Friday, January 27, 2012

Rex me not!: Rawhead Rex (1986)

Rawhead Rex (1986)
starring: David Dukes, Kelly Piper and Niall Toibin

Way before Clive decided to do Hellraiser (1987), he had Books of Blood, a series of anthology released in volumes with four stories each. Many of them had gone into film with varying success, most recently and regarded as one of the better adaptation was that of an evil-experiment film called Dread (A film that I never cared for, mind you). Among others had gone to either cult classic status (Lord of Illussions) or TV shortness (The Yattering and Jack was later turned into a TV episode of Tales from The Darkside as well as Body Politics in Quicksilver Highway); Some,sadly, will always divert into the unholy path of plain suckishness. This is one of them.

In Ireland, a farmer unknowingly released a thousand year old demon known as Rawhead Rex, who's arrival had lead to murder, fires, and corrupting a local priest into being his slave. Stopping him is the father of one of the monster's younger victims who desperately searches for a way to stop a seemingly indestructible monster. Add a few magic, some feminist subtext, fancy cartoon lights and you got one of the surprisingly dullest monster flicks I've seen.

I don't know if it's the corny plotting or the lame special effects, but in all,\ Rawhead Rex is nowhere near "Rex"hood. Why? because I've seen it all in Jaws.

Yes, I'm comparing this with Jaws, that scene with the kid getting eaten alive by a monster is enough for me to start basing this on that classic: it starts with a random creature visiting a small town (or in this case, returns), starts wreaking havoc, havoc gone unnoticed or was blamed to something or someone else, a shocking attack happens, attack finally got noticed, towns folk attacks back, attacking back fails, hero emerges and fights back with the most unusual weapon. All of it in that order.

Just. Like. Jaws.

The only difference I can tell between Rawhead Rex and Jaws was that Rex held back and took considerations regarding budget, which somehow became an excuse why the film couldn't do any better compared to other monster flicks. The plot is basic as it is and the director's attempt to try and make it longer by putting a lot of tedious and boring scenes in it isn't helping. There's a few cool attacks, like a home invasion scene and a trailer park rampage but other than that, it's stale all the way.

Rawhead isn't even scary, folks. In fact, he looks like a puppet version of Ryuk from the anime Death Note, only more muscular, dressed in a suit that makes Lordi wanna recruit him and make him play drums. I might had liked it more if they just applied the make-up over the actor's face instead of making him wear a moving latex mask but I'm not gonna take any chances.
...yep...the resemblance is uncanny..
The ending itself, as unusual as it is, gave the film its fantasy trope, where in an ancient talisman was used to defeat Rawhead with a special touch: only a woman can handle it. Giving much credit to the "virginal" state of female survivors, the film took a different twist by providing a more magic-based turn on the usual horror trope. it's the only nice touch I find in this film if it wasn't for the prolonged and overdone light-show that killed the beast.

while I do appreciate the effort placed into making this film a memorable one, I find it too boring and too cliched to make it anywhere. Uber cheap and really unoriginal, Rawhead Rex may find a better resting spot in a horror purist's arms or some Barker fans. Unless they're a wee bit critical...

1 male hit by lightning, killed offscreen
1 male had his face ravaged
1 male had an arm eaten off, killed
1 boy eaten, mostly offscreen
1 male had his neck ravaged open
1 male strangled against trailer
1 male repeatedly crushed against trailer
1 female elevated strangling, thrown against a pole
A trailer got immolated with a shot gas tank by accident
1 male strangled to death
1 male seen mauled
1 female seen with her arm torn open
1 male found decapitated, head held by monster
1 male topples in his car, crushed
8+ males got burned alive in explosion
1 male ran through fire, burned to death
1 male had his face clawed open, bled to death
1 male had his neck bitten open
total: 24+


  1. Boy you pegged this one, down the line. It was a letdown. I do have to say I didn't remember the bodycount being so high!

    1. I can't believe they actually blew it this bad! The violence was trimmed down on some releases, mainly from the trailer park rampage. maybe you saw the cut release?

  2. one of the 80s' most hilarious horror movies. Rawhead Rex is bad but in a fun way. I enjoyed it a lot :)

    1. XD ohoho, guess that's one thing I'll never get. ah well!