Ten Types of Australian Film

Garry Gillard

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Chapter 9: Gothic

David Thomas, with Garry Gillard

There is a peculiar presence in the catalogue of Australian feature films, sitting in the shadow of the highly visible and culturally laudable success stories. Tending towards the eccentric, and occasionally perverse, this presence has received attention from only a handful of film theorists and cinephiles. It is the small, yet consistent flow of malevolence and disorder that is never far from the surface in certain Australian productions. It appears in some instances as an entire feature film, and in others as a single scene, demonstrating tendencies that resonate indiscriminately throughout the entire body of Australian cinema. Not even the commercially oriented, high profile and high budget production can be guaranteed to emerge untouched. It is this “presence”, this off-centre, almost intangible element of sinister peculiarity in Australian productions that has been described by writers as “Australian Gothic”.1

It is reasonable to expect that such a seemingly appropriate title would have an equally appropriate body of theoretical work behind it. After all, a word with a strong cultural presence in history, architecture, literature and film would seem to demand attention in this context. When placing what has been written about the subject under closer scrutiny, however, “Australian Gothic” appears to be an almost arbitrary title. The theoretical engagements that exist, while providing some details of the relationships between particular films and aspects of prominent Gothic novels of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, seem somewhat inadequate. This chapter will revisit some of the texts that are generally regarded as Australian Gothic, adding an interpretation of their significance, in order to offer a new perspective.

Even a cursory consideration of the term “Gothic” illuminates an array of clichés. We might reasonably imagine tales of the ruined castle or haunted house, or be reminded of stories about “undead” monsters and repressed sexuality. Demonstrably, “Gothic” is a word with a broad range of cultural literacies. Accordingly, one might expect that Australian Gothic cinema is a cultural entity that would clearly intersect by these literacies. This is, however, not entirely the case. A somewhat peculiar collection of Australian films has been retrospectively gathered under the umbrella of “Australian Gothic”, while bearing little apparent similarity to those texts more commonly held as indicative of the Gothic aesthetic. Australian Gothic cinema, it would seem, is not an obvious phenomenon. Although a well-established style in literature and popular culture, the Gothic presence in Australian cinema is not “typical”, containing very few (if any) examples of such clichés.

Heidi Kaye offers a useful perspective on the history of Gothic film, which goes some way towards establishing the problems associated with accounting for such a diverse style of film-making succinctly. Kaye prefaces her investigation by remarking that Gothic film is inherently difficult to explain, as “Gothic elements have crept into filmic genres from science fiction to film noir and from thriller to comedy”.2 This still presents a problem for genre theory, as the inherent difficulty of delineating any particular genre is revealed by any attempt to do so. Nevertheless, based on the production styles and significance of the early “monster” films, it seems that the first instances of the Gothic film were generally in keeping with tradition of the Gothic novel. Making particular reference to Gothic films produced in post first-world-war Europe and America, Kaye suggests that the Gothic monster is analogous to the popular fears of the socio-political context out of which it arises.3 This observation hints at the recurrent notion that the Gothic negotiates its own meaning through its relationship with the wider socio-cultural landscape. In the seventeenth century the Gothic represented a primitive past in its incarnations; in the early twentieth century, the Gothic tale expresses cultural fear of a national enemy.

In a more contemporary context, the Gothic film is certainly difficult to recognise as a singular species. Kaye’s initial claim is amplified, as the structural constituents of much modern cinema production transcend genre boundaries. The almost unlimited number of texts that lend themselves to a Gothic reading makes for difficult theoretical territory.

