VHS Ramblings

VHS Eject: Outback Vampires (1987)

Outback Vampires - The Home Cinema Group - Circa 1987

Outback Vampires – The Home Cinema Group – Circa 1987

Planning your next cult movie night and not sure what to watch? Or have you seen all of the slasher, bad-taste, and splutterpunk V.H.S’s at your local video store? Or perhaps you’re just looking for a film with a bit of Australian flair? Well, look no further.

Colin Eggleston, director of Long Weekend (1978) and Fantasm Comes Again (1977), also made Outback Vampires in 1987. You know it will be a ‘good’ film from the title alone but to make it even more alluring it is also known as The Wicked, or, on some V.H.S. copies, The Prince of the Court of Yarralumla. These three titles pretty much sum up the plot; there are some wicked vampires in the Yarralumla outback and it is up to the films three protagonists to put a stop to the vampires hold over the small country town.

Nick (Richard Morgan) is the sensible one who likes Lucy (Angela Kennedy) who is immediately suspicious of the town and determined to leave and who in turn hates Bronco (Brett Climo) the drunkard fool of the group who can barely fend for himself. Whilst on their way to a rodeo festival the three encounter car problems outside a small town. The extremely odd assortment of locals send them to Sir Alfred’s house and that’s when the crazy really begins. Christmas decorations are still in place, their car driver disappears without a trace and the house is shot entirely in blue tones, giving a certain un-dead quality to everything and almost hiding the bad make-up job on the vampires.

We meet the vampire family; Sir Alfred Terminus the patriarch, the mother Agatha who seems quite the deranged house-wife, George the eccentric son and Samantha the crazed daughter. From here Nick, Lucy and Bronco are split up, encountering numerous and bizarre situations. Lucy sees George’s greenery where the flowers move around and squeal, Bronco is treated to a rock show (by an actual band!) and a striptease from Samantha, and Nick tries to find the others, accidently finding Agatha in the shower.

There are some surprisingly surrealist moments in the film, though I doubt they were done intentionally. The un-dead family can walk up and down the walls, there is a nice yet never explored motif with keys and locks, rooms which no longer have doors, and one is even told to “follow the bouncing ball” (and yes, a ball literally bounces by when said). It is the end scenes however, that are perhaps the most brilliant in the film, though I think it best if you discover them for yourself.

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