Well, this is a big one.

The Herald Sun interviewed me a few weeks ago regarding serial killers for their true crime online section. I think Blanche has done an exceptional job at making me sound eloquent.

The article reminds me that when I was younger (just beginning Uni, if I recall) I used to set myself writing tasks over the summer holidays: every day I would have to write a one-page monologue from a famous serial killer’s perspective (John Wayne Gacy, Henry Lee Lucas, John Haig). I began to realise we fetishise serial killers’ killing techniques and quirks (like Gacy’s clown costume), and collate the numbers of their victims like collectors’ cards. Thinking about the deaths of innocents in such a necessarily detached manner made me so depressed I had to stop writing — and even reading — about them for quite some time. But I guess it was all good grounding for Origin.



Wolf Creek writer Aaron Sterns believes we’re right to fear the presence of outback killers like the fictional Mick Taylor

Blanche Clark, The Herald Sun – Law and Order: True Crime Scene

February 18, 2014

Author Aaron Sterns, the Wolf Creek 2 co-writer believes we have a right to fear the unkn
Author Aaron Sterns – the Wolf Creek 2 co-writer believes we have a right to fear the unknown in the outback. Picture: Steve Tanner. Source: News Limited


Wolf Creek 2 co-writer and author Aaron Sterns believes the Australian Outback could be home to more serial killers like Ivan Milat.

“This is one of the scary things, I think; we only hear these stories if a serial killer is caught or the body is found,” the Melbourne-based writer told the Herald Sun.

“Look at how big Australia is. How do you find a body? That’s what Wolf Creek taps into.”

He cites British backpacker Peter Falconio’s disappearance in 2001 as a case in point.

Truck driver Bradley Murdoch was convicted of Falconio’s murder and is still in jail, but Falconio’s body has never been found.

Sterns studied Australia and America’s most notorious serial killers to help film director Greg McLean create Wolf Creek’s terrifying and brutal predator Mick Taylor.

“When I was doing the research for this novel, I realised you could be made into a serial killer,” Sterns says.

“There is a differentiation between what’s called a psychopath and what’s called a sociopath. Both don’t feel empathy and both don’t respect society’s laws, but the psychopath is apparently someone who is born with that condition, whereas a sociopath is potentially a construct of the environment.”

In the prequel novel Wolf Creek: Origin, released to coincide with the opening of Wolf Creek 2 in Australia on February 20, Taylor goes from a scrawny boy who witnesses the grisly death of his sister and flees his abusive father to an angry, emotionally detached jackaroo who kills anyone who goads him.

John Jarratt As Mick Taylor taps into our greatest fears of the bush. Picture: Supplied
John Jarratt as Mick Taylor taps into our greatest fears of the bush. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied


“One of the things I brought to this novel was the idea: was Mick Taylor inherently evil or was he a product of the environment?” Sterns says.  “I hope I leave it up to the reader to decide.”

The fan of Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho attributes his obsession with serial killers to witnessing domestic violence as a stepchild and trying to understand what causes that behaviour.

He was deeply affected by the death of US/Israeli journalist Daniel Pearl, who was killed in 2002 by terrorists in Pakistan.

“He was beheaded live and we saw the moment he went from a live person struggling to nothing, to this nothingness,” Sterns says.

“There’s this scene in Wolf Creek 2 which is that basically, because I wanted people to feel that moment when a character we loved became nothing in front of our eyes.”

He says horror, both in literature and film, has more power than people realise.

“Good horror can affect you. It has a lasting impact. Terror and fear are momentary sensations that people can get excited by, but horror by definition is a lasting dread, and good horror changes you for life.”

The former lecturer in Gothic and subversive fiction says Wolf Creek explores one of the fundamental aspects of being Australian — the fear of the bush and Outback.

And Wolf Creek 2 might not be the last of the fictional serial killer.

“Mick is still out there,” he says.


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