Antony Ginnane on Patrick.
Unless you’ve been strapped to a hospital bed unable to communicate to the outside world, it will hardly have escaped your attention that the Melbourne International Film Festival kicks off this weekend. Showcasing the best in national and international cinema, it also boasts Night Shift; a series of films for those with a penchant for bloodshed and brutality. Top of our checklist of celluloid-to-see is the remake of the 1978 cult classic Patrick, starring Charles Dance.
For those shameful few who’ve never seen this Ozploitation classic, Patrick is the tale of a comatose patient with telekinetic powers who develops an unhealthy crush on his night nurse; unleashing a series of atrocities upon the men in her life and the staff of the hospital. The remake is directed by Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood and Machete Maidens) and produced by none other than Antony Ginnane, a legendary producer whose back catalogue includes Turkey Shoot, Screamers and Last Dance.
Antony took some time out of his busy schedule to give John Noonan the lowdown on Patrick.
You produced the original in 1978. It’s an Aussie horror classic – In Not Quite Hollywood Tarantino said he pays homage to it in Kill Bill – what made you want to revisit it?
Director Mark Hartley was a fan and asked me if I had considered remaking it. We knew Carrie was being remade and, of course, so were a lot of classic and near classic cult thriller and horror pics from the 70s and 80s. Mark and I are both Hitchcock devotees. I have argued strongly for more Australian remakes – so it made sense.
Has it been easy getting it onto the big screen? Have there been any obstacles or has it all been smooth sailing?
It’s never smooth sailing to finance any film. It took close to five years from conception to completion. Putting together an Australian film finance package is complex and multiple elements have to fall into place.
There were some bumps on the way – but we got there. Screen Australia had become more open to genre – which was helpful.
Mark Hartley said in a recent interview that you asked Quentin Tarantino to write a note to Screen Australia suggesting they finance the remake. Did he do it?
Tarantino did indeed write the “you better invest” note to Screen Australia which we included in the application. The original of this is framed in my LA office.
I read a review on Crikey.com.au, which has nothing but great things to say about the film. Are you looking forward to the audience’s reaction when it plays at MIFF?
Indeed. The original film, particularly the ending, jolted audiences back in the day. I hope we will have the same result.
Are there nods to the original that fans should look out for?
Yes. Some of the original cast – Rod Mullinar, Maria Mercedes, some props, some wardrobe and of course – the frogs!
How soon after MIFF will Patrick get its national and international release?
The Australian release is currently scheduled for October. Internationally, first quarter 2014.
Are there any other films in your portfolio you’d like to give an update to? I heard a rumour that Turkey Shoot is another potential.
We are working on a redo of Turkey Shoot with Jon Hewitt directing and Mark Hartley, Justin King and I are planning another outing together. My Last Dance writer Terence Hammond has just completed a thriller Spontaneous Combustion and there a few that are still hush hush…
Check out the trailer.