When you're sitting down with John Jarratt, you're sitting down with Mick Taylor; and when you're sitting down with Mick Taylor, you're sitting down with Australia's answer Freddy Kruger (The Nightmare on Elm Street Series) or Michael Myers (the Halloween Series) or even Jason Voorhees (the Friday the 13th series). The difference is that Jarratt unabashedly loves playing Mick Taylor; "I had a ball with both of 'em mate."
Why eight years between drinks? According to Jarratt writer/director Greg McLean "wrote the damned thing and then didn't like it," and there were some investor issues along the way. But that didn't diminish their passion for the project in any way.
Jarrat says: "I was little bit more confident with the second one because the first one I didn't have an audience to tell me whether the character worked or not. I knew that it was going to work because people were begging us to do another one." If the people wanted more Mick Taylor that's what they got. Jarratt explains; "The first one was Mick's short film and this one was a feature." Contrasting the experiences of the film he goes to say; "I think you'll find the difference is that for 50% of the film I'm the monster in a cage but once the monster comes out of the cage ...he has fun. I think the second one we just did it for 90 minutes."
The difference is that this time around Mick Taylor has swagger. The monster is out of the cage and he's playing to audience even if the terrifying and desolate outback doesn't have canned laughs. While Wolf Creek 2 certainly earns the tagline of a horror film I was interested in what Jarratt though of Greg McLean's prescient satire of Australia. "It's a great idea but I didn't explore how he came up with it. I thought it was a stroke of brilliance. The singing, dancing, telling jokes — it was just madness but a beautiful madness you know." That said though he was quick to point out his affinity for the gallows comedy and said; "I think the first one is pretty bloody funny."
He's right, and Mick Taylor, for all his horrific actions is just so perversely fun to watch. Why? Jarratt says that Mick is most like "Pepé le Pew... I never run. I just keep turning up and you're never gonna get away from me. And he's just there messing with you like a cat with a mouse. He lets 'em go and chases 'em. He could take 'em out any time. In the second one, the pommy kid (Ryan Corr’s Paul Hammersmith) was running across the paddock he could have shot him, but then he saw a horse and thought, a horse would be better. He always wins the game."
Wolf Creek 2 significantly ups the ante in almost every conceivable way. In crassness, Jarratt admits wanting to get the world record for 'fucks' in a sentence. Slipping into his most grating 'ocker' brogue: "It's not fucking Dennis Fucking Lilly you fucking idiot fuck sake oh fuck you fuck this... That's a lot of fucks." I never did verify how he went, but he had a great time making the film, even if his co star Ryan (Corr) did have to suffer through Mick Taylor's glee. "Ryan copped it a bit. I loved galloping through the bush, jumping off that horse and whipping the crap out of him. I did whip him once [and head butt him] unfortunately. You know the head butt? [In the final act of the film there's a sickening physical altercation with Jarrett and Corr] It connected. That's real! That's dead set real. God love him, he's only 23 or something and he hasn't done a lot of stunt work. He's supposed to go like that [he motions moving his head back] but he stayed put and BOOM. And the noise (in the film) is the noise. And he went down and they went cut and I went down and said, 'are you O.K mate?' He said I've got a headache but hey, how good is it?!"
While for the preparation for the original Wolf Creek was about enveloping himself into the skin of this monster, the second film was using the monster as armour and galavanting all over the place. Jarratt says"I loved riding horses. And I practised the whip for months." And he claims "It's better than masturbation. It's not a hard thing to do. When you crack the whip you go wooohoo... I was cracking the whip all over the joint. I really love cracking whips and I could take a blackhead off your nose with a whip now."
I had to reply during our interview; "If that's not an advertisement for Wolf Creek 3 I don't know what is...."
However after a great response at home and an exceedingly positive critical response I was curious to hear what Jarrett had heard of the international reception: "Only two copies of Wolf Creek 2 left in Walmart (America's Biggest Retailer); how good is that?!? Usually you get trolls saying horrible things about you and things that are more disgusting than the movie and how disgusting you are but there's been nothing like that, it has been really positive."
Wolf Creek 2 is available now on DVD, Blu Ray and VOD.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to legacy audio reviews on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.
Blake Howard is a writer, a podcaster, the editor-in-chief & co-founder of Australian film blog Graffiti With Punctuation. Beginning his criticism APPRENTICESHIP as co-host of That Movie Show 2UE, Blake is now a member of the prestigious Online Film Critic Society, sways the Tomato Meter with Rotten Tomatoes approved reviews. See his articulated words and shrieks (mostly) here at Graffitiwithpunctuation.com and with DarkHorizons.com & 2SER Sydney weekly on Gaggle of Geeks.