Stone (4 stars)


(18) 103min

Sandy Harbutt’s much loved 1974 Australian exploitation flick is released in the UK for the first time on DVD in this two disc special edition.

Recently eulogised in Mark Hartley’s excellent documentary Not Quite Hollywood, Harbutt’s unique, odd, clunky but defiantly cult thriller about a young cop’s deep cover immersion into nihilistic biker gang the Gravediggers made up of Satan worshipping military veterans really needs to be seen to be believed. It’s easy to see why it took eight years, a re-edit and extensive lobbying from Harbutt (who is yet to make another film) to get Stone distributed outside Australia. With ample nudity, plentiful violence, convincing stunts, terrible acting (from amateurs and professionals) and even worse dialogue, Stone is a genuine Oz counterculture curio which signalled the imminent arrival of the Mad Max phenomena.

The second disc extras, however, are a joy. Richard Kuipers’ fascinating and long documentary about Stone’s place in Australian society puts things in perspective. 1974 TV documentary The Making of Stone, makeup tests and the director’s production snaps are also included. Recommended.

(Severin Pictures DVD retail)

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