Posts Tagged ‘rex

01
Jan
12

Rawhead Rex Wants to Skull Fuck You and I’m Okay With This.

a Primal Root written review

When I think of monsters larger than life a number of creatures come to mind. Of course, Godzilla, King Kong, Cloverfield…Hell, even Bruce from JAWS and the graboids from Tremors make appearances.  And then there’s Rawhead Rex, the red headed step-child of all giant monsters. Yeah, while Godzilla is off crushing noodle factories in Japan, Rawhead Rex is stomping around rural Ireland ripping the heads off teenage love birds and literally pissing in the faces of local priests. Now this is The Root’s kind of monster. Sure, Rawhead’s not nearly as tall as some of the other monsters on the block, but he makes up for his mere 10 or 11 foot tall stature with plenty of murderous spunk and personality. Unlike other monsters who are brought about by man’s experimenting, or are simply Mother Nature’s own killing machines, Rawhead is just a mean mother fucking demon. He’s not here for sympathy or for us to see ourselves reflected in him…no. This guy just wants to bite your face off and smear his shit on the bloody mess beneath. I doubt you will find a sicker, meaner, more sacrilegious monster in 80’s cinema. I feel it is my duty, as ambassador of the Trash Cinema Collective, to shine a light on one of the nastiest, meanest, most atrocious cinematic monsters ever brought to life, Mister Rawhead Rex.

"I feel good about me!"

Our movie takes place in a dreary farming community in Ireland where a group of men try to remove and ancient totem from one of their fields. Soon, the sky darkens, red lightening rains down and the totem falls releasing a horrifying demonic monster older than the Christian faith whose only purpose in existing is to destroy any and everything in it’s ugly path. At the same time, an American family has come to town headed by historian and writer, Howard Hollenbeck, who is traveling the countryside compiling research on pre-Christian sacred sites and is interested in the local church’s unique history and stained glass windows.  All the while, Rawhead is painting the entire countryside rd with the grue and entrails of the local villagers, twisting off heads, terrifying children, setting people on fire and tearing ladies blouses off to expose their breasts before tossing them into trees. How can Rawhead be stopped? The clues and secrets to the creatures destructon are all held within the walls of the towns ancient church. Can Hollenbeck get aid from the incompetent local authorities, deal with the psychotic Reverend Coot’s and unlock the mysteries to defeating Rawhead Rex before he destroys the town and Hollenbeck’s family?

Rawhead Rex is based of a short story by Clive Barker, the man who brought us Hellraiser and Nightbreed. not only boasting source material from Clive Barker, but a screenplay by the man as well, Rawhead Rex isn’t a very good movie. However, it is a ridiculously fun and entertaining one. The movie actually follows the original story pretty closely but is also devoid of just about all the thought provoking, serious pagan/spiritual concepts that made the story such a brilliant, philosophical read and, instead, just goes berserk and delivers a fucking crazy ass monster movie that delivers all the goods. That is, if you don’t mind a generous helping of cheese with your cinematic entree.

"Oh yeah, your lymph nodes are WAY swollen..."

The film itself is competently made and pretty well acted all around. Director, George Pavlou, does an excellent job of keeping the pace up, composing some fantastic shots and utilizes them to their best affect, and even takes some risky chances with his subject matter. Keep in mind, Rawhead Rex was released right in the midst of the British “Video Nastis” fiasco, so Pavlou had to walk a very fine line in order for his film to see the light of day. In all honesty, the violence here works rather well. It’s kind of muted in parts but it’s still gets the point across. But where Rawhead really scores points with me is that it has the brass balls to put kids in mortal danger, and even goes out of it’s way to kill a few! Yes, Rawhead  completley destroys a kid or two in his rampage. It happens just out of camera shot but with some great post production foley, the sound of these kids getting folded in half and ripped into meaty chunks drives the point home.

Now, I know everyone’s  gripe about Rawhead Rex is how shitty his costume is. You know, I love the way Rawhead looks. It’s cheesy as all hell and nearly destroy the credibility of the film, but there’s something about it I find really endearing that keeps this whole affair on a B-Movie, Drive-In level. Really, the the monster looks like a cross between a dog, a horse, and The Ultimate Warrior. He’s goofy enough to make you laugh, but strange enought that you don’t want that fucker within 1,000 yards of you.  I, for one, appreciate Rawhead’s fantastic dark sense of humor and that so much of the violence is delivered tongue in cheek. Don’t get me wrong, there are some creepy ideas at play here, a legitimate sense of dread, and a hand full of genuinely shocking scenes… but you cannot deny the film i a Hell of a lot of fun. There are moments when Rawhead runs after people where he looks like a little boy skipping and hopping after them, moments where he celebrates turning over motor homes where he begins dancing like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, he even whips it out and pisses on a kneeling, willing, Reverand Coot’s in a kind of demonic Golden Shower baptismal cleansing, in what is possibly the film’s most notorious scene. Personally, I couldn’t stop laughing.

