Rawhead Rex (1986)

Posted: 25/02/2013 in Trash movies
Tags: , , ,

In 1985 then young Clive Barker published Books of Blood, six volumes of hard- hitting, splattering and traumatizing collection of horror short stories. They proved to be true game changers and waives that they created can still be felt in genre fiction ’till this day. Unfortunately that also meant bunch of movie adaptations that ranged from well made to passable genre flicks to absolute abomination of film-making. Unfortunately we will keep the attention on the latter. (It’s not easy being in the WM Crew some days)

Rawhead Rex with script and even some producing duties by Barker himself was shot on a shoestring budget in rural Ireland … with cast of shockingly primitive villagers that tried to pass as actors and some of the most god awful special effect, design that ever graced the silver screen. When the author of the short story/ script himself calls the final look of the titular monster” a 9 ft tall phallus with teeth”- you have some idea what you’re getting here.

Yep, that’s it!

Movie begins with an extremely old and ugly villager trying to knock over some sereosly monolithic looking piece of rock. Some equally old friends are there to help him but they give up after two seconds and after a bit of laugh leave him to face his trouble alone. Why he suddenly decided that he must plow the part of the field with a freakin’ giant rock in it just now we will never know.

In the meantime American Writer(?) Howard Hallenbeck searches the Ireland for obscure religious items. Heading into a rural church in hope of finding something interesting he bumps into the Vicar O’Brian who doesn’t like him very much straight of the bat. After trying to ignore him he finally gives up and sends him to the Reverand Coot who is willing to cooperate but seems to be one of those men who don’t know their head from their ass. O’Brian touches the altar and after placing a hand on it strange light appears and he seemingly looses his sanity (not that he looked like a sane man before).

Suddenly incredibly dark clouds gathers above the field and a halo of poorly animated lightnings strike the monolit and a giant rock crushes realizing the evil that
it kept hidden for centuries, the evil that is… RAWHEAD REX!

Rawhead doesn’t waste any time and starts scoring a kill-count immediately. First killing a said farmer that was guilty of awakening him and then attacking locals Dennis and Jenny in their own home. He discombobulates horrified Denis but has doubts when he discovers that Jenny is pregnant and decides to leave. Monster afraid of pregnant women- that’s a new one! Next victim is a horny teenager Andy who’s rude to his brother as he desperately tries to make out with his girlfriend. He finally leaves his young brother and despite the severe cold heads into the woods with his girl. And I think all of us watched enough horror movies as kids to know what happens to horny teenagers alone in the woods…eminent death! Well, they did make a valiant try to run away and save their lives but in the middle of the run Andy kinda… lost his head… and I mean really lost his head. Rowhead was on top of the hill with Andy’s head roaring from the overwhelming happiness. Damn!

See what I got!

Howard is settling in a lousy hotel room with his family, his small and cute daughter, son who seems disinterested in anything but comicbooks (I can understand that- I would try to ignore everything in this
shithole myself) and his incredibly ugly and sex craved wife. Thank God enough horrible stuff happens during this movie that the possibility of any horrible sex scenes with her is reduced to nothing. Looking through the window of his car he catches a glimpse of Rawhead and naturally he goes to the police. Despite the enormous number of dead bodies they ridicule him and drive him away.Than he visits the old church again but the old Coot (pun intended) explains that mysteriously all the records he asked for disappeared. He the notices strange creature in the stainglass window not unlike the one he saw and he even tries to take a picture but Vicar looses his shit and smashes his camera to bits! He bearly gets out alive. Angry and confused Howard takes his family back on the rode (which in retrospect is a smartest thing to do). Unfortunately they had to take a break rather soon because his daughter had to pee- and that proved fatal! Howard and wife leave her in the bushes for just a second but she starts screaming, they rush to her but in doing so they leave their son alone in the car. Rawhead uses this opportunity to kill the poor kid and then drag his body into the woods. Ok, this was unexpected I give you that, I mean kids never die in horror movies right?

    Rest in peace… you had a fine choice of comics you poor little thing

Coot has a heated argument with Haward about the nature of evil that is Rawhead but he heedes some advice and starts looking into things. Finally! He touches the altar but  successfully refuses the strange visions in red. Then he goes out searching for Vicar, ends up in the seemingly abandoned basement and shockingly finds the missing documents. But that’s not all. He witnesses the scene you never think you’ll witness in your lifetime- the freakishly tall monster baptizing the Vicar in his evil ways by PISSING ON HIS FREAKIN’ CHEST… and Vicar seems really into it. This is seriously disturbed! And incredibly funny at the same time…

I am not sure I like this religion

Vicar tries to have Coot “baptized” by Rawhead Rex too but he doesn’t seem to be into that sort of thing, monster piss and all. He runs back at the church and surprisingly discovers that Rawhead is unable to fallow him. Instead he sand the crazed vicar and after him. Coot confronts him and starts going at the monster with crucifixion while vicar laughs hysterically. Unfortunately for Coot it turns out that Rawhead has no fear of crucifixion or hollow ground being the pre-Christ diety, instead the key for destroying him was buried in the altar all along- somehow completely unnoticed all this time!

Rawhead crushes the crucifix, and then crushes the poor Reverand too. He also does that in front of the newly arrived police- he may be old but he still has a flair for dramatics. You would think that he would end up in the halo of bullets right that moment but ovbiasly police is incapable as it gets (+ Rawhead had help from inside, it seems he’ve been busy pissing on people these days, when he wasn’t murdering them of course).

With his dying breath Coot tells our hero Howard that monster is afraid of something in the altar and he hurries to find it before his arch-nemesis Vicar does.Two of them get into the fight but Howard somehow manages to push him away and after opening the alter red light and smoke effects appear. Mysterious object is finally found! Vicar rushes to Rawhead trying to warn him and finds him in the local graveyard but he is displeased with his performance and O’Brien get mauled. Howard comes with a mysterious object not unlike Venus of Willendorf  high in his hands and for a moment it seems that his plan is working but Rawhead gets even more mad and start throwing him around. Stone venera slips away from him and it seems that finally the evil has won!

“Fat naked lady! AAAAAAAA!”

But NO! Howard’s incredibly ugly wife appears, takes the statue and then it’s true power gets unleashed- you see, Rawhead is afraid of some fertility goddess of all thing!!!
And only a woman can wield that kind of power. Ridiculous shiny effect fill the screen and no matter how hard he tries they drain him of his live energies and bury him… Once again the world is safe.

Or is it? The trailer park boy places flowers on the grave of on Andy, his brother. As he walks away, Rawhead suddenly emerges out of nowhere and roars like and idiot. The End.

Verdict: It’s incredibly fascinating that the author like Clive Barker even in the beginning of his career would try so hard to get something of the ground and so gloriosly fail. Hopefully we will see a new, impoved adaptation of his story but in the meantime we can enjoy what he calls “a 9 ft tall phallus with teeth”- ’cause you really don’t see those very often, do you?

…if you (like us) have a sudden urge to yell RAWHEAD!

PS Trivia: Clive Barker himself wore the Rawhead Rex costume in most of the scenes, that’s like adding an insult to the injury.

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Comments
  1. Lily Wight says:

    This movie is great with a pint of snakebite 😉 I’m loving the look of your blog so I’ll follow along x

    Like

  2. pokeras85 says:

    Appreciated!

    Like

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