Greg McLean is a busy transplant. The Australian director, who struck gold with the unsettlingly graphic outback thriller Wolf Creek back in 2005, is enjoying some LA sun before shooting his latest chill fest, 6 Miranda Drive with Kevin Bacon. If you’re not patient enough for McLean’s current project to come to light, you might try his recently released sequel to Wolf Creek, the aptly named Wolf Creek 2, currently available on demand and in US theaters in May.
Risky propositions these sequels are, especially when you have to follow up one that has developed such a following by the most blood thirsty of horror cinephiles. Pointedly, can Wolf Creek 2 offer us anything more info on that murderous bushman Mick Taylor (in a role reprised by John Jarratt)? If not, a few more victims could be expected in the Aussie outback for the sake of artful set-ups and killings. McLean chatted with us on the phone for a bit to share his thoughts on his work.
Michael T. Toole: It was 8 1/2 years between Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek 2. Why so long after the initial success of Wolf Creek?
Greg McLean: Really, with this sequel, I wanted to take my time to make a good film, not just to rush out with an inferior sequel. I turned down an initial screenplay because it felt like a quickie that would have ended it. The right script took some time because I wanted it to stand alone as a very memorable follow-up. I wanted both one and two to be equally good and works that could stand on their own.
MT: Wolf Creek had to be edited for American audiences; as a filmmaker, does it affect your approach with the sequel as to what you would cover for an American or global audience?
GM: Not really – the film sequel has some really graphic scenes, there is [spoiler alert!] even a scene where a victim gets his penis cut off. I gave that no regards. As with the first film, I don’t think such scenes are gratuitous, not when it’s truthful to what the character does. Also, by doing it and showing [violence] in a mundane manner, it’s actually appalling.
MT: Any more backstory on the murderous Mick Taylor that you’d like to reveal that would hint at a WC3?
GM: That’s a good question, and a tricky one; it’s an interesting and complicated question because it raises the questions of our intentions to put out a movie, other than to try to take an interesting stab at the genre, excuse the pun, and explore different horror ideas. Two Wolf Creek prequel novels are out and filling in the story about what Mick Taylor was before we see what he is in the film…getting into his head and see where he came from and see his development. I would say the script and the story would have to connect on a deep kind of level with me as a filmmaker. It would take a few years for the script to get going and more than a year to finish it. Still, the challenge to make the third one as good as the first two would be amazing on a technical and emotional level.
MT: Before you’re off to work 6 Miranda Drive with Kevin Bacon, do you care to give us any tidbits on the film? Something we can’t find on imdb?
GM: It’s a supernatural horror film, with Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell, dealing with supernatural forces that are haunting a family – just the kind of thing I enjoy.
Michael T. Toole is a film journalist and filmmaker. He spent ten years writing for the Turner Classic Movies website and is currently working on a book on Harry Rapf. His short films can be seen here.