Horror’s Icons: Mick Taylor“Welcome to Australia, cocksucker!”
Two British tourists and a friend from Sydney are backpacking across Australia in 1999. They decide to explore a spot called Wolf Creek National Park, which has a giant crater in it. When they return to their car, they discover that it won’t start and are stranded in the Australian Outback. Just as they think they will be stranded out there, an old truck pulls up and out steps an older man named Mick Taylor. He offers to help them out, but actually drugs them and takes them hostage. When they wake up, they realize they are all tied up and are captives of the madman.
This is just the beginning of Wolf Creek, the 2005 Australian horror film by director Greg McLean. The film continues with the three friends trying to escape, but to no avail. Liz and Kristy, the two Brits, are being held at Mick’s hideout. Liz does manage to escape but hears Kristy’s screams as Mick tortures her. She distracts Mick and rescues Kristy. And when Mick returns and tries to stop them, Liz seemingly kills him when she shoots him in the neck. But he manages to chase them down for a while as they drive off.
However, they wreck the vehicle they were in and return to the hideout to get another vehicle. Leaving Kristy outside the hideout, Liz ventures in and finds piles and piles of other traveler’s belongings and realizes that Mick has been doing this to other tourists for a long time. She quickly jumps into a car and tries to escape but Mick was in the backseat and stabs her and severs her spine. He then questions her about Kristy’s whereabouts but doesn’t learn anything from her. She is left to die as he then goes after Kristy.
Kristy had made it to a highway by this point and stops a car for help. The man gets out to help the hysterical Kristy but is shot in the head by Mick. He then chases Kristy down and eventually shoots her in the head as well. All that is left now is Ben, who we now find out is in an old mining shaft, hung on a crucifix. He manages to escape and takes off into the Australian Outback. He is rightfully hysterical after the events that took place and is eventually found in the desert by two other tourists who take him to a hospital. The film then finishes up with Mick Taylor, walking around the desert with his rifle in hand, waiting for his next chance to kill.
Down Under…AgainEight years later, in 2013, everybody’s favorite Australian psycho returned in Wolf Creek 2. Although it took a while, Mick Taylor was every bit as crazy as he once was and the movie didn’t disappoint. And all it took was a speeding ticket to get Mick back to his old tricks.
The movie started with two patrol officers sitting on the side of the road waiting for the right moment to fill their ticket quota. When Mick Taylor passes and is taunted and unfairly given a ticket, he deals with the cops in his own way by shooting one with his rifle and then stabbing the other. He finishes this off by blowing up their car and then heading off on the highway.
But Mick’s murderous ways are not finished yet as he then runs across two German tourists, Rutger and Katarina. He stabs Rutger and attempts to rape Katarina when Rutger has one last gasp to stop him. Mick decapitates Rutger and goes after Katarina but she runs away. She runs into an English tourist named Paul who helps her as Mick continues to give chase. Mick takes a shot at Paul and he ducks, but the bullet hits Katarina and kills her.
Mick continues to chase Paul until he knocks Paul’s car off a cliff and seemingly kills him. But Paul escapes and makes his way to the home of an older couple who take him in and try to protect him. But when Mick realizes Paul is still alive, he tracks him down, kills the older couple and takes Paul hostage.Paul wakes up to find himself tied up in Mick’s hideaway. He tries to reason with Mick and Mick offers him a chance to leave by quizzing him on Australian history. However, if he gets an answer wrong, he losses a finger. They play this horrific quiz and Paul, desperate to escape, manages to free himself, only to be caught once again. When he awakens again, he is lying in a town and is accused of murdering numerous tourists, despite telling the authorities about Mick Taylor. He is deported back to England and sent to a hospital, while Mick Taylor continues to roam around the Australian Outback.
The Man Who Made Mick Taylor
The basis for the antagonist in Wolf Creek is based on reality. The movies are loosely based on the real life murders of tourists in the 1990’s and again in 2001. But the character of Mick Taylor was created for the films and brought to life by veteran actor John Jarratt.
While most American film lovers may not have heard of Jarratt, he is a well-known actor “down under” who has been acting since 1975. He starred in numerous movies until he admitted himself into a rehabilitation clinic after realizing he had a drinking problem that needed attention.
After that, he was in numerous television shows, but didn’t return to the movies until he got the role of Mick Taylor in the 2005 film. In 2007, he also starred in director Greg McLean’s other Australian horror film Rogue. He kept busy in the following years and even started his own film production company. He also kept acting with a small role in 2012’s Django Unchained and returning to the role of Mick Taylor in the 2013 sequel.The 63-year-old Jarratt may not have the filmography of most stars, but he is the reason that Mick Taylor is a favorite among horror fans. He brought charisma and intensity to a role that is a pretty typical one. Almost any actor can play a homicidal maniac, but few can do it like Jarratt did. I think it is pretty safe to say that without Jarratt’s performance in this movie, it may be viewed as just another serial killer movie.
And although the film series may be over, there is at least one more chance of seeing Jarratt’s Mick Taylor. McLean and Jarratt are both currently working on a Wolf Creek TV series. This will be great for fans of the film’s fans as the only thing I have read so far is that the series will continue to follow Mick Taylor’s carnage through the country. But the bad news is that it is scheduled to be released in Australia. I just hope we get the chance to get it here in the United States as well!
Daryl Karpinski Jr.