Saturday, November 01, 2008

Welcome To Tasmania : The Locals Are Dying To Eat You

There's a movie kicking around that is using the natural beauty of Australia to promote itself, and thereby promoting Australian as a tourist destination, and tourism officials are right behind it.

This movie, however, is not about some English bint with a ridiculous accent and that weird side story about stressed out Manhattan media execs swimming in NT rock pools, this movie is about cannibals, and it's set in Tasmania. This is Dying Breed :

Can you use a true story about a convict era cannibalism spree to promote Tasmania as a tourist destination? Sure. Why not :
Tasmanians hope a new Australian horror film about cannibals will attract more tourists and movie makers to the Apple Isle.

The film, Dying Breed, portrays a remote Tasmanian community as flesh-eating savages.

But Tasmania Tourism Council chief executive Daniel Hanna said the movie, mostly filmed near the Pieman River, western Tasmania, should help lift the state's profile.

"Any film that shows some of the key parts .. like the rugged wilderness, is going to be a good thing and will hopefully spark some interest," Mr Hanna said today.

"Obviously as long as visitors don't expect there really to be cannibals in Tasmania."

Be careful Mr Hanna, the people in the forest don't like outsiders making jokes about them, even if you are a distant relative.

Tasmania's (locally) legendary Alexander 'Pieman' Pearce is an Australian convict era story of remarkable, brutal survival that you don't hear much about. There's a reason for that :
The Pieman River gained its name from the notorious convict Alexander 'The Pieman' Pearce who was responsible for one of the few recorded instances of cannibalism in Australia. In a bizarre footnote to the history of the region Pearce and seven other convicts attempted to cross the island to Hobart where they hoped they could catch a merchant ship and escape to some ill-defined freedom.

They lost their way and in the ensuing weeks all of the escapees disappeared except for Pearce. When he was recaptured unproven accusations of cannibalism were made against him. The following year Pearce escaped again accompanied by another convict, Thomas Cox. Once again Pearce found himself without food and, to solve the problem, he killed and ate Cox. When he was finally recaptured Pearce admitted to eating Cox and confessed to cannibalism during his first escape. He was subsequently executed in Hobart.

He didn't turn them into pies, but he was a pie maker by trade, so quite familiar with the chopping up and making use of all that offal.


The young directors of the new era of Australian Horror movies have a great attitude to the true value of the movies they make, which is probably why they've been so successful. Dying Breed director, Jody Dwyer :

"There is a move to be more commercially aware by a new wave of filmmakers that is actually getting tired with the cliches of drug ridden suburbia or flat red heat haze outback movies, we've seen a lot of them," Dwyer said.

"You are going to still make those the Rowan Woods films, – the Little Fish films because they're beautiful films but they won't do well internationally they will be respected but not do well economically.

"A lot of films are being funded that nobody wants to see and it's a shame because people want to support the industry but if something doesn't excite me I won't spend my 15 bucks."


I'm still waiting for the reverse Wolf Creek type movie, where two good-hearted, but innocent rural Australian teenagers come into the Big City for a concert, ignoring the warnings from friends about "how crazy" those city people are, and then and wind up being seduced by expensively dressed Sydney residents who hold them hostage in an Eastern Suburbs mansion, dope them with drugs and booze and then attack and torture them, promising the whole time that they "can really help them break into international modelling." The kids escape, of course, but when they run to the next house, they only find more country kids like them being drugged and assaulted. And the next house, and the next house.