Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Long Weekend (1978)
Available from Synapse Films | Review by D.A. Waltz

LONG WEEKEND gives us the tale of Peter and Marcia and a little camping trip that Peter has devised as a way to try and save a marriage that has been dead for quite some time. Like trying to deliver CPR to a corpse, really. It's a lot of work with zero results. This couple has some severe baggage on their hands.

We've got infidelity, abortion and a seething hatred that literally leaps from the screen when these two are together. And they're together a lot because there are really no other actors in this film. Sure, there are a couple of lines from no names in the film, but it's really about these two and how they try to cope with a disastrous relationship. Unfortunately, these two have externalized their rage so much that it affects the environment. The local fauna have no intentions of putting up with this pair and their crap so; it doesn't take long before the animals attack. Peter gets attacked by a harpy eagle and it escalates from there. We get bird attacks, crab attacks, spider attacks. Hell, there are even dead manatee attacks. Don't ask you'll just have to watch the movie. I even caught an attack on a microscopic level. When Marcia puts out a chicken to thaw it goes rotten way too soon. Even the bacteria are after these two and who can blame them? Neither Peter nor Marcia has any sort of closeness to nature. They just plow over or shoot anything that they feel like.

Written by Everett De Roche who gave us one of my favorite movies, ROAD GAMES, gives us a convincing portrait of two people that are on a path of self destruction and wraps it up in a 'when animals attack' scenario that works really well without being too tongue in cheek. The two leads are very believable and it's interesting to note that Briony Behets, who plays Marcia has a genuine chameleon ability inherent in the film. When she is clothed she comes across as very haggard and careworn. There's the hint of a nice figure, but that's about it. Then when she does disrobe she becomes this bronzed goddess who exudes a sexual heat that is quite surprising.

Now, for the weird part. I had heard of this film a little while ago, but hadn't seen it until I was sent the disc by our erstwhile editor. I watched the entire thing, liked what I saw and set out to write the review in front of you. It was then that I realized that this wasn't a new movie. I thought it was a recent film, not something from the '70's. Looking back I realize that it explained some of the clothing, but it still came across as a vibrant and relevant story today. Almost a little ahead of it's time in its awareness of the environment.

The DVD has a beautiful, anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer along with an interesting audio commentary by producer Richard Brennan and Cinematographer Monton. NO chance of getting the director onboard for this since he's been dead since 1992. There's a still gallery with an audio interview with star John Hargreaves. Only slightly creepy since Mr. Hargreaves passed away from AIDS back in '96. We get a theatrical trailer and that's about it. Probably not a lot that Synapse Films could do with the director and male star being gone, but it seems a shame to exclude Ms. Behets who contributed so much to the film. She's still quite active in Australian television and could have done something to contribute to the disc.

LONG WEEKEND is proof positive that Synapse Films will not rest until they have wrested all of our money from our grubby little hands.

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