Mad Bomber in Love (1992)


Australia. 1992.


Director – James Bogle, Screenplay – James Bogle, Martin Brown, George Mannix, Leon Marvell & Peter Rasmussen, Producer – George Mannix, Photography – John Brock, Music – Phil Rigger & Michael Roberts, Special Effects – Blair Maxwell, Production Design – Martin Brown. Production Company – Pinchgut Productions


Craig Pearce (Bernard Lynch), Rachel Szalay (Julia), Alex Morcos (Gunther), Laura Keneally (Marylou), Zachery McKay (Bill), Alan Lovell (Frank Jensen)


Sydney is being terrorised by a mad bomber, although many have come to regard the bomber as a folk hero. Julia meets Bernard Lynch at a party and brings him back to her flat for a one-night stand. In the morning, Bernard decides to move into one of the spare rooms and immediately starts organising the other flatmates. He then reveals to them that he is the bomber. However, Bernard is obsessed with cleanliness. He reacts to the other flatmates’ sloppiness with violence and then makes them all prisoners in the house.

This Australian feature is a rather funny black comedy. For all of about five minutes, it was in danger of developing a cult following. (It never did and a few years later it has been entirely forgotten). The film was literally made on a zero budget where the entire cast and crew having agreed to work for a percentage cuts of the profits. It also claims to be shot in Electronovision – which is just a cheeky euphemism for it having been shot on video and transferred to film.

For such a low budgeted film, Mad Bomber in Love is made with considerable assurance, particularly when it comes to the comedy timing. Craig Pearce (later the co-writer on all of Baz Luhrmann’s earlier films) dominates the film with a witty performance. There are some very funny scenes with him interrogating the flatmates over who used the hallway bulb the most then taking time out to stab one person with a kitchen knife, asphyxiate another with oven cleaner, before insistently returning to the topic of blown bulbs. The film has a very offbeat sense of humour – like the parade of strange roommate applicants and the four flatmates’ comic attempts to escape. There is a bizarre climax in a gas-filled house with Craig Pearce sucking air in blasts from a compressed air tank while Rachel Szalay gets hers from an inflatable rubber toy.

The mad bomber aspect mentioned in the title is not that relevant to the rest of the plot. It gets set aside in favour of what is more of a black comedy about the flatmate from Hell. The bomber aspect is not that well developed – perhaps one of the reasons for this being that the bomber aspect, blowing up buildings, requires more budget than the film has on hand.

Director James Bogle has made two other horror films in Australia:– the Aboriginal curse film Kadaicha (1988) and the wonderfully subtle psychological horror film In the Winter Dark (1999) about mysterious creatures in the Outback, as well as one more film with the non-genre drama Closed for Winter (2009).

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