‘I prefer dead things’ ‘I’ll bear that in mind’ I don’t know what she has in mind and I don’t want to find out. From the Bloody Disgusting Podcast Network; The Nightmare on Film Street podcast is a candid, comedic take on the genre from hosts Jonathan DeHaan and Kimberley Elizabeth. His large 8-9ft. However, for the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing on the film itself rather than the original source material. And yet…he fails. Historically speaking, stone phalluses have ties to ancient fertility cults and rituals and are regularly found in Europe. However, as we’ve seen from that other mid-80s UK literary adaptation Lifeforce (based on Colin Wilson’s The Space Vampires), translating such high-reaching literary ideas in a mass appeal horror movie may be easier said than done. ‘You have very dirty eyes, anyone ever tell you that?’ Even with this issue, we should still feel for them as the film reaches its most traumatic moment, The couple’s son is attacked. Pavlou wanders all over Barker’s original story and leaves helpful plot elements out of the film entirely. That’s who those kids belong to. In the case of Rawhead Rex, the film is set in a rural Ireland and follows the American historian Howard Hallenbeck (played by David Dukes) and his family as he researches historical items of religious significance. VK. While Rex quickly and easily disposes of the husband, he struggles when it comes to the wife. ‘What the hell’s going on?’ Some people are killed outright, apparently as food, others it possesses, this woman… no idea but, it gives her terrible mood swings. By mesmerizing the chief with his glowing red eyes, Rex is able to control the chief causing him to turn on his fellow officers.
He looks utterly ridiculous and clearly not real; but we all knew that as soon as we sat down anyway. A record store nerd from Boise, Idaho with an obsession for horror soundtracks and all things creepy. And then we have a window, with a figure, surrounded by children who would appear to hold the key to defeating said beast. No one seems to be having more fun than Ronan Wilmot as the deranged Verger Declan, driven mad by the influence of his new god Rawhead, joyous in his rejection of his old Christian ways. This may well be the case; but it’s a very, very funny footnote, never ceasing to entertain throughout every woefully, wonderfully misjudged minute of it. Even this intelligent, educated and worldly man fails to see the image for what it is. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. Automatically he assumes the figure is male. Translating the words on the window he realizes it says “Death goes in fear of what it cannot be.” So…here we have a rampaging, hormonal beast who brings nothing but death, who seemingly can’t touch a pregnant woman. This energy, this divine feminine energy, is the only thing that can defeat Rex. Automatically he assumes that the solution, or item the figure is holding has something to do with a physical advantage or an item of power. And given what a genre-redefining classic that turned out to be, it can be argued that Rawhead Rex is indirectly responsible for changing the face of horror in the late 1980s and beyond. In the case of Rawhead Rex, the film is set in a rural Ireland and follows the American historian Howard Hallenbeck (played by David Dukes) and his family as he researches historical items of religious significance. A fairly solid point about Rawhead Rex is made in the accompanying press release for Arrow’s new Blu-ray edition. As he pursues her through the home, corners her in an upstairs bedroom, he tears her dress and reveals that the woman is in fact very much pregnant.
This is interesting. The film looks as good as you could hope, and we have a couple of commentary tracks (one featuring George Pavlou in conversation with Stephen Thrower), plus a bunch of interview featurettes with the cast and crew, comics artist Stephen R Bissette discussing an abandoned graphic novel adaptation of Barker’s story, plus the original trailer and an image gallery. Is this perhaps because historically men have failed to see women and acknowledge their worth, contributions and unique power? In fact, you could even say that because Barker had so many issues with Pavlou’s execution of these films, that’s why Barker took on the role of directing himself with his next film adaptation, Hellraiser in 1987. It is under such a stone that Rex (an ancient folk legend himself) has been trapped and subsequently released by the unwitting farmers.
We are immediately and fully shown Rex and all his gnashing glory as he claims his first victim, the very same farmer who granted him his freedom. In it, we see Rex, held down and contained by a shining light seemingly controlled by a hooded figure holding a mysterious something over their head. And much like the stone from which he emerged, Rex is the walking embodiment of unrestrained, uninhibited male stereotypes. I hooope!’ The only weapon that works against the demon, discovered in the arc of the covenant which everyone forgot was in the church, is a pagan fertility symbol. With Features, Editorials and Reviews from our amazing team of Contributors, as well as candid and comedic discussions on our top-rated horror podcast! To satisfy the ‘folk’ aspect of folk horror, a film needs to have a rural setting. He is God’ Cannot trash kitchens… and rock caravans. In my opinion, Rawhead Rex is an example of how fine the margins can be in horror, between scary and funny.
