After books by Top Gear hosts and vampires-as-a-metaphor-for-sex, the most populargenre in publishing today must be classic literature/horror mashups. The best seller lists and remainder bins are swollen with titles like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Android Karenina and Lady Chatterley’s Slayer. Okay, that last one isn’t available but I guarantee someone is pitching it to Random House right now. If classic European tales can be revived with a dash of horror, then why not Australian literature? Here are six scary twists on popular Aussie stories.
Once a Zombie Swagman: The suicidal swagman from our unofficial national anthem rises from the billabong and sets out eat all three troopers.
Lockie Leonard Human Sacrifice: Tim Winton’s loveable grommet is dealing with all sorts of pressures at home and at school. Not only are his mum and dad fighting again, but the beautiful new girl at school wants to drain his blood as an offering to the cult leader Erik Von Grimm. And the school social is only 10 days away!
The Four Horsemen from Snowy River: The colt from Old Regret has got away again but Clancy is unavailable as he is representing Australia at the Olympic Games in Paris. Fortunately for the high country stockmen, help is at hand in the form of four mysterious riders on pale horses. Unfortunately, their help will come at a terrible price.
Snugglepot and Cthulu: The big bad Banksia men are running amok in the bush and causing young Snugglepot lots of trouble. Without her friend Little Ragged Blossom to protect her, Snugglepot turns to the Demon God Cthulu, who destroys the Banskia men in a savage attack which leave the bush as nothing more than a smoking crater and ushers forth a thousand years of darkness.
Dot and the Werewolf: A 15-year-old girl named Dot is lost in the outback after chasing a rabbit into the bush and losing sight of the track. She is befriended by a hunky topless farm boy who helps her find her way home. Spoiler alert: He’s a werewolf.
Picnic at Hanging Rock: In 1900, a class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion to the isolated Hanging Rock, deep in the Australian bush. This is actually the same plot is the original but I am hoping the name is sufficiently ghoulish to cash in on the current lust for horror.