Killer Crocs and the Australian Nightmare

Crocodile skeleton, Australian Museum, photo Katerina Sakkas

While we’re still on the topic of the Australian Museum, I caught up on some anatomical drawing in the skeleton room there last week. It’s a fabulous place, even without any creepy dummies – where else would you find a real skeleton astride a rearing horse?

The sensitively titled 'Bone Ranger' exhibit, Australian Museum, photo K.Sakkas

There were also some strange little reminders of the article I’m currently working on: an overview of Australian horror for RealTime Arts.

Meteorite from Wolfe Creek (I like the way the Australian Museum has gone with the horror movie spelling!), photo K. Sakkas

You can’t talk about Australian horror without mentioning Greg McLean.  While his most notable work is the disturbing Wolf Creek (2005), I want to draw attention here to the film he followed it with: Rogue, a comparatively light-hearted affair about an enormous killer saltwater crocodile.

Official film poster for Rogue, displayed in accordance with fair use principles

Rogue (2007) is an enjoyable piece of Australiana obviously made with an American audience in mind.   The film is full of soaring aerial views which showcase the beauty of Kakadu National Park, as well as references to Aboriginal spirituality, Aussie yobbos (if you want to see Sam Worthington mooning before he was a star…) and a cluster of ‘colourful’ tourist characters headed up by the hero, Pete (Michael Vartan), an American travel writer.  The versatile and engaging Radha Mitchell stars as boat tour guide Kate, a refreshingly self-sufficient female character right up until she has to be rescued at the film’s end.  Until the final quarter or so, when things get a bit Indiana Jones, Rogue is a beautifully paced and scenic piece of popcorn horror.

For a contrasting take on the killer crocodile scenario, check out Black Water (David Nerlich/Andrew Traucki, 2007), a more naturalistic film that I’ll be focusing on in the RealTime article.


4 comments on “Killer Crocs and the Australian Nightmare

  1. I have a mortal fear of Crocs…acquired from watching that mini-series ‘Return to Eden’, when I was a kid. Looking back…it wasn’t the Croc that was evil…but rather nasty man who pushed his wife into croc infested waters.

    • Just looked it up on Wikipedia (it’s only ever been a vague title in my mind) – it sounds wild! I’d love to get my hands on a copy!

      • I think they made regular TV programme of it, but it was the original mini-series that I remember. The main actor was the lead singer of Australian Crawl (that song…Restless…or something).

  2. This is so AWESOOOOMMMMEEE!!! I wish I could see it in person!

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