Welcome to Woop Woop

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Welcome to Woop Woop
Theatrical film poster
Directed byStephan Elliott
Screenplay byStephan Elliott
Michael Thomas
Based onThe Dead Heart (novel)
by Douglas Kennedy
Produced byFinola Dwyer
CinematographyMike Molloy
Edited byMartin Walsh
Music byGuy Gross
Distributed byRoadshow Films
Release dates
13 May 1997 (1997-05-13) (Cannes Film Festival)
13 November 1998 (1998-11-13)
Running time
106 minutes (Cannes)
BudgetA$10 million[1]
Box office$527,346

Welcome to Woop Woop is a 1997 Australian comedy film directed by Stephan Elliott and starring Johnathon Schaech and Rod Taylor. The film was based on the novel The Dead Heart by Douglas Kennedy. "Woop Woop" is an Australian colloquialism referring to an inexact location, usually in rural or remote Australia.


Teddy (Johnathon Schaech) is a New York bird smuggler who goes to Australia to replace a flock of escaped birds after a deal goes awry. While there, he has a wild liaison with a quirky, sexually ravenous girl, Angie (Susie Porter), who, after a brief courtship, knocks him unconscious and kidnaps him. When he awakes, he finds himself "married" to her - not legally - and stranded in Woop Woop, a desolate, dilapidated town hidden within a crater-like rock formation in Aboriginal territory. The residents are people who lived there at an asbestos mining camp before the land was handed over to the Aboriginal peoples; following a tragedy in 1979, Woop Woop was abandoned and literally "erased" from the Australian map. Not content with the deal given to them by the mining company (from Fremantle), they opted to return to their old lives in Woop Woop. At first, they repopulated themselves incestuously, which caused wide mental instability. A rule was then enacted ("Rule #3"), preventing residents from sleeping with their relatives. Since then, outsiders like Teddy have been occasionally kidnapped to keep Woop Woop populated.

Their only export is dog food made from road-killed kangaroos. The town is run by Angie's father, Daddy-O (Rod Taylor), in an authoritarian manner, that he disguises as communal (he and the other town elders keep the best luxuries for themselves in secret while doling out only the usual canned pineapple and sub-par tobacco to the others). The only entertainment available to the residents is old Rodgers & Hammerstein films and soundtracks, the latter of which they play constantly. These are presumably leftover from the town's last official contact with the civilized world.

After witnessing another kidnapping, 'Midget,' the local hairdresser, is shot dead by Daddy-O during an attempted escape. Teddy soon realizes he will be trapped in Woop Woop for life unless he finds a way out for himself. Initially, he repairs his VW van, which had been vandalized by the locals, only to have it vandalized again by Daddy-O. In addition, the Australian Cattle Dog that he adopts is shot, and killed by a child, as a part of 'Dog Day.' He befriends a couple of locals, including the scruffy, affable Duffy and Krystal, Angie's sister, who help him confront Daddy-O's iron-fisted reign and arrange an escape plan. Duffy, reprimanded by Daddy-O for breaking 'Rule #3,' nonetheless elects to stay in Woop Woop, while Teddy, Krystal, and Krystal's pet cockatoo escape.



A soundtrack was released by Universal Music Group.

  1. "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" - Cake
  2. "There is Nothin' Like a Dame" - Reel Big Fish
  3. "Timebomb" - Chumbawamba
  4. "I Can't Say No" - Poe
  5. "Welcome to Your Life (Woop, Woop)" - Boy George
  6. "I Got You Babe" - Merril Bainbridge and Shaggy
  7. "Bali Ha'i" - Moodswings and Neneh Cherry
  8. "Dog's Life" - eels
  9. "You'll Never Walk Alone" - Robin S.
  10. "Climb Every Mountain" - Peggy Wood and Junior Vasquez


Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 37% of 19 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 4.8/10.[2]

Elliot's earlier film release, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert had been a Cannes hit in 1994. The uncompleted Welcome to Woop Woop was screened "out of competition" at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival[3] an experience Elliott described as "excruciating".[4]

Australian film critic Michael Adams later included Welcome to Woop Woop on his list of the worst ever Australian films, along with Phantom Gold, The Glenrowan Affair, Houseboat Horror, The Pirate Movie, Les Patterson Saves the World and Pandemonium.[5]

It has become a cult classic in the years following its release, notably loved by RuPaul.[6][7][8]

Box office[edit]

Welcome to Woop Woop grossed $489,725 at the box office in Australia.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood (Bear Manor Media, 2010) p230
  2. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Welcome to Woop Woop". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  4. ^ Fahfangoolah! The despised and indispensable Welcome to Woop Woop by Michael Winkler, Westbourne Books, 2016, p.56
  5. ^ Michael Adams, Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies : a film critic's year-long quest to find the worst movie ever made.New York : Itbooks, 2010. ISBN 978-0-06-180629-2 (p.144)
  6. ^ Free, Erin (18 November 2019). "Rude, Crude And F&*%In' Lewd: The Making Of Welcome To Woop Woop". filmink.com.au. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  7. ^ Luke Buckmaster (19 February 2015). "Gloriously batty love letter to Australia". TheGuardian.
  8. ^ Andrew F.Peirce (9 June 2021). "Stephan Elliott's Magnificent Eccentric Exercise in Outback Bacchanalia Stripped Bare". thecurb.
  9. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

External links[edit]