Thursday, January 26, 2012

#528. Australia After Dark (1975) - Spotlight on Australia

Directed By: John D. Lamond

Starring: Gina Allen, Count Copernicus, Hayes Gordon

Tag line: "At Last! The Australia you've always wanted to see but until now ... have never DARED!"

Trivia:  This film was heavily censored upon its release in the UK, running 12 minutes shorter than the R-rated Australian version

Featured in 2008's Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!, Australia After Dark is a mondo-style documentary that (like all good mondo-style documentaries) occasionally devolves into an exposé of sex, masochism and oddities galore. It's an eccentric motion picture, to be sure, but boy, do I love it!

Narrated by Hayes Gordon, Australia After Dark takes us on a whirlwind tour of Australia, journeying from one end of the continent to the other and exploring the customs, beliefs, and, unusual “practices” of its diverse population. Australia After Dark has it all, from exotic restaurants and outdoor festivals to strip clubs and fetish palaces, revealing a side of Australia you've never seen in a travel brochure.

How strange is Australia After Dark? Well, here's a summation of the first dozen or so minutes of the film:

We open with a picturesque shot of the Outback, over which Mr. Gordon, the narrator, warns us that what we're about to see “won't be all beautiful, but it will be true”. After about 30 seconds spent discussing the plight of the Aborigines, we're whisked to King's Cross in Sydney, a “sleazy, grubby, neon-lit” section of town filled to the breaking point with prostitutes, pimps and strippers. There's a brief scene with a naked woman lying on a bed, then it's right back to the streets and into an S&M “salon” where two leather-bound men wrestle around a bit before one is led upstairs and tied to a rack (“look at that rack”, Hayes Gordon says, “you don't see craftsmanship like that these days”).

Cut to a riverboat restaurant, where the chef is preparing such tasty morsels as shrimp, snake, and fried grubs. Then, it's off to an art studio, where, for a small fee, patrons get to “decorate” the body of a naked woman. But we're not done yet. We still have ancient cave drawings to examine, and three nude ladies rolling around on the floor... before we've hit that 12-minute mark!

Seriously, I don't think “bizarre” is a strong enough word to describe Australia After Dark!

There are smatterings of a legitimate documentary to be found here. We visit a museum in Melbourne that was once a gallows, and now features a variety of death masks molded from those executed there. There is also straight-up exploitation, by way of nude beaches on the Barrier Reef, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a porn film, and the ravings of a sexual prophet (and sometimes drag queen) named Count Copernicus.. Both blend together into what I found to be an extremely provoking, sometimes shocking, always fascinating motion picture. 

Trust me...Australia After Dark is one movie you won't want to miss!

1 comment:

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