Rawhead Rex (1986)

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Overall Rating 59%
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Ranked #3,402
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Connections: Books Of Blood

Ireland will never be the same after Rawhead Rex, a particularly nasty demon, is released from his underground prison by an unwitting farmer. The film follows Rex's cross country rampage, while a man struggles to stop it. --TMDb
David Dukes
David Dukes
Kelly Piper
Kelly Piper
Hugh O'Conor
Hugh O'Conor
Cora Venus Lunny
Cora Venus Lunny
Ronan Wilmot
Ronan Wilmot
Review by Chad
Added: February 01, 2005
As the movie starts up, we see three good ol' Irish boys attempting to remove a huge, phallic-shaped stone that is lodged deep into the middle of a field. Attempting to yank it out of the ground with a tractor results in the stone barely budging, so two of the three men take off for home. The third man, the one that owns the field, sticks around to work on it some more. As he's pulling his shovel out of the ground, some smoke starts to billow up from the small hole left by the shovel, and storm clouds start to appear on the horizon. As the storm quickly comes overhead, the stone starts to rock back and forth, eventually toppling over. As it topples, Rawhead Rex (played by Heinrich Von Schellendorf under a mask) jumps out of the hole left by the stone. We then cut over to Howard Hallenbeck (David Dukes) and his wife Elaine (Kelly Piper), who are in Ireland so that Howard can do research for a book that he's writing. As part of his research, Howard plans to do some investigating on a local church that is supposedly built on top of sacred ground, but when he arrives, he's greeted by the not-too-friendly Declan O'Brien (Ronan Wilmot). A bit of conversation takes place between the two men, and Howard quickly realizes that O'Brien has zero interest in talking to him, so he starts to leave... but not before he notices a stained-glass window containing an image of Rawhead Rex. Howard's next stop is to talk to the main preacher at this church, a man named Reverend Coot (Niall Toibin). Even though Coot is a bit friendlier towards Howard, the amount of information that Howard gains from him is about the same as it was from O'Brien. Elsewhere in the Irish countryside, Rawhead Rex is killing off people left and right... when one of the killings occurs to a family member, Howard takes it upon himself to track down and kill this demon.

As was the case with Candyman, this is another movie based off of a short story found in Clive Barker's "Books Of Blood" series. While I can't claim to have read the original story that this movie was based on, I found this movie adaptation to be quite great. The action doesn't take long to get started, as Rawhead Rex makes his debut appearance within the first five minutes of the film, and it doesn't take long after that for the killings to start up. However, that's not to say that this was just another kill after kill movie with nothing in the way of storyline or character development; both of the above do indeed get ample time throughout the running time. There's a few spots where pieces of the storyline start to get a bit corny, especially during the ending sequence, but those can be overlooked thanks to the goodness of the rest of the film. There's also a few spots where, as characters are being developed and the storyline reveals itself, things start to get a bit too slow and dull. Again, however, these few scenes can be overlooked, thanks to the fact that they're few and far between, and never run for too long.

Rawhead, our titular demon, is also a great movie monster, which certainly brings up the entertainment factor a few notches. He's pretty original in the looks department, looking almost as if he has a mutated horse head with two mouths (think of how the Predator's mouth and teeth were configured). While the Rawhead costume does give off an almost plastic-looking shine in most of the promo work surrounding the film, the creators do a great job with the lighting and scenery (for the most part) in order to keep the illusion going while the movie itself is playing. Back to the character itself, Rawhead certainly doesn't slouch in the body count department, racking up a respectable amount of kills during his time in Ireland. Preachers, gypsies, and even children end up feeling his wrath, and most of the kills that are shown on-screen have excellent special effects going on for them. Hell, he even whips out his johnson and urinates on a preacher during one scene... how can you go wrong with a fellow like that?

Overall, this one comes highly recommended by myself if you're a fan of those eighties monster-killer movies. This one keeps all of the aspects that made the genre enjoyable, and comes out a few steps ahead of the competition due to a great storyline penned by Clive Barker. Sadly, you Americans will have to shell out $50+ for a DVD of this unless you own a region-free player, as it's been long out-of-print for some unknown reason. Still, it's a damned enjoyable horror film if you can find a copy. 8/10.
Christopher #1: Christopher - added 02/01/2005, 07:32 PM
The best part was when Rex killed Howard's boy, but then it wasn't even shown. The kid screams, cuts to the parents in the field with their daughter, back to the car with some blood here and there. One of the many disappointments through out the film.
Chad #2: Chad - added 02/02/2005, 05:16 AM
There was a fair amount of blood on the ground (soaking his comic book), as well as his bloody shoe laying next to the book. It would have been better to see it all, indeed... maybe the German X-rated version takes care of that.
Christopher #3: Christopher - added 02/02/2005, 09:13 AM
Not likely. More times than not, the only reason a movie gets an x-rating is for too much nudity. During that time frame (all through out the eighties), the movie censors looked at films like "Violence is alright. Swearing is alright. Nudity is alright, but nothing below the waste." For example, one of the females that gets murdered in the trailer park by Rex has her boobs flopping everywhere. That scene could have shown some bush and the censors would have thrown an x-rating on it.
Chad #4: Chad - added 02/02/2005, 02:29 PM
X-Rated is the distro, though it looks like your buddies are also selling this version. It has two extra scenes and one alternative scene... the kid could just be the alternative, that scene looked like it got cut a bit. http://www.xploitedcinema.com/dvds/dvds.asp?title= 2601
Symx #5: Symx - added 02/04/2005, 06:55 PM
I got to watch this movie once a long time ago on the SciFi channel and I had forgotten all about it until just now. Maybe I can download it off of WinMx or something. I thought it was an entertaining movie
Ginose #6: Ginose - added 10/19/2006, 11:25 PM
I thought this movie sounded stupid-as-shit reading the description of it but I noticed Clive Barker's name on it so I looked from video-store to video-store until I finally found it at a Hollywood video that was roughly 30 miles out of the way. I liked it alot, but watching an interview with Barker himslef he said it was a peice of shit. Oh well... Stephen king hated Kubrick's "The Shining"... Wirtiers and directors seem to disagree to often.
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