Origin: Wolf Creek Book 1
Author: Aaron Sterns and Greg Mclean
WOLF CREEK was a film that certainly took off with the horror genre, and it gained a worldwide audience. It did for the outback what JAWS did for the water, all thanks to the sick and sadistic Mick Taylor (played by John Jarratt). It has been a few years since the film came out, and a sequel is ready to hit our screens very soon. However the legend of Mick isn’t just limited to the film medium, his story is now getting told in book form. Rather than continue the story, here we have a prequel in ORIGIN (title may give that away), where Greg Mclean (writer/director of WOLF CREEK) and Aaron Sterns (co-writer of WOLF CREEK 2) explore Mick’s beginnings. Which then leads us to ask, do we want to know more about Mick Taylor? Yes, yes you do!
ORIGIN explores Mick Taylor through his early 20’s, with flashbacks to his childhood. But not only that, it wants to test the readers as well. Is he this way due to nature or nurture and in truth, the reader decides this. The Outback is a harsh environment to live in, it can certainly turn anyone mad under circumstances beyond their control. Mick’s own father wasn’t exactly a nice bloke, a combination that proves at least for Mick not to be in his favour. Working at first as a farm hand and then a dogger, Mick learns about his strange taste for blood and that he isn’t alone in this in the Outback.
Mick is very much a representation of fear, the fear of the vast Outback, fear of a stranger, fear of what happens living alone, and so forth. He is the great Australian boogeyman, and unlike other boogeymen, there is a realism to him, if you didn’t know he killed, you’d swear he was just a regular Aussie bloke. The book doesn’t aim to give us everything possible about Mick, he still remains an enigma. It offers an understanding of his up bringing, what he has gone through and what led him to kill. It is very well written, Aaron Sterns has a very great style here, and his own ideas for Mick, which work very well. The research he would have done is apparent, the descriptions of the Outback and life out there feel very genuine. Mick is not much different than what has been seen on screen, he’s just younger and not as experienced with life.
No doubt this would not have been an easy book to write, tapping into a darkness, like what lives within Mick. In turn if you can’t handle horror or psychologically disturbing issues, than this is a difficult book to process. It made me wince a few times, especially a specific part involving a calf. But this isn’t about gore, it really is psychological, about the mind of Mick and his surroundings. Rather than just have this man go around and butcher a bunch of people, it explores the why and how he feels deep inside about people, life and death. In a good way it is surprising and very much welcome. Mclean and Sterns have looked beyond the boogeyman, and given us a human being. He no longer is a Jason or Freddy, he’s very real.
This is a very well written and paced book, it reveals certain things little by little and does keep the reader guessing. For fans, this is definitely a must read and a great prelude to the original film and upcoming sequel. There is a great amount of foreshadowing that fans will certainly appreciate.