Things I love: The Silver Stallion

The Silver Stallion. 

The first time I saw it, I was 10 years old, at a slumber party with a couple of my friends. Before the party began, my mom took us all to Blockbuster Video to rent some movies – because staying up all night watching movies and eating junk food is the best part of being a kid. Or a 31 year old. Who’s counting. Anway.

My mom was very adamant about us only watching age appropriate movies – which really sucked when you were trying to be the coolest 10 year old in the room and your mom won’t let you rent Interview with the Vampire. My friends and I decided on a Japanese movie about giant, homicidal dinosaurs rising from the ocean to destroy Tokyo. I think it was called Dinosaur Land or something else equally irrelevant. I remember the cover was a hand drawn image of a platysaurus in the water, with a woman hanging out of its mouth, and Tokyo visible in the background. We are all super pumped.

Mom, however, showed us a movie called The Silver Stallion. And the collective womp womp womp was heard throughout the land. Who wanted to watch a movie about horsies? There were no Brad Pitt Vampires and no people eating dinosaurs and no curse words and no possibility of seeing Brad Pitt’s naked vampire butt. LAME. But mom insisted that we would love it, and we left Blockbuster both really excited and really bummed out.

Once everyone went to bed and we had the TV to ourselves, we put in the lame horse movie to get it over with. After a few minutes of hemming and hawwing and making fun of it, the room got quiet and we were glued to the screen. When it was over, we couldn’t stop chatting about it.

The gist: An Australian movie based on a popular children’s book, made in 1993. The plot is pretty simple: an author living in the bush is writing a story about the life of Thowra, an Australian wild horse, or “brumby”, and his rise to king of the brumbies while constantly outwitting the the Man in Black, who wanted to capture him. The author’s daughter reads along with the story, and falls in love with the wild horse. In a turn of events, the daughter finds out that Thowra is real, and is devastated to hear that the Man in Black has a fail-proof mission to finally capture the wild horse. The author and her daughter wait with baited breath to hear the final fate of Thowra and his reign as king of the brumbies.

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As the author narrates her story, the scenes are acted out by real horses in sequences shot amazingly in the mountains. Here’s a mash up of scenes put to the music from Requiem for a Dream, which kinda fits it perfectly (except there’s no heroin in The Silver Stallion. I mean, not that I know of)

 

It’s a dark, sad children’s story that is beautifully told – there are no silly horse voices or cheese ball animal/human friendship or “everyone is happy and learns a valuable lesson”ending. It makes you think of what separates a human from a villain. All in all, it’s just a good movie. Oh, and it stars a baby Russell Crowe as the wiley Man in Black.

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We put on Dinosaurs Eat People and barely paid attention to it, because it was super lame. There were no beautiful horses running free in the mountains, no dramatic horse fights, no crazy horse chases, no subtly dark story lines, and still no chance of naked Brad Pitt vampire butt – just badly clay animated dinosaurs and badly dubbed English lines and no gorey peple eating scenes. We didn’t even finish the movie before we put Silver Stallion on again.

And thus began the obsession. I convinced my friends to pretend to be the horses in the movie and we would run around the woods making up different Thowra stories. We would watch it whenever we got the chance (I begged my parents to rent it so often that 5 years later, when I started working at Blockbuster, the manager told me on my first day that she remembered me as “the silver stallion girl”), and it became a weird thing that bonded the three of us.

My sister Mary was always horse crazy while we were growing up, and I liked horses, but I was way more into dogs, orcas, tigers, and lions. However, once I watched this magically lame horsie movie, all I could think about were horses. I started tagging along with my dad and my sister to her horse back riding lessons, and became something of a barn rat. “Can I brush your horse?” “Can I walk your horse?” “Can I clean that stall?” “Can I do ANYTHING remotely related to being near a horse?” Eventually, I started taking riding lessons too, and that was it. I was hooked. My sister and I rode competitively and basically lived at the barn for years. And funny enough, we came to own a horse who’s name was Brumbie. Go figured.

I still have a huge fondness for the flick. I own a copy and I dust it off and watch it from time to time.And this morning when I woke up and Joel had already left for work and it was cold and pouring rain, I instantly felt like watching it. So I scoured the internet and vaguely considered trecking out to JB HiFi in the rain to buy it (movie obsession turns me into a driven lunatic bent on success) until I found it on Youtube because it’s so irrelevant that not even Amazon or iTunes will stream it.

From the title card, this movie always takes me back to being a 10 year old. It makes me think of my dream of spending my days riding my horse through the country side and spending my nights pounding out stories on a typewriter as I wear a big woolen sweater – and my vampire Brad Pitt husband brings me coffee. #dreams

My first thought was “wow, I guess I didn’t really achieve what 10 year old Audrey wanted.” But then I thought more about it, and I’m actually pretty close to this dream – I mean, I live in Australia now. And I still write (kinda), and I have a big sweat shirt and a much more handsome, much cooler, non-vampire, sexy man to bring me coffee. But I did think really hard about sending my mom $200 so she can mail me my typewriter. Annnnd I may have looked up how much horse back riding lessons cost around here. Spoiler alert – they’re expensive.

Here’s to nostalgia.  Brb, I’m going out to get a big wool sweater. And maybe a horse colouring book.

 

*fun fact, those same girls and I had another slumber party a few months later and we totally watched Interview with the Vampire. And I got in trouble. #worthit

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