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Rawhead Rex

Rawhead Rex

1986, Dir. George Pavlou

David Dukes, Kelly Piper, Heinrich Von Schellendorf


Oh woe. Woe be to the sorry bastard who rents this film based on their appreciation for the short story of the same name. Woe be to me for falling victim to it six months ago. And label me just plain idiot for doing it again. Six months ago my girlfriend and I didn't make it through 10 minutes of this trash. So why did I give it another shot? Not because it deserved it, but because I have accepted this grim responsibility; the responsibility to protect you from this kind of crap. The aforementioned short story was written by one of the modern masters, Clive Barker. He has since distanced himself from the film. Rumor has it that during the months following this film's release he shaved his head, grew thicker facial hair, wore sunglasses constantly and affected a limp and a speech impediment. In print the story is quite chilling, but something got lost in the translation to film. It doesn't justify a detailed plot analysis, so I'm just gonna breeze through it. It also doesn't deserve me scouring the net for stills.

It all starts with three dipshits trying to topple a very phallic monolith from a field. They succeed, apocalyptic clouds roll in, weird blue lightning, and Rawhead Rex rises from the earth. He then proceeds to go hopping through the forest, picking up the field mice and bopping them on the head. No, that would be silly, but not quite as silly as this creature looks. Imagine a cross between Bigfoot, Predator, and Gene Simmons dressed as William Wallace from "Braveheart" and you got our boy Rawhead. He possesses a local priest who he later "baptizes" by pissing all over him. Rawhead then starts killing indiscriminately, first mutilating a local man and then waving his hand over the man's pregnant wife, driving her mad. Then he kills the male half of a couple necking in the woods. Then he rampages in a trailer park, killing mostly everybody and providing one gratutitous boob shot. The apparent thought process:

"Oh shit!!! Rawhead Rex is pulling my wife out of the trailer!!! What do I do?! I know!!! Grab her shirt!!"

Then he kills an American photographer's son (Note: If a crappy horror movie is set in a country other than America, DON'T PISS OFF THE AMERICAN!) and a priest, and the final showdown takes place in a churchyard / cemetery, where a fertility goddess idol is used to shoot Rawhead Rex with silly blue lightning. He ages right before our eyes (he doesn't crumble or wither or anything, just gets old) and falls into a none too deep grave, followed by two none too big stone slabs. Now after what we've seen ol' Rawie do all movie, and since he's supposed to be Satan or something, this doesn't seem like it would put him away for good, and it doesn't. In the final scene, as a young boy arranges flowers on the stone of one of the victims, guess who's head comes popping up out of the ground! You got it - Rawhead Rex, looking for a sequel. God willing he'll never find it. According to Barker himself; "I think it would be hard to sell the sequel to a pretty bad movie". If only the makers of Leprechaun and just about every other horror movie franchise would think of that.

IN CLOSING: If there's one thing I hate, it's a movie that's afraid of the money shot. Call me sadistic and / or twisted, but if it promises gore and doesn't deliver I'm dissapointed. Especially when we're talking about Clive Barker. You know in his stories that bad things are going to happen to good people and that adds to the horror. In the hands of a skilled director implied / subtle horror or terror works, but there's no such thing as subtle gore. Not every gory movie has to be Dead Alive, but at least give me sheep guts or something. The movie was set in rural Ireland, so you know they had sheep to spare. If there's another thing I hate, it's a goofy monster. Sure, Rawhead is enormous, but he's just silly looking. He's got goofy, aging rock star hair, and his hypnotic eyes are just ridiculous. Remember those L.A. Gear sneakers that lit up? Stick two of those lights in a Halloween fright mask and you have Rawhead. Be warned. This is crap, and I award it one Dee just because there was a character named O'Brien, even if he was the pissed - on priest. If you see this on the shelves of your favorite video store, shun it.