Some decent horror fare saw release in the mid to late eighties, despite the general consensus that the genre had lost considerable steam from it's golden age at the outset of the decade, with pioneer offerings from names that would become legendary like Michele Soavi, Peter Jackson, and Jorg Buttgereit, as well as established names like Argento, Carpenter, and Raimi instantly coming to mind in a mid-bubbler ponderance of the era I recently undertook. Nearly thirty years later, I remain unchanged in my general assessment of the films of the period, perhaps expanding my list of favorites and sleepers now and then after seeing something that had thus far eluded me, but three decades removed from the last time I sat down to watch tonight's review (and the Chachi haircut, fragstache, and Lions color hightop shelltoed Adidas I thought I was rocking at the time, mind you ) haven't wavered my opinion about it very much...
" Ho ye! Whaur's the cludgie??!! "
Some brainy Celt seed planters go and jostle a stone column that happens to be sitting in the middle of one of their fields, unaware that doing so will unleash a 9 foot tall Irish boogeyman named Raw Head Rex (Big Fake-Looking Head Rex would be more apt, I think) upon the unsuspecting countryside, populated with caravan parks fulla horny teenage gypos, bare-knuckle boxers, and that there sorta like, me boyyos. The awakened pagan god-turned-aggro baboon is exceedingly pissed off at either the notion that his big goofy mouth full of teeth doesn't close all the way, or that whoever banished him to his lengthy dirt nap all those centuries ago also dressed him like an extra in Cameo's "Word Up!" video, to add insult to injury. He graciously proceeds to relieve any nearby shoulders of the excessive weight that a human head no doubt adds to the equation, climbing a hilltop triumphant with dome in tow, boastful that he'd done it, the phony-lookin' bastard. Into the mix, add a guy named Hallenbeck (David Dukes, who's luckily one letter S away from a bad Klan joke I had brewing over here) who's visiting with his family and researching religious artifacts at a local church that just so happens to have a stained glass depiction of Rawhead's earlier religious defeat in one of it's windows. Hmmm, that's damned peculiar.
I had the same expression when I heard the Short Circus broke up.
Rawhead enlists a nut named O'Brien (Ronan Wilmot) in a Renfield sort of capacity, later giving him a piss baptism and awkwardly chewed-out neckpiece for his loyalty, while snuffing Hallenbeck's young son right under his nose during his daughter's roadside bathroom stop, and even influencing an police inspector to splash the responding force with gasoline, igniting them all like so many cop-mallows before they could make Irish/Swiss cheese out of him. Luckily, the dying Reverend (Nyall Toibin) confides to Hallenbeck with his last breath that Rawhead can be defeated by an ancient weapon concealed in the church altar, if wielded by a woman like his wife just in the nick of time, and by "defeated" he means belted with dated light FX that suddenly age the bloodthirsty bully and weaken him to the point that he's once again consumed by the surrounding earth, only to pop back out, seemingly uninjured, at a funeral in the final shot, surprising absolutely nobody at all, I'd imagine.
"Why didn't you meet me outside Chess King like I asked you to?!!?"
From what I understand, even Barker himself wasn't incredibly amped with Pavlou's cinematic take on his short story, and really, who'd blame the guy, it's clunky and gawdawful, save for laughs. The pair had previously worked together on 1985's Underworld aka/ Transmutations. In the end, I wish that the someone who'd awakened Rex, would do the same for me, having nearly drifted off several times throughout. One Wop.
The tragic resolt of bringin' yer stones to a bare mandible foight.