Growing up, horror movies have tainted and ruined a lot of things for us – camping, staying home alone, staying home with a babysitter, making out with horny camp counselors. TERRITORIAL is our chance to return the favour. What JAWS did for the beach and BLAIR WITCH did for the woods, TERRITORIAL does for that almost-universal environment – grass.
Over the course of one terrifying Easter Sunday, five friends are marooned at a remote gas station, completely reclaimed in grassland. They can’t get help and something in the grass is killing them. It’s silent, fast and it’s been there a long, long time.
We spend a day with these people and whatever it is that’s hunting them. They surprise themselves at what they’ll do to survive. Especially when they realize that there are two monsters working the same territory – one of them human. (Incidentally, TERRITORIAL is set almost completely in daylight. Hopefully, we can ruin sunlight for a few people too).
NO SUCH THING
NO SUCH THING is our first stab at the vampire genre and based on a very neat novel manuscript by GREG BOYLAN. There’s a lot of vampire flicks around at the moment so we didn’t want to go over the same well traveled patch of bloody earth.
You know what we’re talking about… men with great hair and cheekbones in billowing overcoats hanging around rooftops and pointing their long swords and large guns at each other.
In all honesty, the vampire genre is our least favorite horror sub-genre (that and ecological horror, especially anything with murderous or conspiring plants). There’s just so much shit around, all the vampires look emo and wussy, and hardly any of it is scary. We were lucky to be weaned on cool vampire flicks like “Lost Boys” and “Fright Night” and scary vampire TV like “Salem’s Lot”. “Near Dark” and “The Hunger” were also interesting. That lot are our touchstones. We hope NO SUCH THING turns the clock back to when vampire movies were shit scary and good for a few nightmares.
MONSTER BUSINESS is our first but undoubtedly not last contribution to the two-hander thriller sub-genre and the first script we set outside Australia. Minimal characters, limited settings, maximum suspense. Aiming for Hitchcock meets Kafka, we got something a little nastier than both.
We’ve always liked the sub-genre, particularly the work of Everett De Roche and Richard Franklin. A few months before he passed away, Richard was wonderful enough to read MONSTER BUSINESS and tell it was “the best piece of writing (he’d) read in ages.”
Another reader has called the central conceit offensive – that a creative work can be beaten out of a writer. If you know us, some people would call that a fantasy.
A SCORE ABOVE THE BREATH
Crime and horror are genres that share a notoriety in the literary scene. It was only natural that we eventually created our own hybrid. The main surprise was that it came out as a novel. Originally, we wrote A SCORE ABOVE THE BREATH at what we believe is the world’s longest film treatment – some 300 plus pages (we’re not proud of that dumbass feat by the way).
We joked that it might as well be a novel then stopped laughing when we realized that it damned well could be. And so we roped in our abominable collaborator, GREG BOYLAN, to help us in transforming the monster of a treatment into a beast of a novel.
A SCORE ABOVE THE BREATH is a crime story/supernatural thriller that places a small group of characters at the heart of a dire situation. An innocent family taken hostage by a group of far from innocent men and all of them besieged by something far worse than any of them could ever imagine.
At its heart, A SCORE ABOVE THE BREATH asks the question: what could frighten a human monster? And answers it.
We’ve had a gutful of Australian cops all being shown as fine upholders of the law. Aren’t there any scumbags in the force? Any cowboys? Any thugs? We all know the truth but Australian TV and, for the most part, Australian film dodges it (thank bloody goodness for “Blue Murder” and “The Interview”). An Aussie cop on a small screen or big would never threaten to smash the spokes of a kid’s bike, or put a cattle prod on the balls of a suspect, or force two girls to screw them to keep their little bro out of the lock-up, or rob and kill a dirty bunch of one-percenter outlaw bikers and take something they shouldn’t…
Set in the small towns of Western Queensland (and the lonely, pitiless stretches between them) where we grew up, ORA BANDA is everything “Blue Heelers” isn’t. It’s also a crime story with big nods to Carpenter and Hawks, James Foley and Melville of course. Dr. George Miller grew up in the same area. From all that brutality, isolation, ruggedness and desolation came “Mad Max”. For us, it’s ORA BANDA.
A WOLF IN THE STORY
We’re still working on this one but it’s already had an interesting start to life. The idea was suggested by an isolated scene by GREG BOYLAN. Shayne and I liked the proposed setting of that scene and went off and started developing a feature concept around it.
We had about thirty pages of a scene breakdown finished but we put it aside to work on something else. To keep the project ticking over and to try something new we press-ganged a comic book artist to help us turn it into a graphic novel. That didn’t work out. He got RSI or something or joined a rock band. So now we’ve gone back to writing it as a screenplay.
A WOLF IN THE STORY is a hardcore crime film. It also has some supernatural undertones which seem to fit nicely with crime cinema, especially that of Europe and Asia. (We’re gushing fans of JEAN-PIERRE MELVILLE and Asian crime cinema such as the INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy and the ELECTION series).
You see, A WOLF IN THE STORY is a crime story that is also part ghost story. But not in a way that you’d ever suspect. Of course…
TREMULA is the first sci-fi/horror that we’ve attempted. Like everyone else, we’re long time fans of ALIEN and we’ve loved Carpenter’s THE THING since we saw it at my parent’s house when we were fifteen (there’s also a very nice Canadian movie produced by our favorite Australian producer, Antony I. Ginnane, called SCREAMERS).
TREMULA came out of a newspaper article Shayne read about space agencies targeting the Australian outback as a likely site for Mars mission rehearsals. We took that idea and the three of us worked it up into the scary little mindfuck it is now.
The film was shot in 2008 but we started working on the script in the early 90s. We originally ground out 30 pages then put it away for years, picked it up again in the late 90s revised those 30 pages and then forgot about it until 2005. But this time we meant business. We revised those revisions, added another 30 pages and then hit a wall that took 6 months of banging our head against it before we found a way through it and to the end of the script. The producers then found a director and the dough to make it and went off and did exactly that. After 17 years it all happened over night.