This film is one of my guilty pleasures. Sure, the makeup-fx are not the greatest (the monster looks a bit rubbery in close-ups), the plot is the basic good vs. evil standard, and characters are introduced for the sole purpose of being ripped apart, but still, I like it. Howard Hollenbeck is a historian/archeologist writing a book about Neolithic religious sites in Ireland. He drags his family in tow, under the guise of a vacation, to see a church built upon a pre-Christian site of worship. The stained glass images in the church tell a tale of how to quell the rage of some ancient demon beast. Meanwhile, on a nearby farm an ancient stone pillar stands in the way of clearing a new field for planting season. The farmer digs up the Stonehenge-like monolith, unwittingly releasing the demon from its eons old resting place.
The beast then goes on a killing spree, a no rhyme or reason rampage of unrelenting, blood-soaked violence, ripping and tearing its way through the countryside. The beast semi-possesses folks to do its bidding and block the efforts of police trying to find the murderous culprit. When Hollenbeck’s own son is taken by the beast, known as Rawhead Rex, it is up to him and his wife to figure out the puzzle of the stained-glass windows and fight the demon head-on.
This film is actually hard to find on DVD and is not on Blu-ray. It took me over a year to find it at a decent price. This was one of Clive Barker’s early film adaptations and would be a great starting point for anyone’s Barker collection. Although I hear that Barker condemns this film and the director for leaving out the more cerebral parts of the script and turning it into a standard monster movie, it is a good monster movie. It’s a plethora of killing and carnage from the hairy cross-eyed monster that is worthy of better acknowledgement. How could you not like a movie with the title, Rawhead Rex.