Celia (1989 film)

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video cover
Directed byAnn Turner
Produced byGordon Glenn
Timothy White
Written byAnn Turner
Music byChris Neal
CinematographyGeoffrey Simpson
Edited byKen Sallows
Distributed byTrylon Video (USA)
Aniplex (Japan)
Release date
Germany 5 October 1989
United States 19 March 1990
Japan Un-Released
Running time
103 minutes
BudgetA$1.4 million[1]
Box officeA$23,336 (Australia)
¥ 32,255 (Japan)

Celia (also known as Celia: Child of Terror) is a 1989 Australian horror drama film written and directed by Ann Turner. The film centers on the title character, whose family becomes caught up in the midst of the 1950s Red Scare, with their responses leading to tragic consequences.


In suburban Melbourne in the 1950s, amidst the Red Scare and a rabbit plague, Celia (Rebecca Smart) is a troubled nine-year-old caught up in these events, as well as family crises, and whose response to them eventually leads to tragic consequences.



Ann Turner was a graduate of Swinburne who had worked at Film Victoria and the Australian Film Commission as a consultant. She was inspired to write the film by an article in the paper about the Bolte government's rabbit muster in the 1950s.[2][3]

The script was written in 1984 when it won the AWGIE for Best Unproduced Screenplay.[4]


Celia grossed $23,336 and ¥ 32,255 at the box office in Australia and Japan.[5]

Home media[edit]

Celia was released on DVD by Second Run on March 30, 2009. It was later released by Scorpion Records on February 26, 2013.[6]


Jonathan Rosenbaum from Chicago Reader praised Smart's performance, and Turner's passion for the project, while stating that the film's storytelling "isn't as streamlined as one might wish".[7] Janet Maslin of The New York Times offered similar praise towards Smart's performance, as well as Turner's slow building of tension. Maslin however, criticized the last third as "going too far".[8] Brett Gallman from Oh the Horror gave the film a positive review, writing, "Certainly a unique experience, Celia is that rare film that captures childhood anxiety and highlights its very literal horrors by subtly accentuating its more figurative ones."[9] Chris Neilson from DVD Talk awarded the film 4 out of 5 stars, praising the film's acting, and called it "a low-budget forerunner of Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth capturing the shift from childhood fantasy to stark adult reality".[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Karl Quinn, "Celia", Australia Film 1978-1994, Oxford Uni Press 1993 p269
  2. ^ Ron Burnett, "Take the bunny and run: Memories of childhood and Ann Turner's Celia", Cinema Papers, March 1989 p6-10
  3. ^ "Interview with Ann Turner", Signis, 16 January 1998 Archived 9 December 2012 at Archive.today accessed 21 November 2012
  4. ^ David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p368-369
  5. ^ "Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Celia (1989) - Ann Turner". Allmovie.com. Allmovie. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  7. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "Celia". ChicagoReader.com. Jonathan Rosenbaum. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet. "Reviews/Film Festival; A Child's Response to the Tyranny of Grown-Ups - The New York Times". NYTimes.com. Janet Maslin. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  9. ^ Gallman, Brett. "Horror Reviews - Celia (1989)". Oh the Horror.com. Brett Gallman. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  10. ^ Neilson, Chris. "Celia : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". DVD Talk.com. Chris Neilson. Retrieved 11 May 2019.

External links[edit]

Celia at the National Film and Sound Archive