A Huge List Of Spooky Indigenous Movies To Watch Over Halloween
The nightmare before Blackfulla Christmas.
Halloween is coming up quite soon — but so is NAIDOC Week. This year’s NAIDOC Week was moved from its regular spot in July to November because of COVID, so it’s nice and close to Halloween for the first time.
So, this year we have spooky season running into Black Christmas and for no other reason than “I wanted to”, I’ve put together a killer list of horror properties both starring or made by First Nations peoples that I and my Black pop-culture loving friends can’t get enough of — and we’re going to share them with you.
Cause… reasons fam. There’s enough films on this list to keep watching all the way from Halloween through to the end of NAIDOC.
Let’s dive in.
Okay, a straight up personal fave, I have been forcing this on anyone who will listen to me (I’m sorry I’ve been so annoying).
It’s a zombie movie starring mob (blackfellas), people!!! This movie has a lot of heart, a few laughs, some tears, and the world building is done so well. The young lead, Simone Landers, really holds her own alongside Martin Freeman and David Gulpilil — I personally look forward to seeing what she does in the future
Red Hill (2010)
Red Hill is a western-style revenge flick, so more of a thriller than a straight horror, but it’s cool so it gets on the list.
Corrupt cops, gory deaths, and that one dude (Ryan Kwanten) who was in True Blood. Fun fact, Ryan’s brother is married to an Aboriginal woman named Mindy. They are in a husband and wife band together called Bow and Arrow. Their music is great and I suggest you check it out.
For this movie though, think Rambo, but Rambo is Bla(c)k, which is freaking cool, no?
The Darkside (2013)
Director Warrick Thornton is a powerhouse, and has basically slam dunked any genre of work he touches.
In this outing, we get an amazing mix of ghost stories featuring performances from Debra Mailman, Uncle Jack Charles, and more. Also, if you’re after spooky films you can watch with little ones, this film has a PG rating.
“IT’S NOT A REMAKE OF RAZORBACK IT JUST HAPPENS TO HAVE A GIANT PIG IN IT TOO!!!” — some dude I regret hanging out with (name redacted).
Anyways, it has everyone’s (EVERYONE’S) all time favourite Uncle Ernie Dingo, in a scene that just makes me laugh every time. If you like the horror sub-genre known officially as: a giant animal starts killing a bunch of people, I say that this is definitely a movie for you.
The Deadlands (2014)
This is a two-for-one, we’ll be covering the movie (that I have seen) and the newly released show (that I haven’t seen).
The movie is completely in the Maori language (Te Reo) and is a revenge story of a man looking for honour and redemption to bring rest to the ghosts of his loved ones. He must journey into the forbidden Deadlands and battle demons.
If you are able to watch a film with subtitles (some people can’t) I highly recommend you give this a watch. I cannot recommend the movie enough.
Now… we also have the show. I haven’t seen it, but it’s in English, and judging by the trailer they managed to splash in that patented quirky New Zealand brand of humour. I’m super looking forward to binge watching this.
What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
Again, a three-for-one!
The original movie is written, directed and staring Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Concords) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok)
Basically it’s a mockumentary about vampires just going about their usual day-to-day, and it’s just a laugh out loud good time. The movie also spawned a spin off TV series with the same name, and the paranormal cop show Wellington Paranormal — both excellent and hilarious television.
There is an incredible scene where Jermaine Clements character is transforming into a cat because that’s a power that vampires have, but he isn’t great at it and it is really just his face on a cat’s body. Truly showing the incredible power of CGI!
The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (1978)
Ok, this is an Australian classic. It’s a classic people!!! With a 100% on Rotten Tomatos, need I say more? Yes I suppose I must. Texas De Vries from Broriginals Podcast sites this as one of his favourite, yet most disturbing movies he has watched.
Spoilers do not abound here… I don’t want to give too much away about the film.
This movie is three different ghost stories in the one movie, that’s three-for-one. What a deal!!! Released back in 1993, I fully recommend you give it a watch, now! What are you waiting for, go and watch it.
Silent Night (2015)
This short film 11 minutes long starring Shari Sebbens. It’s a really creepy thriller is a quick watch but one that stays with you so it packs a lot of punch for its small package.
Available to watch on ABC iview
Dark Place (2019)
Dark Place is a series of five horror shorts, each one under 20 minutes, with a mix of witches, ghouls, and river vampires alongside other interesting and spooky themes. I’m yet to watch them all, because I’m spreading this one out over spooky month.
Dipping into the first episode gives us the character Elena whose sleep is a portal to a dark place inside. I am not ever sleeping again… thanks.
Available to watch on ABC iview.
Cleverman (Seasons 1 and 2)
This sci-fi work showed us the level of Indigenous representation could/should be. It has a huge creative team of majority mob, amazing lead roles by Hunter Page, Deborah Mailman, and Rob Collins. It also has Iain Glen who was Jora Mormont in Game of Thrones.
If you haven’t already seen it because you were in a coma when it was released I suggest you get on it right now. Stop whatever it is you’re doing and get on it.
Indigenous Ghost Stories (2020)
A mini-documentary storytelling series made by NITV, this features mob telling us about the paranormal things that have happened in their lives. It’s a little spooky, a little wholesome, and it’s kinda fun. It’s shot really well, you get these really sweet close ups of peeps telling their ghost stories.
Thalu is a 5-part kids show, think The Goonies meets steam punk.
I’ve only watched a few scenes but there is a scene where a group of Aunties are asking for cups of tea, and this scene will strike terror into the heart of every Indigenous kid ever. Have I said too much?
Available on ABC iview.
The Last Wave (1977)
This one is from 1977 and people are still recommending it, so I guess it has to be a classic. I haven’t seen it though, so… I have always had a weird fascination with Australian TV/movies from this era solely because the accents seem so odd. Like what are they doing? Talking like that? In this economy?
Based on my viewing of the trailer I would describe this as a Lovecraftian style cosmic horror which is awesome and I can’t wait to watch.
Okay. So, I am legit mad I didn’t find out about this one until I started to do my research for this list, which meant I had to stop researching and go and enjoy the film. Which was great.
It’s another zombie movie (be still my beating heart, I love zombies). If Shawn of the Dead and Mad Max went out for a night on the beers and got completely fucked up, that’s how I would describe this movie.
Blood Quantum (2019)
Another Indigenous zombie movie! I, for one, am excited. Indigenous people + zombies= sign me up! This one looks a little more gory than Cargo, but I am excited to give it a watch.
Red Billabong (2016)
So, I haven’t seen this yet, but when I was researching this list my friend recommended it with a simple “its watchable lol”. Do with that what you will!
It looks like a B-Grade monster flick, always a good time.
The Nightingale (2019)
From Jennifer Kent, the director and writer of The Babadook — the movie covers some pretty dark themes. I’m personally waiting for a good mental health day before I dive into this one.
So that was a list! Now you really have no excuse but to check some of them out.
I personally believe we need to be hyping up first Nations artists at every opportunity — also, give us roles in your films, let us star and make things. You’ll get more excellent spooky stuff like in this article.
It’s only a couple of days till Halloween, soooo get to watching. A merry spooky time to all and to all a spooky night
Kira Djnalie (yorta yorta and wergaia) is a Queer Dork behind the Facebook page Beautiful, talented & Deadly where they write, make memes and talk about whatever is on their mind at the time.