Film - Rawhead Rex

Rawhead Rex

VentSpleen has been unpacking some of his long neglected DVD collection. Up today is Rawhead Rex…

It was a random pick out of the box recently and this was one of them. Rawhead Rex is a bad film but it’s a good bad film.

Clive Barker is an amazing writer and miles better than Stephen King, his characterisation and storylines are truly disturbing but the most important point is he doesn't meander around like a lost puppy with his narration. Book of Blood anthologies are where what I have just stated about Barker get proven true. Rawhead Rex started life as a short story and made it to the big screen in 1986 with George Pavlou (this was to be his last directorial feature for reasons which should become obvious) who had previously brought Barker's Underworld to screen. The cast of Rawhead Rex is made up of people that you sort of recognise but can’t exactly put a name to the face (think Lair of the White Worm without Grant, Capaldi and Donohoe) What follows is a film that is bad from the outset and continues to be bad throughout with a short spell of really bad in the middle. It is the sort of film in that the eighties became known for a straight to VHS classic and yet I can’t help enjoying it.

Rawhead Rex is a demon that has been asleep for centuries and is kept asleep by a giant stone memorial stone thing, under a field somewhere in rural Ireland. When the stone is disturbed by a stupid farmer Rawhead is awakened and he is in a foul mood. The film follows his rampage and only one man can stop him, a tourist on holiday with his family from America. That's it! The acting is just about watchable and the visual FX are what you would expect from a low budget horror film in the mid-eighties. It would be fair to say that time has not been kind to Rawhead Rex and Clive Barker wasn't impressed with it on release!

Rawhead Rex
Rex couldn't understand why he was rejected for the Vape advert
Rawhead Rex is a B movie with a strange charm that is impossible to explain and yet it has developed a small but loyal fan base. Such is the case that the film has recently been re-released with a 4K treatment and a small run in selected cinemas. Rawhead Rex does still retain the power to shock with the death of small child on screen still being deeply effective. Barker was so unhappy with how his creation looked onscreen that it led him to being much more hands on with his next project and the results speak for themselves. Perhaps if Rawhead Rex had not been made we wouldn't have had such a success with Hellraiser and the Cenobites would have looked very, very different. If you approach Rawhead Rex with realistic expectations and allow for its significant flaws you are in for an evening of kitsch Eighties entertainment and a demon that even has a mullet! What’s not to love about that!

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