Wake in Fright

Rated R 99 minutes 1971

Nope, they don’t make movies like this anymore. Wake in Fright was released in 1971, and it became famous (or infamous) as Australia’s lost great film. It was not available on home video until a couple of years ago, and it’s quite a rediscovery. There’s not one scene in particular that does the trick, but the cumulative effect of a teacher’s lost weekend in the Outback delivers the kind of pulse-quickening result that today’s bloodier horror movies can never attain. With six weeks off, John Grant (Gary Bond) heads to Sydney, but an overnight stay in the outpost village called the Yabba leads him down a road of moral degradation, from copious drinking to gambling to promiscuous sex to a savage and hard-to-watch kangaroo hunt. It’ll never make you scream or jump, but Wake in Fright will definitely test your mettle.

Film Credits

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Producer: George Willoughby

Cast: Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson, Peter Whittle, Al Thomas, John Meillon, John Armstrong, Slim de Grey, Maggie Dence, Norman Erskine, Owen Moase, John Dalleen, Buster Fiddess, Tex Foote, Colin Hughes, Jacko Jackson, Nancy Knudsen, Dawn Lake, Harry Lawrence, Bob McDarra, Carlo Marchini and Liam Reynolds

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