In order to make sense of the diffuse nature of Gothic texts, let us turn to some ideas proposed by Wittgenstein. In opposition to the notion of essential characteristics, Wittgenstein’s ideas pertaining to family resemblances help to unravel his “thread” of similarity. Invoking what could be called relational understanding in his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein examines some different “genres” in an attempt to illustrate the difficulty of formulating clear sets of characteristics that might form a kind of recipe for understanding categories. He uses the metaphor of family resemblance, in which the link between texts, or objects in a group, might be seen as a kind of thread. He suggests that the fibres of the thread can be viewed as “overlapping and criss-crossing: sometimes overall similarities, sometimes similarities of detail”.4 This is a particularly useful way of understanding resemblance, particularly with respect to genre. Individual fibres in the thread, individual texts associated with the Gothic, need not necessarily bear characteristics common to other fibres, indeed “the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres”.5 This position provides a useful temporal as well as cultural analogy. Horace Walpole’s novel The Castle of Otranto may, in demonstration, bear very little physical, narrative or thematic resemblance to Alex Proyas’s Dark City (1998), for example, but through the understanding of genre as a system of overlapping and intersecting textual elements that constitute a thread, or chain, both texts can plausibly be seen as being distant cousins. Wittgenstein’s analogy also benefits by not imposing a definitive shape on particular genres, that is, it can acknowledge the existence of genre through a series of textual relationships while simultaneously allowing the genre to take different “shapes” at different times.

The lack of a succinct, all-encompassing categorical explanation of the Gothic does not limit its theoretical potential or critical importance. As a continuing “thread”, containing overlapping and intersecting texts, Gothic appears and reappears, changing with each incarnation yet maintaining relationships with the overall “family”. “Gothic” is not able to be confined to being a singular category of things. It is, among other things, a label of cultural differentiation, a style of literary production, a kind of rock music and a vocabulary for critical approaches to certain aspects of contemporary popular culture. However, as Wittgenstein has suggested, this does not mean that these things are necessarily unrelated.

It seems that the first application of the term “Australian Gothic” in reference to cinema was in The Screening of Australia Vol. 2, Dermody and Jacka’s comprehensive taxonomy of Australian feature film production.6 With an approach heavily based in industrial production “cycles”, the authors propose a set of creative conventions or practices and a list of candidate films for each category of film-making that they formulate. In spite of the inherent problems in committing to a set of characteristics in an attempt to identify a genre, Dermody and Jacka seem to have been routinely cited in subsequent works regarding Australian Gothic cinema, including two of the texts used in what follows, Jonathan Rayner’s Contemporary Australian Cinema and Marek Haltof’s Peter Weir: When Cultures Collide.7 As such, it would appear that they are the benchmark against which the use of the term is measured.

For Dermody and Jacka, Gothic is not only categorised by the constituent elements of a particular group of films, it is also located historically. Their retrospective analysis suggests that the Australian Gothic film has a fairly clear place in the body of Australian cinema.8 They claim that Australian Gothic is a trend of film-making that existed primarily in the 1970s, and they see the work of Jim Sharman and Peter Weir as the inception of the Australian Gothic phase. The authors argue that the “cycle” lost strength in the early 1980s, concurrent with the advent of the so-called “genre” film (a film consciously and intentionally made to a Hollywood formula and regarded as inferior by some critics) in the wake of the 10BA legislation, a scheme that offered significant tax incentives and concessions for private investors in film and television. Australian Gothic films were a recognisable group that owed parts of their stylistic, narrative and thematic construction to the tradition of the Gothic, apparently conforming to some more obvious generic expectations. A perverse and grotesque portrayal of rural Australia is a shared trait, along with characters exhibiting “disfigured, fragmented, disembodied voices, physical residues, ambiguously placed between logical and psychological reality”.9 Further, the Gothic films have a tendency towards the recurrence of a “disturbing, nightmarish atmosphere”,10 where the “normal is revealed as having a stubborn bias towards the perverse, the grotesque, the malevolent”.11

The scope of Dermody and Jacka’s project is impressive; accounting for such a vast array of films would undoubtedly have required a remarkable amount of creative and theoretical consideration. The problem is that in accounting for an object like Australian cinema in something close to its totality, the tendency to overlook detail is an unavoidable side-effect. In conveniently pigeonholing such a diverse spectrum of production, Dermody and Jacka can’t help but hybridise texts so that they fit categories, or in simpler terms, they blunt the sharp points.

