Cult horror, demon, monster movie Rawhead Rex is brought in glorious clarity to home screens from Arrow Video.
A film watched on grainy videos in living rooms by children too young to have been allowed, Rawhead Rex has its own small following. He may not be as recognisable to the general public as Frankenstein’s monster, It or Freddy Kreuger, but there are those that hold Rex to their heart. But are there going to be more as they find this new release?
In rural Ireland, a farmer topples an intrusive stone that stands in one of his fields. Unknowingly, he’s broken the prison of the demon Rawhead Rex (Heinrich von Schellendorf). Now free, Rex wreaks violent havoc over the town. This means it’s a bad time for American historian Howard Hallenbeck (David Dukes) and his family to be staying there.
Adapted from a short story from horror fiction legend Clive Barker, from one of his Books of Blood collections, Rawhead Rex greatly benefits from actually having Clive Barker on board, adapting his own story into a screenplay. It’s his mischievous touch that gives the film a lot of its entertainment, from Rex golden showers to amusing lines of dialogue. The other component that helps keep the film hanging together is lead actor David Dukes. His committed performance and strong acting skills actually manage to sell a lot of what’s going on, even when Rawhead Rex himself doesn’t.
Speaking of Rawhead, he hasn’t managed to weather the changes that have occurred. Physically imposing with his statuesque height and bulging muscles, he sports a strong 1980’s mullet, a twitching snout and eyes that struggle to focus on the same thing. But it is part of the fun.
It’s difficult to say Rawhead Rex is a strong film. It certainly struggles with the passage of time and we don’t think many modern viewers will add it to their frequent watch list, but it will give those who saw it thirty years ago, and its cult following, a lot of enjoyment.
The adaptation that is Rawhead Rex actually displeased Clive Barker so much that he decided to direct an adaptation of one of his stories himself. That film was Hellraiser. So Rawhead Rex is actually a lot more influential in horror cinema than you might have thought.
The Blu-ray release itself is from Arrow Video so it’s all as you would expect: a flawless 4K restoration from the original camera negative backed up by a wealth of extras including interviews with cast and crew, a commentary with the director and featurettes.
RAWHEAD REX (1986) / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: GEORGE PAVLOU / SCREENPLAY: CLIVE BARKER / STARRING: DAVID DUKES, KELLY PIPER, HUGH O’CONOR, CORA VENUS LUNNY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW