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Tabula Rasa

The Yattering

Tabula Rasa#6, April 1995

Bryan Brown, who is possibly best known for throwing bottles at Tom Cruise, has recently arranged with Channel 9 to produce a series of 'Twisted Tales'. He states his inspiration as the Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents series. They will be commercial half-hour stories and genre is no barrier. Now this sounds like just what we need.

Horror in Australian television, if we can even talk about such a thing, has been, like science-fiction, relegated to the children's hour. This usually means they are half-comic such as the 1990 Elly and Jools, but sometimes there have been genuinely frightening entries such as the adaptation of Patricia Wrightson's The Nargun and the Stars in 1980, and 1982's Under the Mountain, whose writers had obviously read Lovecraft somewhere down the line.

Anthology series, on the other hand, have generally been the result of Art's Council grants, with vignettes on multi-culturalism and other such worthy and mind-expanding topics. As far as decently budgeted, adult horror (or indeed any genre), the closest we've come is the dark and gritty world of Phoenix, and Hallifax fp. Even Kennedy-Miller, the successful production house of George Miller, has mostly stuck to politics and cricket.

But are things changing? Is this even an opportunity for things to change? It seems to be part of the trend shown by Terror Australis and Bloodsongs, but is more significant as being produced outside the closed world of fandom. As we have known for years, there is a market. Maybe it took The X-Files to convince Channel 9 of the fact.

Obviously, this deserves our support, and our very best work. Because they have pretty much given an open invitation for scripts (write to us if you want the details we have), and the horror community knows its way around this area better than anyone.

Leigh Blackmore's sentiments of last year still hold, for the field to flourish (and our careers to progress) we should nurture the genre with quality work. This television show is just the latest possibility.


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