August 18, 2008

Solo Review- Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Picnic at Hanging Rock 
Sub-Genre- Supernatural
In Attendance- Me
Cast Members of Note- No one really, save for John Jarratt who went on the star as the maniac in Wolf Creek 30 years later.

What's it About?- Funny story: I tried to get a girl to go on a "Picnic" at "Hanging Rock" with me once, but when she found out what it all meant, she ran off screaming and her dad ended up trying to kill me... Yeah. Good times.

Anyways, a bunch of schoolgirls head off for a picnic on a rock, pristine manners and proper clothing in tow, not knowing that the rock hates them and wants them dead. 3 of them decide to go exploring around the rock (they've been acting creepy and are all like "It's calling to us" all day), and head off alone. Edith, the nose picking fatty of the group, tags along because she wants to be cool, even though she's fat.

"Bye! See you never!"
The only one that returns is the girl that plays for Team Hungry* (That's trademarked folks), screaming about them disappearing and taking all of the sandwiches with them. One of the teachers heads off after them and doesn't return either. Everyone panics, and the race is on to find the girls, and unravel the mystery of what exactly happened to them. My bet is that one of Cthulhu's land-dwelling cousins had something to do with all of this. I wont ruin the ending here, but suffice it to say that the rock wins.

The Good- This movie is a work of art, and in essence is a story on par with something that Lovecraft may have written. What happened to the girls? What other world does the Hanging Rock belong to? The eerie atmosphere and the slow pace allow everything to unfold just so, and though we get precious few answers, we can't help but be entranced by it all.

"Oh God, I can see forever!"
What I love about this movie, is that we get plenty of hints that something horrible is to come; as the girls climb the rock and explore, they begin to say odd things and act strangely, and we realize that the rock itself may be something otherworldly, and that the girls are ultimately doomed. I don't know why this reminds me of something Lovecraftian; maybe it's the whole "we humans have no idea what's really out there" thing that makes you sit and wonder exactly what we are missing. Has Peter Weir ever made a bad film? The man is a cinematic auteur, and this movie is on par with his Witness and Dead Poet's Society, which were both beautifully realized films. In all fairness, Picnic at Hanging Rock is probably better than even both of those movies.

The Bad- What in the hell happened to them? I know there are hints here and there, and if you Google the book, you can read a chapter that explains everything that was never revealed in the movie, but damn it, I need to know!

The Downright Horrendous- Good lord, does every group of girls have to have the whiny and annoying fat friend? Someone should have tossed a Twinkie off of the cliff and seen if that would have finally shut her up. Probably not.

The Gory- A minimal amount of carnage and blood, as this is more of an ethereal, psychologically twisted film.

The Naked- None. Very disappointing considering that the movie is about an all girl school. Sigh.

"Shall I get naked? No. I think not!"
Best Line- "Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place." or "Waiting a million years, just for us."

What did we learn?- It's probably best to stay the fuck away from the Australian Outback.

This is a great film. As far as the Horror aspects of the movie go, Picnic at Hanging Rock is a slow-moving, quiet affair, that pulls you in with the promise of receiving the forbidden answers that we somehow know we're never going to get. See this if you can, though beware that it has heavy drama elements and a slower pace.


Picnic at Hanging Rock is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.

This picture is so wrong, on so many different levels.


  1. Good review, I really need to watch this again - got made to watch it in school & i was really not tuned in, only really remember the fat chick screaming a lot.

  2. Yeah this was a good one, although now it feels old and very... different. Haunting stuff.

    And yes,. I think that was the headmistress of the school LOL