploitation but shot on a very large budget. Girls running around in bikinis and heads flying off but because Will Smith's doing it, you think it's kind of cool,' he said.
'That's why I think it's funny when people get on their high horses and get offended, calling it exploitation.'
LAUGHING ALL THE WAY....
But McLean is having the last laugh. Wolf Creek, which was made at the cost of USD 2.4m, has been a huge financial success, It grossed AD 5.9m in Australia and USD 16m in the US.
The motivation for the movie, which was nominated for a Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, is simple. McLean said: 'Like most good horror films, I set up to make, in a weird way, a beautiful film.'
McLean's latest picture is in prodcution now. Check it out here....