Arts & Culture

Canberra blood-lust for horror film The Furies

Michael Weaver 23 October 2019
The Furies

A scene from horror film The Furies which was filmed at Bywong and Canberra. Photos: Martin Ollman.

Canberra and the historic mining village of Bywong have provided the perfect scene for the filming of a horror film where “more blood” was the mantra of director Tony D’Aquino.

The Furies, which will be released on 7 November, was produced with the assistance of Screen Canberra, and was filmed and post-produced in Canberra. Shooting finished in April, with many of the scenes shot on location at Bywong, north-east of Lake George. The sets were built at the Canberra Institute of Technology’s Woden campus and Ken Lampl, the former head of the ANU School of Music, and wife Kirsten Lampl composed the score.

Director and writer Tony D’Aquino said The Furies was inspired by his love of horror movies.

“I have a particular fondness for the films of the 70s and 80s, like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween and Suspiria,” he said.

“With The Furies, I wanted to recapture some of that 70s spirit, and what better way to do that than with the sub-genre the ’70s gave birth to – the slasher film?”

The film is already receiving huge praise from genre fans and last month beat 78 films from 14 countries to win the coveted ‘Best Death’ prize at UK’s number one horror festival, FrightFest. It has also been selected to open this year’s Monster Fest in Sydney on 31 October.

The Furies is a female-driven survival thriller about eight unwilling participants in a deadly game. The film’s title was inspired by the Greek goddesses who exact vengeance on men who’ve wronged women.

Airlie Dodds and Ebony Vagulans from The Furies

Kayla (Airlie Dodds) and Maddie (Ebony Vagulans) in a scene from The Furies.

The film centres on best friends Kayla (Airlie Dodds) and Maddie (Ebony Vagulans). During a nightly graffiti excursion, they find themselves stalked and eventually abducted. Kayla wakes up in a nondescript forest, locked in some kind of coffin and clueless as to where she might be.

Kayla notices a scary masked man who approaches her at breakneck speed while swinging a freshly sharpened axe. She decides not to inquire as to his intentions and runs for her life. But then she notices she’s not the only one doing so; seven more women are being chased by men with masks.

A deadly cat-and-mouse game ensues as Kayla races to save as many girls as she can. But when the girls turn on each other, Kayla’s killer instinct is unleashed and she does whatever it takes to survive and seek revenge on her abductors.

The film is the first of several projects from the Accelerator POD initiative conceived by Canberra-based film studio The Film Distillery, Screen Canberra and international sales agent Odin’s Eye Entertainment.

D’Aquino said Canberra is a fantastic city to film in.

“There’s plenty of great, under-used locations and it’s all so close. We shot the majority of the film in a truly remote bush location, and yet it was minutes from Canberra,” he said.

“There’s also tremendous support from the community for film, music and the arts more broadly. I’m immensely grateful for the support of Screen Canberra and would love to film in Canberra again.

“The idea for The Furies came from an image that popped into my head of a group of young women fighting a horde of masked killers. It’s a slasher film on steroids.

“I believe over 100 litres of fake blood was used in the filming. ‘More blood’ was my regular mantra.”

D’Aquino said The Furies is designed to challenge the current construct of a misogynist, patriarchal society. 

“I’m shocked that in 2019, we still live in a society that can be such a dangerous place for women. The Furies portrays that in the starkest, most undeniable way. The film forces the audience to empathise with the women. It’s the women who are the focus of the story. The men in the film are entirely monstrous.

Skincrow from The Furies

One of the film’s many male monster characters, Skincrow.

“And importantly, it is perfectly placed within the current climate to support the growing movement towards a more genuinely equal culture … whilst scaring the crap out of people.”

The Furies will be released in cinemas on 7 November. You can watch the official trailer below…

Original Article published by Michael Weaver on The RiotACT.

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