I can't help but wonder what Rawhead looks like with his mouth shut. Such a Chatty Kathy, that guy...

Within all this bizarre-o action, blood thirsty monster mayhem, and religious nose thumbing, is a pretty interesting story. Sure, it’s not at all what Clive Barker probably envisioned but it still manages to please as crazed, no holds barred, monster movie sporting a larger than usual set of testicles it drags through the dirt behind it. There are so many aspects of Rawhead Rex that are worth praising. I especially loved the ending conceit the Rawhead Rex can only be destroyed by that which he can never be…and finding out exactly what that means. It’s a rather poetic and lovely idea tossed into an otherwise wild, and grotesque mix. But it’s moments like these where the air is cleared of the action and horror campiness and a little bit of heart shines through.

I highly recommend Rawhead Rex as pure, unadulterated B-movie love. If you come across a copy for cheap, snatch it up as quickly as you can. As the runt of the larger than life monster litter, Rawhead is about as fun and lovable as they come and well worth bringing into your home. Even if he’s not house broken.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

06
Jul
10

The Gutter, Where We Belong

a Rex Beavers rundown

I’ve found myself obsessed with a waitress. Like a fool, I have become prey to the charms often piled on thick by waitresses in an attempt to garner more money from their tips. I come back to her every week, and I’m not the only one. Every Sunday night I, along with millions of other hopeless devotees, pay a visit to Sookie Stackhouse. The typical things a waitress might do to encourage repeat business are not at play here. She doesn’t feign the drop of a pen and bend over slowly when within our view, and she isn’t the most beautiful waitress out there. The reason we keep coming back to the gap-toothed waitress who works at a dive bar in the back country woods of Louisiana is because we like trash.

It’s in defiance of television’s best efforts to sell us the glamorous that we keep coming back to her. A flip through the channels will reveal numerous beautiful women with gapless smiles. These women will often be professionals. Lawyers and doctors and women with vast educational backgrounds who live in exotic or urban locales. These PhD having, highly trained beauties will walk the busy, much depicted streets New York City or sift sand through their toes on a beach in Miami, but we keep going back to a piece of shit hole in the wall bar to follow the adventures of a waitress. Sure, she’s telepathic, but that’s nothing new. Mediums and ghost whisperers alike have been featured on our television screens, but they weren’t trashy. They had degrees and money and qualifications and impressive contacts. They didn’t live in bum-fuck Louisiana and they weren’t resigned to wear short shorts and tight white shirts while delivering bar food to Southern folk.
Well, maybe its the vampires. Vampires are a big draw, right? Perhaps it’s despite the trash that we keep coming back to Bon Temps so that, nipples piqued, we can bask in the erotic glow of the vampire. But even the vampires of True Blood have a decidedly trashy quality. Unlike the aristocratic narcissists who pranced along the pages of Ann Rice novels, the vampires of True Blood are warriors and soldiers who often wear leather and choose their prey from a selection of bar floozies while sitting in the darkest corner of a cheap bar along a country highway. Twilight offers us a cute high school guy while Sookie Stackhouse finds herself choosing between a straight-laced confederate soldier and a sleazy nightclub owner.

And then there’s the sex. Sex is deeply embedded in pretty much everything you’ll see in prime-time, and True Blood is no exception, but the level of eroticism you’ll find here is the product a common interest in burly, barrel chested men that is shared by a middle aged gay man and a giggling Southern woman. Yes, there are lots of naked women, and Anna Paquin has my life-long respect for shamelessly baring it all, earning her place in a hall of heroes occupied by a beloved number of scream queens and final girls who had no qualms about showing us their boobs. But bosoms aside, the largest source of sex appeal in Bon Temps is found in musclebound men. Alan Ball seems to enjoy a strong upper body, and readers of the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, on which True Blood is based, can tell you that author Charlaine Harris spends a good amount of time describing, in delighted detail, the naked male form. While most of Hollywood and television focus their depictions of sex steadily on the softer, feminine form, True Blood exposes us to a large number of often hairy men. A rougher variety of sex is also found here, with the more tender scenes often culminating in pools of blood. Sex in True Blood is different. You’re treated to several scenes of hard-bodied men pounding away at supple young women in fast-motion, like rabbits on steroids. It’s trashier, and it seems to be filling a void for us every Sunday night.

True Blood is something that would be right at home on the drive-in screen. If you’re a regular reader here at the Collective and you haven’t given it a chance yet, I don’t think you would be disappointed upon doing so. Join me and millions of others every week as we raise our hands and recite the Drive-In Oath as a new episode of True Blood approaches. But during this oath, it’s probably a good idea to keep your view at eye level, because while one hand is raised high, when it comes to True Blood I think I have a good idea what several of us will be doing with the other hand.

We’ll be masturbating.

