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Rawhead Rex

UK 1986
produced by
Kevin Attew, Don Hawkins, Al Burgess (executive), Paul Gwynn (executive) for Alpine, Green Man, Paradise
directed by George Pavlou
starring David Dukes, Kelly Piper, Cora Venus Lunny, Ronan Wilmot, Niall Toibin, Niall O'Brien, Heinrich von Schellendorf, Bairbre Ni Chaoimh, Bob Carlile, Peter Donovan, Eleanor Feely, Sheila Flitton, Hugh O'Conor, Noel O'Donovan, John Olohan, Derry Power, Simon Kelly, Barry Lynch, Donal McCann, Patrick Dawson, Michal C. Ford, Gladys Sheehan, Gerry Walsh
screenplay by Clive Barker, based on his short story, music by Colin Towns, special effects by Gerry Johnston

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Rural Ireland: Farmers remove an ancient column from a field, but unfortunately this column was, unbeknowest to them, the gravestone of an ancient monster/god, Rawhead Rex (Heinrich von Schellendorf), who was buried alive centuries ago and who now, once free again, immediately goes on a killing spree - and not only that, he makes Declan (Ronan Wilmot), the verger of the local church, his slave.

When the police starts their investigations, they have of course no idea what they are dealing with, but fortunately there's an archeologist, Hallenbeck (David Dukes), around. Thing is, when first sugests there's a monster, the police and especially detective inspector Gissing (Niall O'Brien) are less than likely to believe him. It's only after Hallenbeck loses his own son (Hugh O'Conor) that Gissing starts to believe in his ramblings, but by that time it already seems too late, as Rawhead Rex goes on a rampage, and he also makes Gissing his slave ...

Good thing though that Hallenbeck is an archeologist, and he soon discovers the connection between the monster and the pictures on the local churchwindows and finds a sacred stone hidden in the altar with which he thinks he can destroy Rawhead Rex. But when he faces the monster for a showdown armed with his stone, he realizes the stone does not work, and consequently Rawhead Rex almost takes him apart ... until Hallenbeck's wife (Kelly Piper), who has come after him, picks up the stone, and suddenly it shoots all sorts of magic beams and sends the monster back to hell ...

 

Clive Barker's short story Rawhead Rex is probably one of his most pulpy but also most straight forward stories, and maybe the one of his stories that seemed the most ready to film - and thus this film sticks to Barker's short story pretty closely, which is not only a good thing, because this film readily reveals the story's utter trashiness and the story as such leaves little room for inventiveness.

So yeah, Rawhead Rex the movie is a very straight forward piece of trash that has some fine shock and suspense scenes going for it, but fails to impress because of the production line quality of the script (especially when compared to Clive Barker's next film, the masterpiece Hellraiser), because of the lead monster that looks great on stills but totally fails to convince in the film, and because of weak acting efforts from almost all of the involved, especially Ronan Wilmot as verger Declan and Niall O'Brien as detective inspector Gissing, two key supporting character roles that could have carried the movie.

It's not a total desaster, especially when compared to George Pavlou's earlier Clive Barker adaptation Underworld, but it's not something that's worth watching either ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

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