Every now and then, the cinematic gods smile upon devoted cinephiles and a lost treasure is unearthed from the depths of time. And while we’ll forever hope that in someone’s attic sits the original ending to Orson Welles‘ “The Magnificent Ambersons,” if we have to watch the 1971 Aussie flick “Wake In Fright” in the meantime, that’s just fine by us.
An essential part of the Ozploitation wave, and a key picture in Australia’s horror genre, the Ted Kotcheff-directed film eluded even the most savvy of movie hunters for a long time. With no home video release or broadcasts, many thought “Wake In Fright” — which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival — would forever remain a curio. But lo and behld, a new 35mm print has been struck, Drafthouse Films has picked it up and a whole new generation will get to experience “Wake In Fright” for the first time.
Starring Gary Bond and Donald Pleasance, the booze-soaked story centers on a schoolteacher on his way to Sydney for the Christmas holidays, who stops over for a night in the tiny town of Bundanyabba. A night of drinking and gambling soon finds his destiny forever altered. In this exclusive clip from the film, we see just how odd and meancing the Yabba can be, for even the smallest slight.
We called the film “a harrowing journey” when we saw it last week at Fantastic Fest (review here), and you can experience it for yourself when it opens in limited release this Friday, October 5th.