With Features, Editorials and Reviews from our amazing team of Contributors, as well as candid and comedic discussions on our top-rated horror podcast! And then we have a window, with a figure, surrounded by children who would appear to hold the key to defeating said beast. What are some of your favorite folk horror films? The energy overwhelms and contains Rex and he simply can’t fight back. He looks utterly ridiculous and clearly not real; but we all knew that as soon as we sat down anyway. For example, even after Elaine has embodied this ancient powerful spirit and defeated this creature that countless men could not, she immediately crumbles and runs to her husband, bursting into tears. Soon, he gains a disciple of sorts from a young verger at the church, baptizing him with literal piss in the church graveyard. In the extras, actors Hugh O’Conor and Cora Venus Lunny, who played the Hallenbecks’ young children, state that even they were aware at the time that it was a somewhat ‘schlocky’ production. ‘Ha, ha’ Rawhead Rex was based on a short story by Clive Barker who had a very definite opinion of the finished product. It’s long been said that Clive Barker, who wrote the screenplay from his own short story for director George Pavlou, was so appalled with the resulting film – not to mention their earlier collaboration, Underworld (AKA Transmutations) – that he decided he would no longer put his work in the hands of another director, and opted to personally take the helm on his next film, 1987’s Hellraiser. The film follows Rex's cross country rampage, while a man struggles to stop it. While Howard continues to search for answers, Rex has been busy causing chaos and exhibiting inflated traditional male characteristics. This sub-genre that seems to ebb and flow with the decades is the fascinating and persistent genre of ‘folk horror.’ While titles like 1973’s The Wicker Man and 1971’s The Blood on Satan’s Claw may immediately come to mind, there is one often overlooked and easily dismissed film that deserves a bit more attention; George Pavlou’s 1986 film Rawhead Rex. Whether this was entirely the desired effect is another matter, but hey, an enjoyable film is an enjoyable film. And much like the stone from which he emerged, Rex is the walking embodiment of unrestrained, uninhibited male stereotypes. ‘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. While the teenage boy’s younger brother stumbles across Rex, he poses no sexual threat (despite his sweatshirt boasting Muscle Power) and is therefore ignored. To satisfy the ‘folk’ aspect of folk horror, a film needs to have a rural setting. A question that dogs Rawhead Rex. Best to just embrace the absurdity and go with it. One, is the location where the story takes place. And hit it with a shovel. However, for the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing on the film itself rather than the original source material. ‘It’s no bloody good’ But is he right? Is this perhaps because historically men have failed to see women and acknowledge their worth, contributions and unique power? While he may not be god like the young verger proclaims, Rawhead Rex is indeed a pretty fun romp in the Irish countryside. ‘What is it?’ ‘I don’t know… Andy… Argh!’ More than in any other genre, a little thing can make a big difference. Where Barker’s original tale from Volume 3 of the Books of Blood was set in a village near London, the movie shifts the action to rural Ireland (reportedly for tax reasons). I was wondering’ It’s as if the filmmakers noticed the non-existent chemistry and tried to force it with some of the oddest ‘se*y’ dialogue I’ve ever heard. The mostly Irish cast reportedly features some of the most esteemed figures from the country’s theatre, and the bulk of them spend much of the film with vaguely bewildered expressions on their faces. Finally, all the pieces come together in the final scene of the film. 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. That’s what they called him. What’s the problem? Pavlou wanders all over Barker’s original story and leaves helpful plot elements out of the film entirely. The very opening scene of Rawhead Rex shows three farmers struggling to remove a large phallic-like stone from the middle of a field. 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. Automatically he assumes the figure is male. He is after all a pre-Christian pagan creature over which the church would hold no sway. On multiple levels this sets the stage for what is about to unfold. Nightmare on Film Street is the Home of Horror for Die-hards all the way to Casual Creeps. In so doing, he unwittingly releases the monster of the title, a carnivorous beast which has been buried there for untold centuries. A fairly solid point about Rawhead Rex is made in the accompanying press release for Arrow’s new Blu-ray edition.
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