Mad Bomber in Love

(James Bogle, Australia, 1992)


Just recently, at odd time slots on the television, sleuths on the track of rarely seen Australian films have found some beauties – bizarre little numbers with titles such as Rock and Roll Cowboys (1987), The Long Line (1992) and I've Come About the Suicide (1987). These movies are sometimes well mounted, modestly inventive and fairly watchable. But generally they deserve to be exactly where they are, in a televisual twilight zone.

Mad Bomber in Love, first released in 1992, is another of these obscure, local films. It comes with a mildly heroic no-budget buzz, since producer George Mannix and director James Bogle shot it quickly on video, utilising friends, a single central location and elementary technical effects.

The script has a certain wayward momentum. Bomber Bernard (Craig Pearce), an urban anarchist, moves into an inner-city share house and immediately woos the impressionable Julia (Rachel Szalay). Bernard's true psychosis quickly becomes apparent, however, when he begins tying up the residents, blocking all exits, and murdering any stray visitors.

The pitch of the film swings wildly between schlock horror, Dead Calm-style thriller, and shambling camp comedy. Some of the better jokes, centring on Bernard's anal-compulsive domestic habits, anticipate the humour in John Waters' Serial Mom (1994). While the central actors play their two-dimensional parts pretty straight, the walk-on guest celebrities (including Paul Chubb and Craig McLachlan) ham like crazy.

Mad Bomber in Love is a curiosity item. Some viewers will duly acknowledge its levels of proficiency, and others will admire its sheer pluck. But why anyone would choose to pay and see it in a cinema is quite beyond me.

© Adrian Martin April 1995

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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