Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

03 October 2008

Rawhead Rex

Director: George Pavlou
Writer: Clive Barker
Released: 1986
Cast: David Dukes, Kelly Piper, Declan O'Brien, Niall Toibin, Niall O'Brien

STEVE says: Clive Barker has apparently disowned this movie - and he wrote the screenplay. Nothing I can say will give you a better idea of how bad this movie is.

In truth, though, it tries. It tries too hard. The story - ancient fertility god accidentally released from his subterranean prison wreaks havoc on Irish countryside - isn't the problem. Much of it is the direction, the fact that this is all taken so earnestly - the same problem Sometimes They Come Back suffered from. Everyone is so serious throughout, you'd think they were in an Ibsen play or something, rather than a schlocky monster flick.

And that's the second problem: the monster here, the titular Rawhead Rex, looks ridiculous. He's meant to be eight or nine feet tall (yet is able to walk through standard doorways whenever the plot calls for it without banging his skull), and this is achieved by placing Rawhead's head on top of - not over, mind you, but on top of - the actor's head. This makes his torso look longer in proportion to the rest of his body, and causes his arms to protrude from roughly the middle of his ribcage. It's not pretty. Neither are his crazy, rolling red hypno-eyes, or his mouth which seems to have no movement beyond simple open/close. I really half-expected to see a zipper running up his back.

Come to think of it, that might have made it all worth it.


NIKKI says: For the longest time I thought Rawhead Rex was a big scary dog who fought against Peter Weller. I would have sworn those two things were central to the film: dog and Peter Weller. I have no idea quite what planet I was on when I decided that. Bizarre.

I had no idea it was a Clive Barker story, either, though I probably read it as a kid. Back when I thought Cabal and Jacqueline Ess were, like, the goriest things ever and I was just so cool and grown up for not vomiting while reading them. I think back on them now, and I probably couldn't stomach them as well as I used to.

Anyway... Rawhead Rex was fairly lame. But I put that down to over-the-top acting and the worst make-up effects ever put on film. What possibly made these filmmakers think the big plastic head with the Mattel-like flashing red eyes could possibly be scary? I realise the film was made in the mid-1980s but there were scarier demons around at that point. It just looked like a big plastic mask. It barely moved. There was nothing real about it at all. Who thought of that? Ugh, terrible.

I had a hard time following the story, possibly because that awful mask was so disstracting. And I didn't feel what I think I should have after the little boy was killed. That seemed very out of place. Perhaps if I'd had more of a sense of just what Rex was up to, it may have come together a bit better. Reading up on the story later, I can see what was going on. I didn't grasp it so well watching the thing.

Peter Weller and a dog... if it's not this, what the hell am I thinking of?


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