The Australian Film Industry is not dead but it might be Undead!
The release of ‘Wyrmwood – Road of the dead’ in early 2015 created an unexpected whirlwind of basically monstrous proportions.
Showing in over 76 cinemas all over the country, the movie bought out some of Australia’s well hidden Zombie and Post apocalyptic Connoisseurs.
The three and a half years it too to make was suddenly worthwhile due to the fact that it became an almost instant cult classic.
One of the many fandoms of the film was that of the cosplay community, which even surprised Kiah Roach-turner (Director) himself. Having grown up reading comics and is a bit of a self confessed costume fetishist, Kiah states that the cosplay fans really “Took them by surprise”.
He goes on to explain that at the Toronto Film festival, even before the film was released there were Cosplayers dressed as “Barry” and The Doctor with the Hazmat suit, and in Hobart people actually cosplayed their car!
The response to the costumes in the film by cosplayers was simply a mixture of awe and wanting to know how and where they were made.
The costumes in the film were all mostly bought on Ebay. Barry, the main character wore a biker suit, Biker leathers, Motocross motorbike body armour and an American footballer setup on the shoulders with a hockey mask, all of this combined with a lick of paint and fake blood made for a very intimidating ensemble.
Now for that Armoured ute.
The team went out and bought the cheapest working ute they could find, Kiah already had a basic idea of what he wanted to do with it, then his brother (Tristan Roach-turner) and his mates created it over a period of about 3 to 4 months.
Three boys worked on the Newly labelled “Beast” out the front of their Rozelle residence, where no passers by seemed too concerned as to why this extremely spikey, blood splattered, death machine was there.
After the movie was filmed the car itself lived for over a year on someones property near a pine Forrest in Oberon, NSW until he was bought out for the first screening.
“The Beast” itself was involved in a near death experience when the Stunt woman, mistimed her jump from the Doctors truck to the car and ended up underneath the car. If it hadn’t been for the experienced stunt Driver who saw mid air that this wasn’t going to end well, he probably would not have instinctively stopped the car and saved her life.
Kiah states that they all knew it was going to be probably the most dangerous stunt of the film which is why they organised the best stunt men and women in the country.
” You don’t make a post apocalyptic film without expecting all of this, it ain’t a romantic comedy, put it that way”
Both the Roach- turner brothers started this film in 2010 with a skeleton crew. Kiah, a Director of photography, some actors, a sound guy and some mates, All in Newcastle shooting for the teaser scene, the shoot was then shot chronologically until they got to about year one and decided to screen what they had which was about 30 minutes of footage. The footage was screened to a bunch of students and friends.
After noticing their somewhat jaw dropping reactions they soon discovered that they may have been making a much darker, bleaker, edgier film than they originally envisioned.
It was then re-written with a few changes made to characters and scenes and the rest really evolved as they went. The skeleton team which they once had, however, now had evolved into an almost 80 person crew as after the initial screening there had been a “Knock on effect” and The directors were now receiving emails and phone calls from Producers to people wanting to be a zombie and everything in between.
The original idea for that of Wyrmwood came from always wanting to make a feature film. This, partnered with the fact that the Canon 5D MKII produced almost film like quality pictures inspired the makers to produce the film that they had always wanted to make which originally was going to be a “Monster like full metal jacket thing” involving soldiers in caves, US military bombing raids and demonic creatures called ‘Djinn’ . This idea was soon scrapped when a similar movie was released (probably the 2009 film ‘Red Sands’) and the next best thing was naturally to make a Zombie flick.
The thought process of making the film according to Kiah went something like this: Their biting is useless, Walk around with shotguns to bust heads, Lots of Armour, Australian genre film, Mad max inspired, Amazing vehicle spiked up to kill hoards of zombies then Go looking for mates.
And so ‘Wyrmwood’ was birthed.
When asked about a sequel to ‘Wyrmwood’, Kiah kindly states that he has just spent 4 years with Zombies and simply would like to do something Different, which indeed is in the works. The brothers are currently planning to work on “Paranormal, Lovecraftian, Stephen King-ish, hellraiser type (R) rated ghost buster film”. They are simply going to attempt to do for the paranormal genre what ‘Wyrmwood’ did for the zombie genre.
Kiah wants to continue to make Australian genre films and will do so for the next film in the making.
“The one thing we have going for us as a country is our uniqueness and our individuality and one of the things I think people like about ‘Wyrmwood’ is that it is unapologetically Australian, I’m not ashamed to be an Aussie so if I’m going to make a film here I’m going to make it From here”
Team ‘Wyrmwood’ have also been busy with a Fanforce Screenings and managing to get yet another Screening of the film for this Friday the 27th of March. With sellout tickets yet again for it I think we are safe to say that ‘Wyrmwood’ is here to stay.
For more information about the film please check out the following links:
The Wyrmwood facebook page
Written by Karen D Espinosa