A supernatural thriller to be shot on the Gold Coast, The Fear of Darkness is Chris Fitchett’s return to feature filmmaking following a 32-year hiatus after directing Desolation Angels in 1982. Since then, Fitchett has been a full-time senior Bond University lecturer and involved in the film industry in other capacities, first working at Film Victoria and running various film bodies (Fitchett was CEO of the Australian Film Commission), then accumulating producing and scriptwriting/editing credits, most recently as a producer on the 2011 musical comedy A Heartbeat Away (pictured above on set ).
“My debut film Blood Money [the 1980 crime drama starring Bryon Brown] was a financial success but I made a lot of mistakes on the second film [Desolation Angels],” admits the writer-director. “Afterwards I didn’t want to make the same mistakes, so I got into other things and learnt a lot about directing when I wasn’t directing and by reading scripts and seeing what did and didn’t work.”
The Fear of Darkness follows a young psychiatrist (Maeve Dermody, Black Water, Beautiful Kate) and her attempts to locate the missing boyfriend of one of her patients (Penelope Mitchell, Hemlock Grove) who has taken a powerful hallucinogen drug. “I read this article about these students who had taken DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) and they all had completely different experiences,” says Fitchett. “One of them said they’d had an encounter with an alien being that wasn’t extraterrestrial and not benevolent, and I just thought that was a really interesting premise. Because I’d studied psychology, I changed it from a horror premise into a psychological thriller. I just thought the risks that people take by losing control of their rational thought-process was an interesting concept to explore,” he says.
“It’s basically an inspiration on what exists in the dark,” adds producer Mark Overett (Iron Sky). “As children, we’re terrified of the stuff that could be lurking in the dark and as adults we know that there aren’t any mythical monsters anymore but we’re now terrified of the more human kind of monsters. It’s a really good script and [people who have] read it have said they really wished they hadn’t read it late at night!”
Originally selected as one of four projects for Screen Queensland’s Low Budget Feature Film Initiative, The Fear of Darkness has since secured funding from Screen Queensland, with Greenlight Releasing attached as the Australian distributor and Arclight Films looking after international sales. However, it’s no secret that genre films (excluding the Wolf Creek series) have traditionally been a hard sell locally. “We’re going to be the exception,” says Overett confidently “We’ve got a really strong cast [including Mystery Road lead Aaron Pedersen and veteran character actor Damien Garvey, Rake] and fingers crossed we will get the promotion that the film deserves too.”
Shooting on the film commences on the 6th March and will take place at Gold Coast’s Village Roadshow Studios and on location at Bond University and Lake Moogerah.
The Fear of Darkness will be released toward the end of 2014/early 2015.