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10 Best Australian Horror Movies

Jumpier than a kangaroo and scarier than a spider encounter, these are the ten best horror films to hail from down under. 
Best Australian Horror Movies
By  · Published on October 1st, 2020

5. Cargo (2017)

best australian horror movies Martin Freeman in Cargo

How do you make a zombie film feel original after all these years? Well, for starters, you set it in a location where the natural landscape can be as brutal as the hordes of the undead. In Cargo, the Australian outback is already a source of strife for Andy (Martin Freeman), who traverses the land with his infant daughter. Enter in a zombie plague, and the fight for survival becomes increasingly daunting. As Andy heads further into the bush he crosses paths with Aboriginal communities, and the film effectively reckons with the implications of who, exactly, has historically had to fight to survive on the land they call home. The film is sharp, emotionally powerful, and a perfect example of all that Oz horror has to offer. (Anna Swanson)

4. Next of Kin (1982)

Next Of Kin

You didn’t hear it from me, but if you say “Next of Kin is an Australian giallo” five times in a mirror, John Jarratt appears and forces you to slam back a Victoria Bitter. Oz’s response to Fulci and Argento is a sweaty, blood-drenched terror trip whose humid horror lies not in what stalks in the brush but what lurks in the walls and lingering memories of an old dark house. In the wake of inheriting a nursing home from her estranged mother, a young woman (Jacki Kerin) is swept up in a series of strange occurrences, and even stranger deaths, after she reads her mother’s diary. The second and final non-documentary film of Kiwi director Tony Williams, Next of Kin is a dreamily gothic slow burn boasting dazzling photography, a crunchy electronic score from Klaus Schulze, and the most beautiful cat in all of horror (no, really). Compared to its Ozploitation peers, Next of Kin is a weird wonderful surprise. If you’ve ever wondered what it’d look like if The Shining and Suspiria had an Aussie baby, this is it. (Anna Swanson)

3. Razorback (1984)


Ask most Americans back in the 1980s which Australian animal posed the biggest threat to human babies, and they’d probably answer “dingo.” Because dingoes eat your babies. Ask a horror movie fan, though, and they just might answer “rampaging wild boar” instead. Russell Mulcahy‘s ultra-stylish slice of animal horror features too many highlights to list here, but Razorback‘s opening set-piece that sends the oversized boar crashing through a house’s walls, snagging a baby from a crib, and running off into the night remains an all-timer. Mulcahy shoots the unfolding nightmare like a feature-length music video filled with color, wind, and beauty, and his combination of prosthetic creature design and sharp editing add to this thrilling and endlessly fun watch. (Rob Hunter)

2. Long Weekend (1978)

Screaming in The Long Weekend

Let’s get our Ozploitation checklist out, shall we? Beer? Check. Beach? Check. Hostile environment that will do everything it can to ruin your peaceful weekend getaway? Check. Okay, so that last part wasn’t entirely true. Peter and Marcia’s weekend was never going to be peaceful. Setting off into the brush to smooth over marital infidelity only works if both parties enjoy roughing it. But these two can barely contain their vitriol. And they don’t just lash out at each other, they destroy everything in their path, leaving a wake of smashed eggs, pierced trees, and poached manatees in their wake. Sure enough, nature’s immune system kicks in and sets about expunging this infectious presence. As an eco-horror, Long Weekend is less of a creature feature than a mystical, atmospheric unfolding of karmic missteps. Nature doesn’t so much “run amok” as bleakly descend upon its deserving victims. This is a quiet, consumptive film that explains little while making its point perfectly clear: don’t be a dick (Meg Shields)

1. The Loved Ones (2009)

best australian horror moviesThe Loved Ones

For teenagers, few nights are more special than senior prom. The lavish attire, slow dances with first loves, and after-hours parties are cherished memories. With his feature debut, director Sean Byrne gave us a glimpse into some of Australia’s time-honored traditions associated with this important coming-of-age event. Prom Down Under means having your father help you kidnap the boy you love, injecting bleach into his vocal cords so he can’t ruin the evening by talking, and a little playful torture. Ah, to be eighteen and in love. (Chris Coffel)

Enjoy this look at the best Australian horror movies? Keep the horrifying fun rolling with more 31 Days of Horror Lists!

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Anna Swanson is a Senior Contributor who hails from Toronto. She can usually be found at the nearest rep screening of a Brian De Palma film.