Clearly, in trying to describe a genre of film production, one must find a resemblance between texts, yet in doing so run the risk of locating that resemblance in a negation, by suggesting that the Australian Gothic “thread” amounts to little more than the shared quality of difference from other texts, manifested in the inability to place these films into other categories. This is the mistake made, albeit in an apparently light-hearted fashion, by Susan Dermody in “The company of eccentrics”. She examines some of these “eccentrics”, and claims that this is “the category of films that don’t fit anywhere else”.12 While perhaps not literally incorrect, this is hardly revealing. While Dermody does talk about a selection of films, and stresses their importance to Australian cinema for different reasons, by prefacing her argument with this kind of contextualising remark, she indirectly sets up the theoretical possibility of Australian Gothic as a critical category.

Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971) is among the very first examples of Australian Gothic cinema, although Jonathan Rayner describes it as a “parent” of the Gothic, rather than an explicit example of it. Rayner suggests that the Gothic can be observed in Australian cinema through the “unfathomable menace” of the location,13 an idea that appears in several of the films dealt with here. Certainly the environment in Walkabout is presented as a menace, but, in a very different way, the setting of a short film made at around the same time as Walkabout is equally hazardous. Weir’s Homesdale (1971) is a stylistic precursor to the Australian Gothic film. It is the story of a remote country “retreat” where an odd assortment of people take part in a bizarre and grim series of “games” organised by the Homesdale staff. The guests are forced to engage with questions of death and mortality in their daily rituals. The “weakest” among them, Mr Malfry (Geoff Malone), succumbs to the psychological pressure and murders another guest. In the closing scene we see that Mr Malfry has in fact become one of the staff of Homesdale.

The narrative develops two major themes evident in the Australian Gothic, the first based on a component of traditional Gothic literature, and the second specifically implied in some Australian films. Firstly, the nature of the activities at the Homesdale Lodge is reminiscent of themes that can be regarded as the staple of traditional Gothic literature. During the development of the Gothic novel, “psychological rather than supernatural forces became the prime movers in worlds where individuals could be sure neither of others nor of themselves”.14 The Homesdale clinic is, without a doubt, an instance of a world which has this kind of psychological “force” on the characters. The guests are deliberately turned against each other by the staff, climaxing in the murder of Mr Kevin (Grahame Bond), the self-proclaimed rock star and butcher. Indeed, it appears as though the guests remain confused by matters of identity in themselves and each other throughout the film.

The second, and admittedly very broad thematic element of the film might best be explained as a general feeling of unease about a subversive and malevolent side to daily activity—an “uncanny” feeling—to explain which, Freud’s notion of that which is unheimlich (ie. uncanny) is useful. He discusses it as that which “ought to have remained secret and hidden but has come to light”.15 It is precisely this idea of the perversion of the mundane, the dark undercurrent running through “ordinary” existence that generally remains undisturbed and hidden from view, that empowers Weir’s film. The holiday retreat is by no means strange in itself, but the director uses this familiar cultural environment to enhance the dark and pathological nature of both the setting and the characters. The ordinariness of a “holiday camp” location has been, in this case, entirely exploited as Homesdale becomes the location of a “dark parody of psychotherapy”.16

Named as one of the key directors in the Gothic trend of Australian cinema in the 1970s,17 Weir directed and co-wrote The Cars That Ate Paris (1974), a film that displays very clearly the move in this period towards a nightmarish and even grotesque vision of rural Australia. As Dermody & Jacka and Raynor all agree, this film is a seminal production in the field of Australian Gothic cinema. Although criticised for being inconsistently directed and lacking in stylistic coherence,18 The Cars That Ate Paris is a complex work embracing a range of narrative, stylistic and thematic elements which can be located within the Gothic realm. It is an example of what might be called the “surreal” Gothic, rather than the more introverted, psychological Gothic of films like The Plumber (Peter Weir, 1979) and Summerfield (Ken Hannam, 1977).

