Monsters Are Such Interesting People – Wake in Fright

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Wake In FrightWake in Fright (1971) I though this was an old Aussie horror flick when I rented it, it’s actually a drama/thriller, but it was really good. An outback schoolteacher on Christmas break (weather is hot in Australia during Xmas!) gets drunk during a one-day stopover on his way to Sydney, loses all his money gambling, and gets stuck in a two-week drunken nightmare that turns violent in the end. A running theme in the film is that the locals insist that the stranger drink with them, and won’t take know for an answer, to the point where refusal is the ultimate insult and will not be stood for. At one point the teacher describes it as “aggressive hospitality.” One thing that was extremely unpleasant was a kangaroo hunt with real footage (it’s acknowledged during the end credits that it was shown to make the viewer aware of the atrocity) but there was a lot of it and it was rough to stomach. But on the other hand, the rest of it was really good, and Donald Pleasance was top billed as the village doctor who lives in squalor and trades his services for booze, which he drinks morning, noon and night. The teacher stays with doctor and starts to get a bit comfortable in his new sudden role and a broke lush, but that will soon come to a shocking halt. Canadian director Ted Kotcheff did North Dallas Forty, First Blood, and Weekend at Bernie’s to name a few. I guess he has range. Recommended.

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