Terror Down Under: A History of Horror Film in Australia, 1897-1973 (PB)

Type: Books


In 1948, the Australian government banned the production, importation and exhibition of horror films in a move to appease religious communities and entertainment watchdogs. Drawing upon previously unseen government documents, private letters and contemporary newspaper accounts, this book is the first to extensively cover the history of censorship and the early production of horror movies in Australia. Beginning its examination in the late 19th century, the book documents the earliest horror films like Georges Melies' The Haunted Castle (1896), and how Australians enjoyed such films before the ban. The book then explains how certain imports, like 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon, were able to circumvent the ban while others were not. It also reveals how Australian television, though similarly impacted by government censorship, was occasionally able to broadcast films technically banned from cinematic release. The work concludes with a look at the first Australian horror films produced after the ban was formally lifted in 1969, like Terry Bourke's Night of Fear (1973).