Friday Five: Five Films Made and/or Filmed in South Australia

Five Films From My Home State

My home state of South Australia is one of the prime film industry locations in the world. Not only are we home to the South Australian Film Corporation, we’re also home to numerous studios that work for Hollywood companies, like VFX studio Rising Sun Pictures. With this industry has come a large number of productions that have either been made or filmed in this state. Here are five of them from a variety of different genres and budgets.

Image: Poster for Mortal Kombat (2021)

Mortal Kombat (2021)

A surprising and the most recent entry on this list, Mortal Kombat is currently one of the biggest films to have been filmed in South Australia. Shot throughout 2019 across multiple areas here, the world will get to see Adelaide’s great potential as a film location. It’s this reason why I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity to watch it.

Fun fact: I was told in 2019 when I was a tour guide at the ABC Adelaide studios that part of the film would be made there. I was told to keep that under wrap at the time, but can now proudly admit that.

Image: Poster for the first Wolf Creek film (2005)

Wolf Creek (2005)

South Australia has so much beautiful landscape, in which is showcased throughout both the first Wolf Creek and its successors. From the Ikara-Flinders Ranges to the cliffs around Port Willunga, this film series has traversed them all. At this same time though, it’s made them spookier as you wonder if Mick Taylor will be hanging around them. The chase along the highway between the eighties Mitsubishi Sigma wagon and the seventies Holden Statesman is by far one of the most heart-pounding moments in this movie.

Image: The Babadook (2014) film poster

The Babadook (2014)

Possibly one of the scariest and original psychological horror films, in my opinion, of the last ten years, The Babadook is a unique one in this collection. The directorial debut of Jennifer Kent, The Babadook was filmed in and around Adelaide, with a focus on locations that are unusual in Adelaide itself. As for one, the house they live in is a rarity in Adelaide itself. I don’t know many homes that have a cellar, where the Babadook lives in Adelaide itself. This takes away from the uniqueness of Adelaide’s residential style, but does help give the film a “anywhere” feel to it.

Image: Escape from Pretoria (2020) Film Poster

Escape from Pretoria (2020)

A thrilling, heart pounding film starring Daniel Radcliffe, this film follows anti-apartheid protester Tim Jenkin and his escape from a prison in Pretoria in 1970s South Africa. He does this along his friend Stephen Lee (played by Daniel Webber) and Leonard Fontaine (played by Mark Leonard Winter). Despite being set in South Africa, the film was made in Adelaide, with external shots being on Pirie Street and Flinders University. Wouldn’t even tell the difference with it, except maybe for the 1970s Holdens, which should’ve been rebadged Chevrolets. This isn’t the first movie with a South African setting to be filmed in South Australia. One of the more famous ones is Breaker Morant from 1980.

Fun fact: my cousin’s husband’s father worked on this film and apparently mistaken Radcliffe for one of the carpenters.

Image: Snowtown (2011) Film Poster

Snowtown (2011)

 I don’t know what’s scarier about this crime drama: the fact it’s based on the real-life Snowtown Murders, or the slow pacing in the beginning. The slow build-up in the beginning though is totally worth it, considering the intensity of it. Perhaps the scariest aspect of it is it was filmed in and around the suburbs of Salisbury and Elizabeth, where most of the actual murders happened. One scene that really struck home for me is their travel up along the Salisbury Highway, past the now closed down saltpans. Seeing that sight on screen really struck a chord and brought the terror home.

Image: Jaws (1975) Film Poster

Special Mention: Jaws (1975)

Remember that scene from Jaws where they went cage diving? Well, that was filmed just outside of Port Lincoln, at Dangerous Reef. One of the first instances of Hollywood using South Australia as a filming location, and gave cinema goers quite the shock in the day.

Title Image: Ikara-Flinders Ranges, where movies like Wolf Creek were filmed in. Image licence-free from Wikipedia


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