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Rawhead Rex – 7

Director – George Pavlou

Cast – David Dukes, Kelly Piper, Niall Toibin, Ronan Wilmot, Niall O’Brien, Hugh O’Conor, Cora Venus Lunny, Heinrich von Schellendorf

Release Year – 1986

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I first heard of Rawhead Rex years ago thanks to a review from Fright Master on www.upcominghorrormovies.com, and now I can finally say that I gave this rare effort the chance it deserved.  A creature feature from the mind of horror legend Clive Barker, this UK effort brings us a sweet story adorned with insane creature horror that makes for a very enjoyable experience for those who need their creature fix.

After being unleashed from his tomb by an unwitting farmer, Rawhead Rex is out to plague the land he once ruled with the blood of all who cross his path, unless one man who lost a child to Rawhead can stop the evil demon.

If you want cheezy creature fun then Rawhead Rex is right for you.  From the get-go we are thrown into this sweet story and Rawhead brings his carnage to screen early-on, delivering vicious kills without prejudice – women, children, no one is spared from Rawhead’s vengeance.  The majority of the first half of the film consists of Rawhead ripping up and snacking on all who come across him, as well as an investigation by an author into the local parish’s history.  When the author’s son is killed by Rawhead we are given a new vengeance theme added to the plot, and thankfully the hell continues via Rawhead’s battles with the local police force and the grieving father.  Clive Barker did a great job selling this simple film, giving us awesome religious references to Rawhead – a demonic being preceding Christ and ruling Ireland before being banished to an earthly tomb – and doing so with Barker’s usual shine regarding religious elements in horror.

Director David Pavlou did a swell job executing this piece, which surprisingly is not his first time directing a Clive Barker story as he did so with his previous 1985 film, Underworld.  The film quality is less-than-favorable compared to other films of this era, but it managed to work in Pavlou’s advantage as it provided a nice gloomy and creepy atmospheric feel to compliment the locations used.  The most important factor, Rawhead Rex, was excellence in how he was used and I loved the look of the beast.  He was just creepy and roughly 8 feet tall, but his look was still comical and provided good “fun” in his presence.  In addition to this he brought forth many awesome kill sequences that delivered good gore and many severed limbs, showing that even with a low budget you can provide good horror as long as you appropriate your money to where it matters the most: the horror – in this case the creature and subsequence gore/kill sequences.  There are other important factors to consider, like acting performances and Pavlou’s execution of other elements involved, but he did well enough in all areas and managed to do very well in the areas that matter.

Overall, Rawhead Rex is an awesome creature film that gets things right when it comes to the creature action.  The flick has suffered poor ratings from the community as a whole, which makes this one of the more underrated horror films of the 1980s that not only provides a good story (via Clive Barker) but good horror as well.  Definitely recommended to fans of cheesy creature horror.

Rating: 7/10

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