A fairly solid point about Rawhead Rex is made in the accompanying press release for Arrow’s new Blu-ray edition. Rawhead Rex is released to UK Blu-ray on 14th May from Arrow Video, and is available now on Arrow Video’s Amazon Prime channel. Here again, we see interesting gender stereotypes in the way that Howard thinks about the image.
Luckily, Howard‘s wife Elaine, concerned for her husband’s safety appears just in the nick of time. New movies, old movies, popular movies, obscure movies, and plenty more. Being an 80s horror movie, Rawhead Rex obviously doesn’t favour the less-is-more, keep the monster off camera approach: he’s on screen a lot from early on, and his whole presence personifies the film. Barker has always been vocal about his issues with how his short stories were interpreted for these films. Whether this was entirely the desired effect is another matter, but hey, an enjoyable film is an enjoyable film. No focused close up shots of his back breathing heavily. ‘A woman. But either way, we get the impression that Rawhead Rex ultimately boils down to nothing more than a funny footnote in the annals of 80s horror. Where Barker may have envisaged a ravenous, spiny, razor-toothed, nine-foot phallus (yes, he’s called ‘raw head’ for a reason – one wonders if this was one of the titles the author dreamed up whilst under the influence of special cookies), what we actually have here is actor Heinrich von Schellendorf (in his sole screen role) snugly squeezed into a rubber suit and mask with a fixed expression, swirly red LEDs for eyes, and heavy metal-influenced hair and dress sense, somewhere between a Power Rangers bad guy and a member of Gwar. Something to think about. This primal and physical approach to marking territory doesn’t leave much open to interpretation. Small wonder, then, that – not unlike Lifeforce – Rawhead Rex comes off as high camp B-movie horror with a bit of perversity and blasphemy thrown in just to tart things up a bit. First up, a synopsis courtesy of IMDB: Ireland will never be the same after Rawhead Rex, a particularly nasty demon, is released from his underground prison by an unwitting farmer.
Rex‘s physical appearance also helps contribute to its folk horror status as Rex is clearly more than human and very clearly male. The power comes to her naturally as it is innate in her being. It is in this moment that the film begins to develop another very interesting aspect to it; gender dynamics. However, despite some of the dated perspectives and practical effects, Rawhead Rex remains an interesting piece of film.
The figure, surrounded by children would seemingly represent the way to defeat Rex and yet, no one seems to pay it any notice. But alas, was not in the script I guess. The film follows Rex’s cross country rampage, while a man struggles to stop it.
It’s certainly a film that has its advocates. A knife, a sword or a weapon of some sort.
Time and time again we will see a couple common threads established in this scene recur and run throughout the rest of the film. © 2019 Rapiddrama, Inc. All Rights Reserved. He is after all a pre-Christian pagan creature over which the church would hold no sway. Howard discovers the elusive “weapon” hidden in the alter of the church; a curvy stone figure representing femininity. What do you think about Rawhead Rex? Nightmare on Film Street is the Home of Horror for Die-hards all the way to Casual Creeps. Stylistically, each project is far removed from the other; Underworld is a hi-tech, high fashion horror thriller with film noir elements, Rawhead Rex is a pastoral horror film set against a countryside backdrop and dealing with the … A question that dogs Rawhead Rex.
While the psychology of Rex‘s traits are nowhere near politically correct, they will later come into play in an interesting way.
While early folk horror was most often set in rural England we’ve seen this shift and broaden recently. One, is the location where the story takes place. A recurring image that relates to both the folklore and gender aspect of the film is a stained glass window in the local church. ‘It’s no bloody good’ But is he right? I love monster movies, and if you do, too, then this is a movies for you. Hallenbeck suspects the local church was built on the site of a temple venerating something much older than Christ, something which the current clergymen would rather he didn’t find out about – and his suspicions would appear to be confirmed by the sudden emergence of a horrifying flesh-hungry giant terrorising the locals. Again, though, that doesn’t by any means render the film lifeless or dull; far from it.