HOUNDS OF LOVE I It’s definitely not 36 a film about Kate Bush…
Never mind the snakes, spiders and sharks. If Australian cinema is to be believed – films such as Wolf Creek, The Boys, Snowtown and Animal Kingdom – killers and crims lurk behind every door. “It’s actually a really safe place!” laughs writer-director Ben Young. Yeah, right. Young’s terrifying debut feature, Hounds Of Love, tells of a fictional couple in Perth’s suburbs, in the ’80s, who kidnap, torture and kill young girls.
Specifically, the film sees teenager Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings) abducted from the streets by the violent and disturbed John (Stephen Curry) and Evelyn (Emma Booth). “It’s not all in my imagination – I read cases about couples who kill. I did a lot of research,” says Young, who was clearly affected by real-life Perth killers Eric Edgar Cooke (aka the ‘Night Caller’) and David and Catherine Birnie, the couple behind Western Australia’s so-called Moorhouse Murders.
The reactions to Young’s film have largely been stellar since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year. “I did see a review where someone was very angry,” he chuckles. “They said: ‘I watched this film and it had nothing to do with Kate Bush!’” Despite the title, the film has no connection to the singer’s 1985 album, though Young did try to get the rights to the title track. “That was going to be $250,000,” he sighs.
Nevertheless, Young did spend 20 per cent of his tiny budget on music – with everything from the Moody Blues to Cat Stevens and Joy Division making the cut. Explaining why, he recalls being asked who the star of his film would be. “I said: ‘The music. No-one’s going to know who anybody is [ in the cast] outside of Australia, so let’s get music you don’t normally hear in Australian films.’”
Ironically, in Australia, Stephen Curry – who plays the volatile John – is famed for being a comedian and awards-show host. Young estimates that casting Curry was a neat reflection of reality, where killers in these suburban neighbourhoods are often those you least suspect. “It’s always the likeable person, not the guy who sits there twirling his moustache and torturing animals.”
ETA | 30 JUNE / HOUNDS OF LOVE OPENS late r this MONTH.