Welcome To Woop-Woop

Director Stephan Elliott hit it big with the visually arresting, incessantly wacky The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert—the story of a busload of drag queens roaming the Australian wilderness—but that bizarre ride through the Outback only hints at the wild weirdness captured in his new Welcome To Woop-Woop. Based loosely on the novel Dead Heart, Woop-Woop is a surprisingly dark film, littered with lingering images of death, like The Hills Have Eyes masquerading as a silly comedy. Johnathon Schaech plays a back-alley bird dealer who travels to Australia to track down a flock of parrots but is waylaid by a scheming nymphomaniac, played by the energetic Susie Porter. Drugged and kidnapped, Schaech wakes up in the town of Woop-Woop, a communal compound well off the beaten path of both civilization and sanity. Informed that he and Porter are now wed, and that he can never leave Woop-Woop under penalty of death, Schaech must adapt to Woop-Woop's eccentric ways while scheming to return to the real world. Welcome To Woop-Woop constantly teeters on the edge of poor taste, and that's what makes it so much wicked fun: The town of Woop-Woop supports itself by grinding up kangaroos for dog food, and gathers each night to be indoctrinated with Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals. One denizen who likens himself the spitting image of Neil Diamond covertly sleeps with his cousin. A hippie pharmacist prescribes a variety of narcotics and hallucinogens for every and any ailment. Welcome To Woop-Woop is one of the strangest movies ever made, appropriately decked out with oddball details like houses built of beer cans, and befitted with one of the most ridiculous endings in recent memory. As with Priscilla, the antipodean landscape glows with a beautiful, bright golden hue, and Elliott has cast his film with the bastard offspring of George Miller's post-apocalyptic rogues. Woop-Woop may be oppressively strange at times, but it's a nice change of pace from the sense and sensibility of most Hollywood spectacles.

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