Interview: A dark new world : anatomy of Australian horror films

Ryan, Mark David (2008) A dark new world : anatomy of Australian horror films. [QUT Thesis]

Armstrong & Krause were interviewed by Mark Ryan for his QUT thesis. 

Abstract and PDF download available here


After experimental beginnings in the 1970s, a commercial push in the 1980s, and an underground existence in the 1990s, from 2000 to 2007 contemporary Australian horror production has experienced a period of strong growth and relative commercial success unequalled throughout the past three decades of Australian film history. This study explores the rise of contemporary Australian horror production: emerging production and distribution models; the films produced; and the industrial, market and technological forces driving production. Australian horror production is a vibrant production sector comprising mainstream and underground spheres of production. Mainstream horror production is an independent, internationally oriented production sector on the margins of the Australian film industry producing titles such as Wolf Creek (2005) and Rogue (2007), while underground production is a fan-based, indie filmmaking subculture, producing credit-card films such as I know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer (2006) and The Killbillies (2002). Overlap between these spheres of production, results in ‘high-end indie’ films such as Undead (2003) and Gabriel (2007) emerging from the underground but crossing over into the mainstream. Contemporary horror production has been driven by numerous forces, including a strong worldwide market demand for horror films and the increasing international integration of the Australian film industry; the lowering of production barriers with the rise of digital video; the growth of niche markets and online distribution models; an inflow of international finance; and the rise of international partnerships. In light of this study, a ‘national cinema’ as an approach to cinema studies needs reconsideration – real growth is occurring across national boundaries due to globalisation and at the level of genre production rather than within national boundaries through pure cultural production. Australian cinema studies – tending to marginalise genre films – needs to be more aware of genre production. Global forces and emerging distribution models, among others, are challenging the ‘narrowness’ of cultural policy in Australia – mandating a particular film culture, circumscribing certain notions of value and limiting the variety of films