For years brother Colin and Cameron Cairnes (pictured) have written and directed together in the process of creating short films. This time around the brothers have worked together to create their first feature length film 100 Bloody Acres.
Set in a remote farming region, the film centres on a struggling blood and bone fertiliser business run by the Morgan brothers Lindsay (Angus Sampson) and Reg (Damon Herriman). The business finds small success using car crash victims in their fertiliser but it takes a sharp turn when eager-to-please Reg picks up three twenty-something festival goers and takes them to the farm.
The script has been in production for several years and what started as a pure horror film moved into the horror-comedy genre.
“There’s a few reasons as to probably why it developed more into a comedy,” Cameron says. “I think we started writing it maybe 2004 – around that time – and the original idea was to make something brutal, violent, 70s-style horror film like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes.
“Around that time Wolf Creek was released and did really, really well and there was probably part of us that felt, well, Greg’s (Mclean) already done that and he’s done a great job we’ve got to make it our own.
“We knew it would have been likened to that film especially if we pursued it as a straight horror film. How do you beat Wolf Creek at its own game?”
Cameron explained the character of Lindsay Morgan was always intended to be the darker figure of the film but it was in the casting of Angus Sampson that the role took on a real power.
“I think the intention was for him to be like that but we could never have imagined that he could be the character Angus portrayed, he just took it to another level in terms of malevolence and empathy as well,” he said.
“He’s got such a presence and a real magnetism around him and I’m glad we got him to do that before he goes on to much bigger stuff because he has got such charisma. There are shots in there where he could be Jack Nicolson from The Shining or (Marlon) Brando. He gives cinematic performances.”
The brothers’ script also included a role which, Colin pointed out, was designed for a cameo style cast member.
“We always imagined a big, iconic Aussie character actor in that role. We always thought it would be a great little cameo for an older Aussie actor and early in the casting process John Jarratt was offered as a name and as soon as it was we thought ‘yeah why didn’t we think of that’,” he explained.
“So we gave John a little something to play with after the last few years of doing Mike Taylor and I think a few other serial killer roles.”
100 Bloody Acres was written with regional Victoria in mind but it was the Adelaide Hills that was selected as the location for filming.
“It’s so close to the city too, so for a small budget film like ours with a tight shooting schedule, we couldn’t afford to relocate out into the wild of Australia. We had to get in and out every day and, as you know with the Adelaide Hills, it takes 40-45 minutes to get out into the middle of nowhere, so very convenient,” Colin said.
“We were fortunate to find that place Fairyland. It’s just outside of Lobethal. When we found that place we knew it had to be in the movie.
“We hadn’t written it, we had written it in another location and we couldn’t find what we wanted and then we stumbled upon Fairyland Village and if a guy’s off his head on acid that’s where he’s being chased. Even though it seems to be an odd tangent it seems to be a favourite scene.”
Filming was done a lot around a farm owned by an older lady who regularly dropped by to see how the film was going.
“She’s a lovely lady, she played organ at the local church and a real pillar of the local community. They knew what sort of film it was so they knew it was this horror comedy,” Cameron said.
“It didn’t help that Damon told the story last week on tellie on how there’s a scene where he walks down the hill with this meat cleaver in his hand and he ends up in the house. He gets to the house, no one yelled cut, so he’s a professional… they might need this part of the shot… so he walks in there just as she’s rounding the corner! He walks in with this meat cleaver, covered in blood. He’s trying to explain to her, waving this cleaver around, this is just for the film!”
100 Bloody Acres will be released across Australia 1 August 2013.