Rawhead Rex

Rawhead Rex ★★★

Part one of my Clive Barker marathon to prep for Texas Frightmare. This is obviously not the adaptation Barker had in mind for his short story, even though he wrote the screenplay himself. There were many compromises along the way, most of them budgetary. And as a result, his psychosexual, phallic monster-on-the-loose story became a much more generic monster-on-the-loose story.

But that doesn't mean that, haphazardly filmed as it might be, RAWHEAD REX is without merit. Shockingly, some of the most intense scenes from Barker's story make the cut: including a priest being baptized by monster piss and Rawhead eating the protagonist's child. Far from the spindly cock monster of the text, the Dokken enthusiast of the movie still evokes the feeling of a pagan god with specifically Celtic origins--which complete sense with the decision to set the adaptation in Ireland instead of rural England.

The fact that the FX team insists that the spindly, talon-fingered demon of the text was impossible to create at the time is also dated by the fact that PUMPKINHEAD was entering pre-production just as RAWHEAD REX was released.

It may be wholly imperfect, but RAWHEAD REX is a delightfully schlocky rubber monster flick. It could just as easily be hosted by Joe Bob Briggs as play on a double bill with LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, and because of that, there's definitely something artistic in its utter artlessness.

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