Hi, and welcome to The Unsung Cinema.
Un-sung (uhn-suhng) Adj. 1. Not uttered or rendered by nging. 2. Not celebrated in song or verse; not praised or acclaimed.
It's a series I do whenever I'm bored and feel like writing a review of some movie that is not generally known to the public and desperately needs to be. The movie I'm about to review gets crapped on so much for so little reason. It's really not that bad of a film, even if it can't be as good as the short story its based on. That's right, it can only be...
Now, Clive Barker is a very familiar name amongst horror fans. Not only is he a director, he's an author, a screenwriter, and a producer. He has directed one of the great horror masterpieces (Hellraiser) and written some of the best horror stories
that even rival some of Stephen King's works. One (or three) notable book(s) he has written is the Books of Blood. These included several very well-written short stories, like The Midnight Meat Train, Pig Blood Blues, and The Yattering and Jack. Rawhead Rex is one of these stories. It was really good and pretty scary, and I was surprised at how well RawHead Rex followed the original storyline. I could compare and contrast book and film, but that's a different article for a different time by a different Bidite.
The story is mple enough: After a farmer removes a huge stone that was embedded in his land, Rawhead Rex, an ancient monster, is released from his earthly tomb. Rawhead ravages the Irish countryde and the sleepy town of Zeal, killing and eating everyone in his path. A vacationing photographer sets out to destroy the wretched beast after it kills his son.
RawHead Rex was made by Empire Pictures, who have made some of my all time favorite movies, like Ghost Town, TerrorVion, and Prison, not to mention Re-Animator. The screenplay was written by Barker himself, so you already know it's going to be very well written. It was also directed by George Pavlou, who went on to direct absolutely nothing of any interest. The performances were okay, even if it was over-acted in some parts.
I don't know who degned the look of Rawhead Rex, but whoever it was did a truly awful job. Who was the genius who decided it would be scary to make Rawhead have a long mane of hair and leather boots? Although, I must admit I felt Rawhead Rex was neat in a Giant Claw sort of way. He's cool, albeit very ridiculous. Heinrich von Schellendorf played Rawhead and did a really good job with the role. This is Schellendorf's only film credit, and it's sad because he really did do a great job.
Horror fans owe a lot to RawHead Rex even if they don't know about it. Clive Barker was so disappointed with this movie that he decided it would be for the best if he directed his next story adaptation, a little film you might know called Hellraiser. It was nominated for Best Picture at the 1987 International Fantasy Film Festival, but other than this, RawHead Rex seldom gets the respect it deserves.
Late one night, I decided to watch the first fifteen minutes of RawHead Rex before I went to bed. This was immediately after I finished the story, so I still had Rawhead on the brain. After the first fifteen minutes, I was enjoying it so much I decided to finish it. Even if I was tired the next day, it was completely worth it. It's very enjoyable and there's never a boring scene. Even if you can see the ending coming from a mile away, it's still really good. The gore effects were well done, the writing was great, and the atmosphere was top-notch. This could have actually been genuinely scary, if they had hired a different guy to decide what Rawhead Rex would look like.