Rawhead Rex

Rawhead Rex ★★

"Are there any connections between the murders?"
"Yes. They're all dead."

Rawhead Rex was the second Clive Barker movie adaptation to be made. As with the first one (the largely-forgotten Underworld), it was directed by George Pavlou. Barker was apparently unhappy with both of them and decided to take the reins himself for the next one - the excellent Hellraiser (1987). On this evidence, it's not difficult to see why.

One of the major issues is the depiction of the titular monster itself. While it looks decent from a distance, the facial prosthetic is laughably rubbery and poorly animated when seen in the frequent close-ups. Budgetary limitations doubtless didn't help; apparently one of the major investors dropped out during production, taking $1 million in allocated production costs with them.

However, the cheesy creature isn't the only problem by any means. The acting is overly hammy, the dialogue is frequently laughable and the plot is full of holes (e.g. what's with that weird-ass stone pillar at the start and why do the farmers decide it's time to remove it all of a sudden?).

On the other hand, the air of naffness is curiously enjoyable and there are conversely some legitimately good aspects. The core idea (about a pre-Christian deity who comes back to life) is intriguing, the score by composer Colin Towns (formerly of the Ian Gillan Band) is suitably intense and director Pavlou actually manages a decent job with some of the camerawork and setpieces. The best of the latter is an effective suspense sequence involving a rural rest stop behind a bush(!).

Rawhead Rex is a bit of a botch job but it's still quite fun if you knock back some beer and accept it on its own B-movie terms.

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