Button Man movie recreates High Country enigma

Veteran Australian actor Don Bridges, who has had a vast career in stage, TV and film work, will play Button Man in a short suspense film created by Melbourne men Josh Todaro and Jamie Lehman.The public does not know his name or what he looks like but the curiosity surrounding the Victorian Alps mystery man has grown in the past 12 months.The Herald Sun understands police investigators do not believe the Button Man, aged in his 70s, is linked to those who have vanished in the area he calls home, but those unexplained cases have only added intrigue to his presence.A resourceful, self-sufficient bushman, he lives for extended periods in one of the most remote parts of Victoria, carving buttons and ear piercings from deer antlers.The Button Man sets up at a crossroads area where he can see those entering the isolated patch in which he uses self-made spears and snares to catch deer and constructs pyramids from rocks.High Country stories say he has an intimidating aura and has been known to quietly come from the bush late at night to interrogate visitors about why they are in the area.Mr Todaro said he did not believe the Button Man was violent and his film does not link him with anyone’s disappearance, instead leaning on his reported tendency to appear when people thought they were a long way from anyone.In the film’s case, two young sisters sitting by their fire start to realise they are not alone before Button Man emerges.“They hear noises. They realise they’re not alone. They don’t know what to do,” Mr Todaro said.“They don’t know whether to be silent … whether to run.”Mr Todaro said the film was about creating tension in an isolated part of the world.“We’re not painting him in any light. It plays on the idea that you’re camping alone and, suddenly, you’re not alone,” Mr Todaro said.“This isn’t a documentary. The idea of the Button Man is more urban legend than person.”Police have spoken to Button Man about the disappearance of campers Russell Hill and Carole Clay from the Wonnangatta Valley in March last year, primarily because of his knowledge of what goes on in the area.Mr Hill and Ms Clay have been the subject of a major missing persons squad investigation after leaving Melbourne on March 19 and vanishing two days later.Possessions, including their tent, were later found burnt.Others to have vanished within a 60km radius over the past decade were Conrad Whitlock, 72, whose car was found on the side of Mount Buller Rd in July, 2019, and Barwon Prison boss David Prideaux who disappeared while hunting with a mate at Mount Stirling in 2011.

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