Late one night in the streets of suburban Sydney, the typically laidback Mac arrives at Vicky’s front door, wracked with paranoia over an irrational childhood fear. When he disappears back into the night, Vicky finds her friend’s nightmares bleeding into reality.

  • Patrick Leslie Gilchrist Taylor
  • Patrick Leslie Gilchrist Taylor
  • Lachlan Horder
  • Antonia Korn
    Key Cast
  • Charlie Barnett
    Key Cast
  • Jaro Murany
    Key Cast
    "Man in Black"
  • Sam Grammer
  • Sinclair Suhood
    Director of Photography
  • Lana Lusina
    Sound Recordist
  • Jay Staples
    Colour Grading
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Sydney
Director Biography - Patrick Leslie Gilchrist Taylor

Patrick Taylor is an emerging, Sydney-based writer/director. Fiercely literary-minded, he has written short stories and screenplays from a young age, with an especially strong interest in gothic horror and the grotesque. He completed the Master of Moving Image degree at the University of Sydney, for which Spook was his final project; was selected for the AWG First Break program; and currently works at Blue Post as an online edit assistant. He continues to develop new stories for future screenplays, and can usually be found poring over tomes of forgotten lore.

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Director Statement

At the age of five, in the mid 2000’s, I found something that both frightened and thrilled me: a little shelf in a back corner of the school library, home to a row of books about all things paranormal. Aliens, ghosts, cryptids, all with garish cover art, a window into a secret world. Maybe it was irresponsible to leave these out in a primary school library. Regardless, that was my first introduction to horror.

Those books were the germ that Spook grew from. But that shelf sent me on many different horror-related tangents before Spook came to life. It led me to a fixation on Victorian gothic storytelling; then, a fascination with the proto-noir ‘40s thrillers of Val Lewton. These seemed like dark mirrors of Sydney, my home for all my life: both cozy and unfriendly, attractive and repugnant.

Sydney was shaped by a centuries-old settler mindset, which led architects to pluck their floor plans for British townhouses and build them, unaltered, in unceded colonial territory. These buildings are all over the suburb of Newtown where we shot, giving that part of the city an anachronistic, gothic atmosphere. Though some are a century old, they’re still part of the fabric of modern Sydney.

It’s easy to look back on older horror as an unrecognisable portrait of the past, anchored in fears we’ve since outgrown. But in reality, our fears are just as ridiculous, just as much products of our time. Following this theme, the monster in Spook had to be a more modern boogeyman, a phantom of the not-so-distant past - somehow, the “men in black” I first met in those quaint paranormal books just made sense.

As a kid, horror both excited and terrified me. I felt the same way about directing this short. Asking for the faith of a talented cast and crew; roaming the streets of Newtown at midnight for the darkest possible laneway; making my friends put their cat in a cat hotel so we could shoot overnight in their sharehouse; all this for the sake of a strange little story I believed in.

Fortunately, not only did everybody really work smoothly together; I was also amazed by how much they enjoyed and believed the story themselves. Together, we found the same eerie wavelength. I’ll remember our Vicky and Mac waiting to hear “cut”, the midnight ambience of Newtown filling the silence, for a long time. I really believe we translated that feeling through to the film, and made that rare thing I’ve been chasing my whole life: something that scares you as much as it pulls you in.