Ghosts… of the Civil Dead
|Ghosts... of the Civil Dead|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Hillcoat|
|Produced by||Evan English|
|Written by||Nick Cave
|Music by||Nick Cave
|Edited by||Stewart Young|
|Release date(s)||December 1988 (Europe)|
|Running time||93 min.|
Ghosts... of the Civil Dead is a 1988 Australian drama-suspense film directed by John Hillcoat. The script was written by Hillcoat, Evan English, Gene Conkie, Nick Cave and Hugo Race. It is partly based on the true story of Jack Henry Abbott.
The story is set in Central Industrial Prison, a privately run maximum security prison in the middle of the Australian desert. An outbreak of violence within the prison has resulted in a total lockdown. A committee is appointed by the prison's governors to investigate the cause of the outbreak, but their findings are in stark contrast to the facts behind the riot. As the viewers see, both the prisoners and the guards are slowly and deliberately brutalised, manipulated and provoked into the forthcoming eruption of violence, to justify the construction of a new and more "secure" facility.
The script was based on the book In the Belly of the Beast by Jack Henry Abbott and research done with David Hale, a former prison guard at Marion, Illinois. The film was shot at a disused aircraft factory in Melbourne in October and November.
Origin of title
In Roman law, a person convicted of a crime where the punishment included loss of their legal rights as a person was civiliter mortuus, a person without civil rights, a civil dead.
Reception and accolades
Despite no approval rating as of July 2014, Ghosts ... of the Civil Dead holds a 96% "Want-To-See" score on Rotten Tomatoes.
(1989 Australian Film Institute Awards)
|Best Film||Evan English||Nominated|
|Best Original Screenplay||Nick Cave||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Mike Bishop||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Bogdan Koca||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Stewart Young||Nominated|
|Best Original Music Score||Nick Cave||Nominated|
|Best Sound||Bronwyn Murphy||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Chris Kennedy||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Karen Everett||Nominated|
The spoken line "Welcome to Central Industrial. We are the future" has been sampled by Future Sound of London in their song Central Industrial on their Accelerator album; also sampled by Woob in their song Void, Part One on the various artists album em:t 0094, and by Jam and Spoon in their remix of Moby's Go. Sonic Subjunkies samples various parts of the film in their songs Central Industrial and Central Industrial II: The Lockdown.
- Fuchs, Christian  (2002). Bad Blood. Creation Books
- "Production Survey", Cinema Papers, September 1987 p. 67
- David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 pp. 229-230
- Jillian Burt, "Ghosts... of the Civil Dead", Cinema Papers, March 1988 pp. 8-11
- "The Future Sound of London". s107.net. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- "Woob". s107.net. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- "Moby". s107.net. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- Official website
- Ghosts... of the Civil Dead at the Internet Movie Database
- Ghosts... of the Civil Dead at AllMovie
- Ghosts… of the Civil Dead at Rotten Tomatoes
- Ghosts... of The Civil Dead at the National Film and Sound Archive