The visual and aural presentation of Cars is integral to its consideration as a Gothic text. Cars that appear as if they are driverless monsters, a “Western” style standoff in the main street, and the appearance of the town’s population of lobotomised crash victims at the dance are visible fractures in “normality”. Haltof calls this an “eclectic visual style” and claims this is a key feature that is held in common by Australian Gothic films.19 Part of this visual style centres on the town’s population of bizarre vehicles, in many ways imbued with just as much “character” as the people. These vehicles, constructed by the town’s rebellious youths, using components salvaged from the continual flow of crashes, might be seen as reminiscent of the traditional Gothic monster, ultimately appearing to be driverless, as the dark undercurrent of the town’s activities finally overpowers civil order. On several occasions in the climactic sequence, townspeople actually attack the cars as if they were wild animals, attempting to stab and bash at the rampaging machines. The clichéd Gothic monster is also implicated in the appearance of the lobotomised crash victims at the fancy dress ball. These people are living experiments, mercilessly left in the hands of the doctor after surviving car crashes intended to kill them.

Thematically speaking, The Cars That Ate Paris develops several ideas as it continues. From the very first scene after the credit sequence, we see a social comment. The brothers’ brief journey together at the start of the film is set against the backdrop of a failed employment opportunity, a group of men stealing a small calf, and numerous “drifting” hitchhikers. These scenes indicate financial depression, which is reinforced by the economy based on the belongings of the dead travellers, and the Prime Minister’s radio address, which is ironically plagiarised by the Mayor of Paris (John Meillon) at the fancy dress ball. Rayner has argued that one of the thematic links between Gothic films is the sense of disillusionment with social reality,20 and this is obviously a presence in The Cars That Ate Paris. Arthur’s (Terry Camilleri) recovery from his fear of driving is another aspect of the film we might justifiably call Gothic. His journey is not one of hopeful or promising self-discovery and medication, but rather a series of quite brutal and frightening experiences which lead eventually to his murderous act in the final scene. Liberation through this kind of process, destruction rather than repair, is a key to the dark psychological and to some extent comedic nature of the Gothic in Australian cinema. Geoff Mayer suggests that Gothic displays “little or no faith in the ability of people to transcend or transform their everyday world”, leading to the kind of narrative climax evident in The Cars That Ate Paris, where the protagonist is caught in a “conflict” and “contradiction”.21 A parallel can be drawn here with the climax in Summerfield, where a murder-suicide situation resolves the narrative.

The Night The Prowler (Jim Sharman, 1979; based on the play by Patrick White) is a useful case study for its own interpretation of what Australian Gothic might be. This dark psychological feature appeared towards the end of the period considered by Dermody and Jacka to be the main phase of Gothic production. It is a film that manipulates time for part of its unsettling effect (in the form of flashbacks and a retelling of particular episodes in reverse order), and utilises several interpretations of Gothic conventions throughout the narrative. Unlike many of the other films mentioned, The Night The Prowler deploys motifs that are directly reminiscent of the traditional notion of the Gothic. It is the large houses with ghostly figures in the windows, huge rusty gates, and eerie clouds of mist swirling around unidentifiable sources of light that form a striking visual pastiche of “typical” Gothic signifiers. The unusual climax of The Night The Prowler is indicative of the combination of horror and black comedy observable in many Gothic texts. Felicity (Kerry Walker) enters a derelict house to find a similarly derelict old man (Harry Neilson). It is unclear at this stage exactly which scenes are dreams and which are real (arguably a Gothic trope in itself), but as the man dies Felicity appears to reach a state of inner calm, and the film closes.

A new and different step towards a more involved understanding of Australian Gothic cinema resides in acknowledging its Australianness, as a component in the discursive practices of Australian cinema and more generally, Australian popular culture. As mentioned previously, part of the problem of Australian Gothic has been the one-way flow of demarcation. Elements of the Gothic have been located in Australian films, but Australian films have not been located in the wider category of the Gothic. Tom O’Regan proposes the idea that Australian cinema contains an inherent emphasis on “ugliness and ordinariness”.22 This proposition finds particular strength in the realm of Australian Gothic cinema, as it is an articulation of excessive ugliness and ordinariness. Whether it is in the urban landscape of metropolitan Adelaide (The Plumber) or the disfigured peculiarity of the isolated country town (The Cars That Ate Paris), Australian Gothic cinema chooses uncosmetic settings and characters as the foundation on which to construct its narratives of suspenseful discomfort and disorder, building the remarkable on the unremarkable.

