Friday, December 28, 2012

Fogbrook Thing, The (1985)

... aka: Berko Brothers, The

Directed by:
Mark Osborn

In 1965, a busload of boy scouts of various ages and their chaperone arrive deep in the Victorian brush of Fogbrook for a camping trip. 280 miles from the nearest town, the scouts set up their tents, raise their flag and, later that night, share ghost stories around a campfire. One of the older scouts tells the "true story" about The Berko Brothers ("berko" is Aussie slang for "berserk") to the younger ones in an attempt to scare them. According to the legend, a pair of Italian brothers crashed their plane near the area years ago. One of the brothers' legs were horribly mangled in the crash, forcing the other to piggyback his sibling across the dangerous terrain. Because the brother who could walk spent so much time carrying his crippled brother around on his back, the two managed to fuse together into one mass of two heads and four arms. And they both went crazy in the process. Visitors to the area have even reported seeing the brothers in the area lurking around in the brush. Some even claim they've seen them warming themselves by their fire late at night...

This 22-minute short is quite well done and manages to brilliantly capture the impact a good scary campfire tale can have on an impressionable young mind. The director and cinematographer do superb jobs setting up an eerie atmosphere and really make the most of the thick forest surrounding the camp; turning it into a sinister place indeed, and compounding that with scenes in the tents late at night, with shadows of tree branches swaying in the wind reflected inside and a bunch of young and scared boys lying awake in silence just waiting for the mangled brothers to make an appearance... The ending is a tad pat after such a great build up, but this is precisely the type of film that would make a great segue for younger viewers to start getting into the genre.

There were many reports of people viewing this Aussie production before it actually materialized online. In some theaters in both Australia and the UK, it was shown before Space Camp (1986). It also may have been a bonus feature on some video releases in the 1980s. The short finally turned up because it was featured on the Australian children's program Kaboodle, which was eventually released on a DVD box set. You can now view it on Youtube.



Anonymous said...

I saw The Berko Brothers when I was a kid on a Betacord copy of Space Camp from my local video store. It scared the hell out of me and, I think, ruined camps for me for the rest of my childhood years! I forgot all about it 'til just now. Thanks for sharing your review.. Now, to get the courage to rewatch it as an adult.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

You're very welcome. Run on over to Youtube and take a look. There's a good copy of it on there.

Anonymous said...

Dude, i've been trying to track this down for years. Have not been able to find reference to it anywhere to my great frustration. From memory it played after the end credits of a VHS copy of Space Camp that i rented. No explanation, no nothing: credits end and then suddenly this bizarre short film starts (at least that's how i remember it). Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for this for years, it really got under my skin way back as a boy. Thanks!

Vishdish said...

Ive been wanting to track this down too, and suddenly I remembered the berko brothers and was able to find it on you tube. All I remember was that it played before or after a video that we rented when I was young.

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