Melbourne is a popular destination for shooting horror films. Queen of the Damned, Body Melt, The Clinic, Darkness Falls, Thirst, Lake Mungo, Long Weekend, The Loved Ones, Roadgames, Thirst, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Prey, Visitors, Winchester – just some examples of horror films that have taken place on Melbourne streets over the years. But what is it about Melbourne that makes it so appropriate for the horror genre?
“Melbourne is a great city for cinema. It’s got a lot of alleyways, it’s kind of Victorian. The architecture is gothic in a sense and I think it’s pretty cinematic.”
Melbourne bred Leigh Whannell tells us whilst he was in Melbourne shooting Stem, which is set in the near future and centres around a paralysed technophobe (Logan Marshall-Green from Prometheus) who avenges his wife’s murder with the help of an experimental computer chip implant.
“I made a film a few years ago with Angus Sampson who plays Tucker in the Insidious movies,” says Whannell. “He and I co-wrote a film called The Mule – we shot it in Melbourne, and it was so great to make an Australian story with Australian actors, and I guess when I did that film I found out how much talent there is in Australia.”
Although Leigh has been based in L.A. for 10 years, he still considers Melbourne home. “When I go back to Australia, and specifically Melbourne, I realise how much of that city is in my blood. I know that city so well. I spent 26 years there before moving over to the U.S. I still feel like a tourist living abroad. I haven’t lost my accent. And I like still feeling like a tourist – it keeps me excited about it. Like I’ll see something that’s totally banal to someone who lives in L.A., like a street, and be like ‘ooh look at that! Magnolia Avenue! I remember that movie!’ So I think it’s important for me to keep that feeling of being an excited tourist in a foreign land.”
Insidious: The Last Key is in cinemas February 8, 2018