There are of course texts that seem anything but ordinary. The narrative of Incident at Raven’s Gate (Rolf de Heer, 1988) is driven by a presumed extra-terrestrial visitation on a small rural community. In spite of the decidedly extraordinary plot, the film remains grounded in “everyday” Australia, through a group of typically presented country town stereotypes, but it is presumably not exactly what O’Regan had in mind by “ugliness and ordinariness”. The important point to make here is that Australian Gothic cinema is not solely concerned with the supernatural or the horrific in the most obvious sense—the terror of the familiar, or the ordinary, provides equal impetus for narrative and stylistic development.

The idea of an unsettling aspect to the everyday is central to the disturbing nature of many of the films dealt with here, in the expression of a distorted reflection, as in a hall of mirrors: each person staring back is undoubtedly familiar, but is in some way simultaneously emphasised, concealed and misshapen. The Plumber, for example, recognises this self-identifying relationship quite powerfully, as the bathroom, the most ordinary of places, becomes an environment where the tension between middle-class Jill (Judy Morris) and the working-class plumber (Ivar Kants) is indicative of the tension between heimlich and unheimlich. A personal environment becomes unfamiliar, unpredictable and even dangerous, as a direct consequence of its very familiarity. This idea is expressed in detail by Ken Gelder and Jane Jacobs:

An “uncanny” experience may occur when one’s home is rendered, somehow and in some sense, unfamiliar; one has the experience, in other words, of being in place and “out of place” simultaneously. This simultaneity is important to stress since, in Freud’s terms, it is not simply the unfamiliar in itself which generates the anxiety of the uncanny; it is specifically the combination of the familiar and the unfamiliar—the way the one seems always to inhabit the other.23

In agreement, Rayner suggests that a portion of the significance of Australian Gothic comes from “the profound otherness of everyday activity, and the erratic nature of human judgement and perception”.24 Clearly, in tandem with the ambiguous settings and situations in Australian Gothic cinema, there is an element of psychological ambiguity.

The psychological disturbance to which Rayner refers can be related to Tzvetan Todorov’s idea of “the fantastic”. Noel Carroll explains that the fantastic “renders the supernatural origin of events in the text ambiguous by means of psychologically disturbed characters”.25 However, Australian Gothic cinema does not explicitly inhabit the realm of the supernatural. In Todorov’s terms, the fantastic is evoked by the hesitation felt when caught between natural and supernatural explanations for a particular occurrence. In Todorov’s words,

... the person who experiences the event must opt for one of two possible solutions: either he is the victim of an illusion of the senses ... or else the event has indeed taken place ... The fantastic occupies the duration of this uncertainty.26

The psychological pressure on the protagonists, and others, in many instances of Australian Gothic cinema, can be seen as developing largely from the kind of hesitation between explanations developed by Todorov. The emphasis in Australian Gothic cinema is on the psychological state of the protagonist, rather than on the terms of explanation attached to such. Steve Neale contextualises the use of the fantastic as a critical approach to cinema by suggesting that, “although many works involve the hesitation to which Todorov refers, very few sustain it throughout”.27 Consistent with this idea, it would seem that the important aspect of the fantastic being regularly appropriated into the narrative of Australian Gothic cinema is the effect that the inexplicable nature of events has on the psychological stability of the characters, as opposed to any recourse to supernatural explanations. Using the uncanny and the fantastic in these ways, as points of entry into aspects of Australian Gothic cinema, is uncontroversial: these ideas are a staple approach to the Gothic genre more generally. The application here, however, is intended to illustrate the way that, as a starting point, a broader notion of the Gothic yields broader results, through established theoretical means.