12
May
10

The Good, The Bad, and The Weird: Dongs of Adrenaline

a review by Rex Beavers

Action films have the potential to overwhelm you and move way too fast, and before you know it you find yourself walking to the police station, silently in the dark, with mascara streaming down your face and a head full of bad memories. This is not the case with The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, which is a casual affair that escalates at a natural pace and graduates toward its title characters expertly pounding away at your pleasure centers with a respectful attitude that leaves you feeling good about who you are when wake up in the morning. There is no walk of shame, but when this movie is over the practical result is the same: you have just been gangbanged. The difference this time around is that you were a willing participant. You were an insatiable beast, hungry for intimate appendages made of pure adrenaline.

The Good, The Bad, and The Weird is a Korean western that contains motorcycles and a smattering of 1980’s technology. That is to say it’s quite eclectic, but adeptly so. It takes place in a time not represented by any single moment in history and concerns three central characters who are all in search of a fabled treasure. Their paths cross continually as numerous Korean cowboys dressed like WWII era pilots are laid to waste. The Good, The Bad, and The Weird is a title that describes both its main characters and the styles of action it displays on screen. The Good is the competent hero who takes down evildoers with a high degree of skill, The Bad is an unrepentant villain with an unbridled penchant for violent behavior, and The Weird provides a source of comic relief that catches his opponents off guard when combined with his competence in combat. The tried and true characters combine with a simple plot and an undeniably diverse setting to form the perfect balance of everything you ever loved about action movies. It takes all of the commonplace elements of the action genre and masterfully applies structure and pace in a way that allows its slapstick to co-mingle with explosive action without stepping on the toes of it’s violence.

Tone in action flicks is often applied poorly, ranging from flicks composed entirely of people walking away from explosions in slow motion to films consisting of little more than blood splattering across the frowns of the innocent. The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, however, is a monument to hitting the mark. It employs the best of everything in action films in a wholly satisfying manner. A possible downside is that it does play it a bit closer to the vest than you might be used to. One consequence of its thoughtful pacing is a sacrifice in the more over the top moments you might find in other action flicks, but in doing so it gains a minimal number of low points. But be not afraid, The Good, The Bad, and The Weird is a well done and solid piece of action.

Another thing to note is that because this is a Korean movie, you will be forced to read subtitles, but I promise that someone will get shot in the face before you have any time to form a volatile reaction to being forced to read when what you should really be doing is watching things blow up.

Four stars.

01
May
10

Centurion at Actionfest: A Guy Gets a Spear in the Dick.

a review by Rex Beavers

Oftentimes in cinema, when an axe is swung with full force towards a person’s skull the result is that the weapon remains lodged in the target’s forehead, an expression of surprise remains on the victim’s face, and their corpse falls lifelessly to the ground. Neil Marshall’s Centurion tells a different story, wherein the force of the axe results in a massive explosion of bone and blood and the axe itself falls unencumbered to the ground. Similar stories are told about decapitations that do not occur where the head meets the neck, but begin somewhere around the bridge of the nose. Those fond of the violence and gore as depicted in Neil Marshall’s horror flick The Descent will probably not be left wanting. The violence is brutal, massive, and stunning. Of course, there’s a story to go along with the men and women in this movie who swing the axes and thrust the spears, and it’s a decent one.

In a surprise twist, Neil Marshall’s Centurion follows the story of a roman centurion. He’s a halfway decent dude with the unfortunate quirk of being a member of the power hungry roman army posted far north, and fighting a losing war against the Picts, who are justified in the defense of their homeland but are just as rotten in their own right. Circumstances lead to the centurion becoming a member of an awesomely rag tag band of heroes who would all like to go home and leave the madness of war behind but can only do so under pursuit of the leader of the Picts and his ensemble of stone cold killers who all share the common trait of possessing an all-consuming and unquenchable thirst for vengeance. It’s a simple story that’s told well with solid characters and realistic motives that make the plot easy to digest (although I suspect digestible plot isn’t a high concern among the readership here at the Trash Collective.)

Just before the screening of Centurion that I was present for at the inaugural Actionfest film festival, there was discussion surrounding what genre to pin the flick down in, but I wouldn’t say that there is one unless “The Descent with war instead of ladies in a cave and everyone is a monster” is a genre. Arguments were made that Centurion is a war movie, an action movie, or as a member of the Actionfest staff suggested, a chase movie. While none of these genres are inaccurate, none of them quite pin it down for me and I simply suggest that it is a good movie.

Finally, written praise is deserved by Actionfest and the Carolina theater (with its not one, but TWO bars) in Asheville, NC. Both are either things or places that I cannot wait to visit again. Should Actionfest become an annual event, I highly suggest making plans to attend. They brewed their own Actionfest beer, and that’s a level of dedication I intend to expose myself to as much as possible in this life.

Oh yeah, I wont say when, but at one point, a spear gets thrust into a dick. Four Stars.




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