Directed By: John D. Lamond
Tag line: “At Last! The Australia you’ve always wanted to see but until now … have never DARED!”
Trivia: This film was heavily censored upon its release in the UK, running 12 minutes shorter than the R-rated Australian version
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Featured in 2008’s Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!, Australia After Dark is a documentary that occasionally devolves into an exposé of sex, masochism and oddities galore. It’s an eccentric motion picture, but boy, did I enjoy it!
Narrated by Hayes Gordon, Australia After Dark takes us on a whirlwind tour of Australia, journeying from one end of the continent to the other and exploring the customs, beliefs, and, unusual “practices” of its native population. Australia After Dark has it all, from exotic restaurants and outdoor festivals to strip clubs and fetish palaces, revealing a side of Australia I guarantee you’ve never seen before.
How strange is Australia After Dark? Well, here’s a summation of the first dozen or so minutes of the film: We open with a picturesque shot of the Outback, over which Mr. Gordon, the narrator, warns us that what we’re about to see “won’t be all beautiful, but it will be true”. After about 30 seconds spent discussing the plight of the Aborigines, we’re whisked to King’s Cross in Sydney, a “sleazy, grubby, neon-lit” section of town filled to the breaking point with prostitutes, pimps and strippers. There’s a brief scene of a naked woman lying on a bed, then it’s right back to the streets and into an S&M “salon” where we watch two leather-bound men wrestle around a bit before one is led upstairs and tied to a rack (“look at that rack”, Hayes Gordon says, “you don’t see craftsmanship like that these days”). Cut to a riverboat restaurant, where the chef is preparing such tasty morsels as shrimp, snake, and fried grubs. Then, it’s off to an art studio of some sort, where, for a small fee, you too can “decorate” the body of a naked woman. But we’re not done yet. We still have ancient cave drawings to examine, and three nude ladies to watch rolling around on the floor before we’ve hit the 12-minute mark. Seriously, I don’t think “bizarre” is a strong enough word to describe Australia After Dark
There are smatterings of a legitimate documentary (we visit a museum in Melbourne that was once a gallows, and now features a variety of death masks molded from those who were executed there) tossed together with straight-up exploitation (by way of nude beaches on the Barrier Reef and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a porn film) before Australia After Dark finally succumbs to temptation, and concludes amid gobs of nudity and the ravings of a sexual prophet (and sometimes drag queen) named Count Copernicus.
Trust me…this is one movie you won’t want to miss!