In the context of what has been established earlier, David Punter’s description of “New American Gothic” is a useful basis on which to build a modified critical appraisal of Australian Gothic cinema. Punter’s New American Gothic is a type of narrative in which “settings ... are distorted by the pressure of the principal characters’ psychological obsessions”, environments are “infested with psychic and social decay” and there is a “desensitized acquiescence in the horror of obsession and prevalent insanity”.28 These are textual qualities that have developed as part of the Gothic genre, and find particular importance in the realm of Australian Gothic cinema. Rather than the supernatural, ghostly and arcane Gothic of early horror films and the Gothic novel, Australian Gothic cinema displays a tendency towards excess through introversion. The disturbed, unstable characters, dark parody and the grotesque nature of the “everyday” environment provide the sustenance for its narratives. The insidious and hidden aspects of the ordinary are part of a uniquely Australian incarnation of the Gothic, which requires a repositioning of the theoretical strategies used to “unlock” its potential. This repositioning can be performed through the use of the notion of a “new Australian Gothic cinema”, a phrase derived from the similarity Australian Gothic cinema displays to its American counterpart as described by Punter.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, this new Australian Gothic is not limited in period. In fact, its development through time is arguably the crucial factor in the theoretical and creative potential of the category. New Australian Gothic is distinctly Gothic, yet also distinctly contemporary in its articulation. Films like The Well (Samantha Lang, 1997), Broken Highway (Laurie McInnes, 1994) and Bad Boy Bubby (Rolf de Heer, 1994) are indicative of this, and are texts in which Australian Gothic cinema finds a particularly potent manifestation, in which these kinds of films are no longer simply the “eccentrics”—or the films that will not fit anywhere else. A brief engagement with some aspects of these films will highlight the different ways in which new Australian Gothic cinema functions.

The settings of The Well are rarely completely illuminated, and the paradoxical contrast between the expanse of the country and the trap of the relationship between the lead characters, Katherine (Miranda Otto) and Hester (Pamela Rabe), is significantly heightened by this visual device. The disintegration of the women’s relationship, pivoting around the morbid secret contained in the well, is the primary concern of the narrative, and as Katherine and Hester become emotionally estranged from each other, the psychological force of the environment plays its part. The menace of the open space of Australia’s outback is reminiscent of Rayner’s comments regarding Walkabout, and the pressure exerted on each character by the presence of the man they have killed emphasises this sense of malevolence attached to the environment.

Broken Highway is a film with a distinctive look—not surpringly, given that its director began her creative work a graphic designer. The continual oppressive darkness (in both the literal and metaphorical senses) engenders an “uneasiness” that is matched by the presentation of unsettling characters. Circulating around a series of relationships between characters that, it would seem, are all hiding something sinister, Broken Highway participates in suggestions of sexual tension and repression and, as in many of the other films mentioned, the psychological pressures of remote environments, in this case outback Queensland and a merchant ship. The writer-director evokes another such environment in her second feature, Dogwatch (1999). Like Master and Commander (Peter Weir, 2003), this is a film almost entirely set on a ship at sea, but it is completely unlike it in almost every other way, including its financial success: McInnes’s film did not even achieve a theatrical release. Like her earlier feature, Dogwatch also investigates sexual repression and tension—as well as inquiring into the nature of power—in a film which once again mobilises a Gothic aesthetic.

New Australian Gothic cinema is present in a number of ways in Bad Boy Bubby, which could for much of its length be described as a kind of social commentary or parody, displaying a reasonably conventional approach to film-making, and lacking the kind of visual darkness evident in The Well or Broken Highway.Nevertheless, Bad Boy Bubby demonstrates the characteristics of new Australian Gothic in equally intriguing ways. De Heer’s film shows its grotesque excess particularly in the opening sequences, in which Bubby’s escape from his lack of socialisation—from imprisonment in fact—is played out. The incestuous relationship with his mother, the “clingwrap” killing and the post-apocalyptic implications of Bubby’s mother’s behaviour combine to form a genuinely unsettling sequence. The implications of this period of the film are apparent in Bubby’s behaviour following his escape, and are thematically close to the surface for the entirety of the film. Bad Boy Bubby is an important film in this context, articulating the Gothic visually, and using this to form a specifically Australian version, as Bubby’s experiences develop, contextualised by his ordeal. Bubby’s journey reveals a sinister undercurrent in the society into which he is thrown: the elusive dark undercurrent of the everyday.

