Long Weekend (1978) – By Baron Craze


Director Colin Eggleston, presents an incredible and slow developing film with environmental horror (aka: Eco-horror) using the screenplay from Everett De Roche who wrote the script for horror film Patrick released in the same year, and this movie has achieved a cult status due to the differing style conveying horror through suggestions rather than blatant imagines. The entire tale of manipulation occurs over a long holiday weekend and hence the title and developing a twisting method using ample tension, suspense and plenty of symbolism that clearly translates to today’s society.  Now, thanks to Synapse Films this feature earns a stunning high-definition transfer with excellent qualities for everyone to enjoy.

Everett’s screenplay starts with a limited cast, and slowly turns the wick up for a torrid heated and charge pacing of the film for Eggleston to conquer the most harden filmgoer with shocking imagery and exploits an era in the horror sub-genre of striking back against humanity. However, the movie-received attention in another manner by the consideration of critics lumping the film it into “ozploitation” which is Australian exploitation, and sadly, that is not case with intelligent and well-planned creation. A highly effective story of a troubled married couple suffering a traumatic situation, one that hides under the radar and not readily exposed the audience, adding a teaser to them, as it all takes time to get the driving force in the movie. The terror comes in little from the edges, with night cries and day mare plaguing the couple and they litter and discard without a care, from bug sprays, to trash and rampage shooting, not for survival rather the proud hunter and husband Peter (John Hargreaves) proving is manhood over the domain of nature. His wife, Marcia (Briony Behets) sought relaxation at spa or hotel and against nature and still treats it as a trash dump, just complaining and whimpering constantly and slowly matures through and exposes themselves fully. No direct explanation is ever given and the hints only drop at precise moments, the typical nature of the man versus nature supernatural horror, is not the case herein, here everything of nature relates in tremendous portion to the next element. The conclusion the movie brings excellent fates colliding and shocking finish to a wonderful movie, filled with great mysteries, such as a cry of a baby animal echoing across the night sky, for the absent mother.

This movie follows the patterns found in the famed film The Birds (1963) by Alfred Hitchcock and to many horror fans, considered the first film to look at eco-horror, with and thorough understanding of man’s destructive place in society. In this movie the character of Mother Nature proves itself as formidable forces, willing to protect, and destroy those that harm the existence and important of its place in the society and the more dominate species. The environmental statement present Peter as the aggressor needlessly destroying for no other reason but for sheer brutality and expressing his domain, and marking his territory. One must note the eco-horror genre, a true niche market, with the occurrences ranging from multiple species such as in Dogs (1976) to Day of the Animals (1977) to Prophecy (1979) and the Alligator (1980) all with a careful line forming against the causes from man’s desire of God-like attributes. The vision blurred with greed to change chemicals and landscapes through encroachment on the lands such as the cases with Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) without the care of the consequences a reassurance that Man overcomes all that come before him.

The movie presents strong psychological angles that often find themselves overlooked by the causal viewer, and yet the creep slowly into their minds, the nature’s elements, so vast, uncontrollable, able to generate more than simplistic scares to terrorize the audience, rather lasting implications upon one’s own life and safety of others. As stated, the 1970s brought forth many revenge style films from the animals and nature standpoint, and it continues today with Zoo (television series) based from James Patterson classic novel, all of it warning to the insignificant pest called man versus the overwhelming odds of nature and not just creatures, but with the message of the meek inherited the earth.

A minor footnote, Colin Eggleston; Everett De Roche and John Hargreaves who all experience terrific careers have passed on, respectively in 2002, 2014, and 1996, their work still stands as a testament to the passion for the craft of cinema and for the fans to always enjoy.