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Russell Mulcahy (born 23 June 1953 in Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian film director.[1][2] Mulcahy's work is recognisable by the use of fast cuts, tracking shots and use of glowing lights, neo-noir lighting, windblown drapery, and fans. He was one of the most prominent music video directors of the 1980s and he has also worked in television since the early 1990s.

Russell Mulcahy
Born (1953-06-23) 23 June 1953 (age 66)
ResidenceSydney, New South Wales
EducationCorrimal High School
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter


Music videosEdit

Mulcahy's career began as a film editor for Australia's Seven Network. It was here that he began making his first music videos in the early 1970s, after he was approached by the producer of a Seven pop show and asked to film some original footage and compile a music video (then known as a "film clip") to accompany the Harry Nilsson hit "Everybody's Talkin'" (for which no original video was available). He soon found that he was in demand as a music video director, and after making a number of successful film clips for bands from Australia and New Zealand, including Dragon, and the classic music video for The Saints' "(I'm) Stranded", he relocated to the UK around 1976, Mulcahy joined Jon Roseman Productions International and made successful music videos for several noted British pop acts—his early UK credits included The Sex Pistols, XTC's "Making Plans for Nigel" (1979), The Vapors' hit "Turning Japanese" and his landmark video for The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" (1979) which became the first music video played on MTV in 1981.[3] In 1978, he went to the United States (for Roseman) and directed videos for The Cryers and Candi Staton - where he first used the "jump cut" - under producer Paul Flattery. Other Mulcahy innovations included spot color, body painting, glass matte shots and faux widescreen aspect ratio (first used on his Ultravox and Rod Stewart videos) which have all become standards for the genre.

By the mid-1980s, Mulcahy (now a partner in the MGMM production house) was directing videos for some of the most successful pop-rock acts of the period including Culture Club, The Human League, The Tubes, Elton John, Ultravox, most of the major hits of Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Kim Carnes, Bonnie Tyler, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, The Motels, Supertramp, Kenny Loggins and The Rolling Stones.[4]

Highlander seriesEdit

In 1986, Mulcahy became well known after directing the cult classic film Highlander, starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, featuring music from Queen.[2] He later directed the sequel, Highlander II: The Quickening, but disowned it after the producers interfered with production. Reportedly he wanted to have his credit changed to Alan Smithee, but as he was not a member of the Directors Guild of America, he had no way of forcing the producers to change the credit. He eventually took the opportunity to restore his vision for the film, to a large extent, with the video release of Highlander II: The Renegade Version.

Music videographyEdit

He also directed videos[which?] for Boy George, Falco, Go West, Cliff Richard, Supertramp, The Motels, Talk Talk, The Stranglers, 10cc, The Human League, Classix Nouveaux, XTC, and AC/DC



  • Nuts, Bolts and Bedroom Springs (1975)



  • Tales from the Crypt (1991–1996): "Split Second", "People Who Live in Brass Hearses", "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime", "Horror in the Night"
  • Perversions of Science (1997): "Planely Possible", "People's Choice"
  • The Hunger (1997–2000): "Necros", "The Secret Shih-Tan", "I'm Dangerous Tonight", "Nunc Dimittis", "Wrath of God", "The Sacred Fire"
  • Queer as Folk (2000): "Premiere", "Queer, There and Everywhere", "No Bris, No Shirt, No Service", "Surprise Kill", "The King of Babylon"[2]
  • Jeremiah (2002): "The Long Road, Part One"
  • Young Lions (2002): "The Navy: Part 1", "The Navy: Part 2"
  • First to Die (2003)
  • Skin (2003–2004): "Pilot"
  • Teen Wolf (2011–2017): "Pilot", "Second Chance at First Line", "Pack Mentality", "Co-Captain", "Formality", "Code Breaker", "Omega", "Shape Shifted", "Frenemy", "Restraint", "Raving", "Master Plan" (with Tim Andrew), "Tattoo", "Chaos Rising", "Currents", "Visionary", "The Overlooked", "Lunar Ellipse", "Anchors", "Illuminated", "Letharia Vulpina", "The Divine Move", "The Dark Moon"
  • The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (2015) "Welcome To Maplecroft", "Flowers"

Personal lifeEdit

Russel Mulcahy grew up in Mangerton in the Illawarra region of New South Wales and attended Corrimal High School.[8] Mulcahy lives in Sydney with his partner.[2]


  1. ^ "Russell Mulcahy". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Charles Kaiser (18 September 2000). "The Queerest Show on Earth". New York Magazine.
  3. ^ Biography for Russell Mulcahy on IMDb
  4. ^ - Russell Mulcahy
  5. ^ "Russell Mulcahy's BAIT 3D Gets Funding By Screen Australia". DreadCentral.
  6. ^ "A Tiger Shark Massacre in 'Bait 3D'". Bloody-Disgusting.
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (8 May 2017). "Errol Flynn Biopic in the Works From 'Highlander' Director Russell Mulcahy". Variety. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  8. ^ Campbell, David (7 March 2001). Corrimal High School Fiftieth Anniversary (Speech). Hansard. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 25 July 2019.

External linksEdit