‘We wanted to kick in the doors’: the Indigenous film-makers reinventing horror

11.02.22 | Press

‘We wanted to kick in the doors’: the Indigenous film-makers reinventing horror

By Ellen E Jones
The Guardian

A small army of undead are helping writers and directors explode traditional narratives of colonisation – with thrilling results.

In January 1788, a fleet of British ships under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip anchored in a bay known as Warrane to the people living there. What happened next is the familiar story of Australia’s founding. Less widely known is that 11 blood-sucking vampires were also brought ashore by the “First Fleet” that day. Once loose, they became addicted to the blood of Indigenous Australians and set about massacring the population, thereby weakening their resistance to the British invaders.

Or at least, that’s according to Shanika and Tyson, the vampire-killing “bloodhunters” at the centre of a new eight-part Australian series, Firebite. And who are we to argue?

Nothing less than history, and who gets to decide it, is at stake in the new wave of colonial-confronting horror being made by First Nations film-makers from all over the world. Firebite originated in the brain of Warwick Thornton, a Kaytetye man from Australia’s Northern Territory and an internationally feted film-maker since 2009, when his debut feature, Samson and Delilah, won the Caméra d’Or (best first feature prize) at Cannes.

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