Is the movie “Wolf Creek” based on a true Story?

In 2005, director Greg McLean made a huge splash at the box office with his bone-chillingly “true story” horror film Wolf Creek. The direction and cinematography of the movie were considered revolutionary at that time. 

The flick was advertised as “inspired by true events.” Over the years, the original film has gained cult status among slasher genre fans. 

It has since been turned into a trilogy, with Wolf Creek 2 released in 2013 and Wolf Creek 3 eyeing a debut in early 2022.

Basic Plot Of “Wolf Creek”

The central character of Wolf Creek is Mick Taylor, played by Mick Dundee. It opens with heart-wrenching statistics of missing people in Australia. The horror flick is set in 1999, where tourists Kirsty Earl, Liz Hunter, and Ben Mitchell are backpacking in Western Australia. 

On one fine day, their car breaks down, and they get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Soon, Mick arrives at the spot and offers them help. The tourists decide to trust this seemingly good-natured man and go with him to his camp. After a few drinks and fun banter, they all go to sleep.

When Liz wakes up the next morning, she finds herself fully tied up.

Somehow, she manages to free herself, only to witness Mick torturing Kristy and sexually assaulting her. 

To help her, Liz shoots their abductor, thinking the problem is solved.

However, Mick reappears when the girls try to run away and capture them both.

He tortures Liz by cutting off her fingers and severing her spinal cord. While putting her through hell, the sadist killer tells her that these punishments were practiced in the Vietnam war.

Ben, the only male in the group, escapes successfully and gets rescued by Swedish travelers. 

Initially, he is accused of killing the girls but is ultimately acquitted due to a lack of evidence. 

Undoubtedly one of the scariest endings for any serial killer-based movie, Mick Taylor walks freely in the last scene.

McLean’s Inspiration For Mick Taylor

McLean had a very clear vision about showing Australian psychopathic murders. 

In an interview, he said he wanted to portrait the country’s dark side, which the world got to know through the “backpacker murders.”

The writer/director first based Mick’s character on a “politically incorrect tour guide” that he met somewhere. Wolf Creek’s script was almost done when incidents involving vile serial killers started making headlines.

The names of the murderers were Ivan Milat and Bradley Murdoch.

After hearing all the gory details of the true crimes, Greg famously said that the two Australians were” psychopaths.” To prove his point, he decided to incorporate the sadistic ways of the truly evil characters into his movie. This way, he would be able to advertise his movie as “inspired by true events.” 

Identities of the Real Serial Killers

After the Australian horror film was released, Greg admitted that his villain was indeed a combination of the two most feared killers in Australia, Ivan, and Bradley. 

Ivan Milat

The backdrop of Wolf Creek’s story can almost be mistaken for a biography of Ivan Milat.

Ivan’s mother was a local, and his father was Croatian. He was their fourth child and had thirteen siblings. 

Right from the beginning, his behavior was extremely alarming. From his loner behavior to multiple trips to juvenile detention in his teens, everything was a foreshadow of the evil that he would unleash someday. 

He kept getting into trouble throughout his twenties due to trespassing and stealing. In 1971, he kidnapped his first two victims, two 18-year-old girls. Milat raped one of them. 

His lawyer’s defense was strong, and he got out without punishment.

In the early 1990s, reports of multiple backpackers gone missing started circulating. 

In 1989, it was a teenage couple. In 1991, a 21-year-old German woman never returned home. In 1992, two more women disappeared.

The police kept on finding bodies in Belanglo State Forest from 1992 to 1993. The corpses displayed clear signs of torture the victims must have endured during their last few days. 

There was no set pattern of an established killing routine. Some were stabbed, while others were shot. Women’s bodies displayed signs of sexual assault. 

The movie does not shy away from showing the disturbing activities that the killer performed before killing his victims, such as paralyzing them and cutting their fingers.

In November 1993, Milat tried the same routine on a backpacker named Paul Onions, but the victim successfully escaped. Initially, Paul thought he was getting robbed. 

After this, Ivan came under suspicion for multiple murders. The thing that gave him away was his absence from work at the specific times of the killings. 

A co-worker’s girlfriend also reported his suspicious behavior. When Ivan got arrested, Paul Onions identified him as the attacker, and that testimony gave police their first breakthrough.

The cops searched his house and found numerous items that belonged to the seven backpackers he killed. 

Milat tried to get out by throwing his brother under the bus, but no one believed him. This time he got booked for a life sentence. Seven, to be precise. He was locked up in the maximum-security prison Goulburn Correctional Centre. 

After going to prison, Milat attempted many stunts to get himself out. One of them was cutting his finger with a plastic knife. 

It later came to light that he had been married in the 80s. That marriage ended due to domestic violence accusations. 

On 27th October 2019, Ivan died due to terminal esophagus and stomach cancer. Even on his deathbed, he didn’t confess to the backpacker murders.

Bradley John Murdoch

The second inspiration behind Greg’s antagonist was another feared serial killer: Bradley Murdoch. A drug addict and white supremacist, Murdoch was captured after he unsuccessfully attacked a couple, and the man escaped. 

British tourist Peter Falconio identified Bradley after his arrest, making the cops’ work easy. 

Before the incident, Murdoch had once been charged with multiple counts of rape and abduction. He was, however, acquitted for that case in which he physically abused a twelve-year-old girl and her mother. 

Murdoch was later connected to it when police discovered the similarities between Peter’s torture and that of the twelve-year-old girl.

In late 2005, he was convicted of the murder of Peter Falconio’s girlfriend, Joanne Lees. 

To this day, Murdoch has not commented on the whereabouts of her body or confessed to the murders described above. 

This might be why his case or that of Ivan Milat is still shrouded in mystery for many, serving as inspiration for movies like Wolf Creek.