A happy and instructive haunting: revising the Child, the Gothic, and the Australian Cinema Revival in Storm Boy (2019) and Picnic at Hanging Rock (2018)

Craven, Allison (2021) A happy and instructive haunting: revising the Child, the Gothic, and the Australian Cinema Revival in Storm Boy (2019) and Picnic at Hanging Rock (2018). Journal of Australian Studies, 45 (1). pp. 45-60.

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A recent spate of remakes of film titles dating from the Australian Cinema Revival in the 1970s suggest a renewed interest in this significant corpus of films. It has a deeper resonance insofar as the original films also represent landmarks in Australian Gothic aesthetics. In two of these productions, Storm Boy (2019) and Picnic at Hanging Rock (2018), the renewal of the Gothic discourses and the allied figure of the child are inflected by an optimistic vein of “Post-Millennial Gothic” (Spooner 2017). It is apparent in the styling and in the post-feminist and cultural consciousness of both productions and the sense in which both remakes provide resolutions to the earlier films and embed layers of contemporary social pedagogy in the revised Gothic scenarios. In Storm Boy (2019), this emerges in the renewed environmental theme, and the generational passage of the story in its retelling from the aged perspective of Mike as a grandfather in what is effectively a sequel to the first film. The streamed television series of Picnic at Hanging Rock displays parodic ‘horror’ styling and uncovers the latent appeal of Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel as young adult fiction concerning a group of schoolgirls. There are pedagogical overtones in the transformation of the innocent girls into pro-feminist young-adult heroines, and the recognition of Indigenous people compared with their marginality in the novel and earlier film. These productions both pose recognition that the films of the cinema Revival may not speak to a current generation and this is particularly apparent in the revised figure of the lost child in the remakes.

Item ID: 63822
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1444-3058
Keywords: Cinema Revival, Post-Millennial Gothic, Australian Gothic, lost child, folk horror
Copyright Information: © 2021 International Australian Studies Association. The Author Accepted Manuscript of this paper is available Open Access from ResearchOnline@JCU from 1 August 2022.
Funders: Colin and Margaret Roderick
Projects and Grants: Roderick Scholar
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2020 00:10
FoR Codes: 36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3605 Screen and digital media > 360501 Cinema studies @ 70%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470502 Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 80%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture @ 20%
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