Rawhead Rex (1986)

rawhead rex poster 1986 movie monster clive barker
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 1/10

Rawhead Rex's story has potential, so-bad-it-is-good

Rawhead Rex isn't intimidating...at all

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Rawhead Rex

Studio:  Empire Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  October 1986 (MIFED)/April 17, 1987 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

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I come to your house for dinner, and you’re not even willing to offer yourself to me?

A farmer attempt to remove an ancient monolith from his field unwittingly unleashes a demon on a small Irish town.  The demon known as Rawhead Rex only cares about killing, and it appears nothing can stop him.  When an American researcher named Howard Hallenbeck (David Dukes) and his wife (Cora Venus Lunny) have a run-in with Rawhead, it costs them the life of their son.  Now Howard is bent on finding Rawhead Rex’s origin and stopping him, but Howard is discovering that Rawhead is quickly recruiting followers including a wayward priest named O’Brien (Ronan Wilmot) who will do anything to protect his master.

Directed by George Pavlou, Rawhead Rex was based on the story “Rawhead Rex” from volume 3 of by Clive Barker’s The Books of Blood.  The movie had a small release and was met with largely negative reviews.  The film has gained a small cult following, and there has been some talk of a remake from Barker himself.

rawhead rex eyes hypnosis monster clive barker

What beautiful eyes you have Rawhead

Clive Barker was exploding in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  With Stephen King being a big money maker but largely tapped out by films, smart, original horror was sought elsewhere.  Clive Barker appeared as a potential source and a follower of King’s success.  Rawhead Rex has potential, but this movie doesn’t show it.

Rawhead Rex is bad…there’s no way around that.  The creature kind of looks like a cross-eyed puppet about the size of Big Bird, and despite that no one in this small Irish farming town (which seems to be mostly fields and some woods) can find it.  When it attacks Dukes’ kid, he chases after it…only to have it completely disappear in a couple of minutes.  The logic and effects of the movie really come into question.

rawhead rex hd monster costume fire

I totally would pee on you to put you out, but I wasted all my pee on the last guy

Despite that, Rawhead Rex is fun in a so-bad-it-is-good way.  Clive Barker has always struggled bringing his creations to the screen.  Some do come off as scary (Hellraiser and Candyman), but others end up coming off more as goofy like this film and Nightbreed.  It is too bad too because both Nightbreed and Rawhead Rex have some merit in their stories.

I like the old gods/demons view of the film, and the idea that within the world created by the story there is a God but also other things that have lived upon the Earth that cannot be explained or controlled.  This type of story has lots of room for exploration, but the movie doesn’t do it justice, and it just becomes a goofy (bad) monster movie.

rawhead rex ending monument statue hd creature

Now you’re going to kill me with some IKEA knicknack?

Rawhead Rex is the primary problem with Rawhead Rex.  First, the name doesn’t inspire fear as much as laughter.  I realize that Rex is Latin for king but even then “King Rawhead”?  It has the rhythm thing going for it, but it is a stupid name.  The next as mentioned is that it doesn’t look like any money was spent on Rawhead’s design.  The hand with the extendable nails apparently was all the budget…Rawhead just looks at people and opens his mouth wider…or urinates on them to baptize them…

Rawhead Rex falls into that goofy horror category that is only good late night with a bunch of friends.  The movie is a nice relic of the ’80s and maybe could be remade with some tweaking.  It is also interesting to note that both the Nightbreed and Rawhead Rex faced off against each other in Marvel’s Epic comic Nightbreed.  The story ran in Nightbreed #13-16 (January 1992-July 1992) and events in the story took place after both movies so fans of both of Barker’s creations might want to check it out.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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