Australian cinema’s most sensational case study of a film that went bizarrely off the rails is also one of its least well known. There will never be another film quite like writer/director Bert Deling’s once-lost racy 1975 drama Pure Shit – and nor could the strange circumstances that beset its production and release ever be repeated.
Set during a debaucherous narcotic-fuelled weekend in Melbourne the film follows a bunch of hardcore miscreants played by actors who on several occasions actually consumed the on-screen drugs – including injecting real heroin. This established Pure Shit’s reputation as a film by and about junkies – hardly the most reliable kind of employee and thus chaos ensued.
During filming one score-hungry cast member left the set to obtain drugs by robbing a pharmacy in a Gene Simmons mask. The man behind the counter responded by having a heart attack and the director admitted several years later literally dropped dead.
The film’s first public screening at Melbourne’s Playbox Theatre in 1976 was raided by the vice squad.