Films like this contain traces of their Gothic heritage in many of their aspects, while also developing new ways of expressing the uncanny horror of the everyday. New Australian Gothic represents not only a genre, but also a mood, a style and a vocabulary, which develop and mutate with each incarnation into something more striking and elusive, something never definable in a manner that could allow any taxonomy to sufficiently account for its variation and diversity. It is simultaneously a symptom and a medication, mobilising the suburban and rural undercurrent of malice and frustration, while providing catharsis through the expression of the potentially excessive horror of the ordinary and everyday.

An entire film can be an instance of the style, and so can a single shot. New Australian Gothic cinema does not find its stylistic and narrative tendencies in the conventions of the explicitly supernatural or romantic past, but rather in the simplicity of daily routine. New Australian Gothic cinema is the realm of self-doubt and the irrational, and is frightening as a result of (rather than in spite of) its proximity to the ordinary. It is the name of the “presence” in Australian cinema that seemed firmly based in a malevolent undercurrent of the everyday.


1 Susan Dermody & Elizabeth Jacka 1988, The Screening of Australia Volume 2: Anatomy of a National Cinema, Currency Press, Sydney; Jonathan Rayner 2000, Contemporary Australian Cinema: An Introduction, Manchester University Press, Manchester.

2 Heidi Kaye 2000, “Gothic film”, in A Companion to the Gothic, ed. David Punter, Blackwell, Oxford: 180.

3 Kaye 2000: 182.

4 Ludwig Wittgenstein 1953, Philosophical Investigations, Macmillan, New York: 32.

5 Wittgenstein 1953: 32.

6 Dermody & Jacka 1988.

7 Rayner 2000; Marek Haltof 1996, Peter Weir: When Cultures Collide, Twayne Publishers, New York.

8 Dermody & Jacka 1988: 51.

9 Vijay Mishra 1994, The Gothic Sublime, State University of New York Press, New York: 54.

10 Haltof 1996: 12.

11 Dermody & Jacka 1988: 51.

12 Susan Dermody 1988, “The company of eccentrics”, in The Imaginary Industry, eds Susan Dermody and Elizabeth Jacka, AFTRS, North Ryde: 132.

13 Rayner 2000: 26.

14 Fred Botting 1996, Gothic, Routledge, London: 12.

15 Sigmund Freud 1985, “The uncanny”, in Art and Literature, The Penguin FreudLibrary, vol. 14., Penguin, Harmondsworth: 345.

16 Haltof 1996: 13.

17 Rayner 2000: 29.

18 Haltof 1996: 15.

19 Haltof 1996: 12.

20 Rayner 2000: 25.

21 Geoff Mayer 1997, “Australian Gothic: To Have and To Hold”, Metro, 109: 95.

22 Tom O’Regan 1996, Australian National Cinema, Routledge, London: 243-250.

23 Ken Gelder & Jane M. Jacobs 1998, Uncanny Australia: Sacredness and Identity in a Postcolonial Nation, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne: 22.

24 Rayner 2000: 34.

25 Noel Carroll 1990, The Philosophy of Horror, or, Paradoxes of the Heart, Routledge, New York & London: 4.

26 Tzvetan Todorov 1975, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to Literary Genre, Cornell University Press, Ithaca: 25.

27 Steve Neale 2000, Genre and Hollywood, Routledge, New York: 35.

28 David Punter 1996, The Literature of Terror: A History of Gothic Fictions from 1765 to the Present Day, Vol. 1, Longman, New York: 2.

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