Tuesday, 30 August 2016


Title:  Razorback
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Released: 1984
Starring: Gregory Harrison, Arkie Whiteley, Bill Kerr, Chris Haywood, David Argue, Judy Morris, John Howard, John Ewart, Don Smith, Mervyn Drake

Plot: Two years after his grandson was killed by a massive razorback boar Jake (Kerr) has dedicated his life to hunting the creature in the Australian outback and soon finds himself teaming up with Carl (Harrison) the husband of a wildlife reporter also killed by the same boar.

Review: A film which has certainly been on my radar for some time but for one reason of another its taken me until now to actually watch it. This of course is quite surprising seeing how it’s a movie about a giant killer pig, which of all the eco-horrors is probably one of the rarer creatures of terror with only the much overlooked “Pig Hunt” coming to mind when I tried to think of another of these movies.

Opening to a pretty haunting attack on Jake’s home in which the razorback essentially charges through his house and dragging away his grandson, the film then proceeds to skip forward two years after he is wrong accused of murdering the child and acquitted due to lack of evidence the years which have passed having left him a bitter shell of his former self as like Quint in “Jaws” he seemingly lives only for revenge, while happy to contend himself in the meantime hunting the smaller boar in the area as he snarls to Beth

“There’s something about blasting the shit out of a razorback that brightens up my whole day.”

I love the fact here that Beth is setup like she will be the female lead of the film only to soon find herself turned into Razorback chow, following a failed rape attempt by local brothers and general thugs Benny (Haywood) and Dicko (Argue) who don’t take to kindly to her filming their illegal pet food operation.  Her death of course soon leading to her husband Carl turning up in town to look for her as the film plays things surprisingly like some kind of mystery thriller which would have been great had we not seen her clearly being attacked by the giant razorback.

Surprisingly though this is far from your traditional eco-horror seeing how the titular Razorback is for the most part very much a background character who appears infrequently to stir things up when the film starts to slow down.  Still despite hardly appearing in the film the fully animatronic model which cost $250,000 is still impressive to look at, especially when it comes to the snarling face unlike when its required to move anywhere where it looks like the model is being pushed around on castors than being given any kind of realistic movement.

Instead of the expected rampaging Razorback we instead spend way too much time following what almost feels like the plot for a revenge movie, especially with such a focus on Benny and Dicko trying to cover for their part in Beth’s death with Carl in the final quarter dedicating all his focus to hunting down the two brothers, before finally having a slaughterhouse showdown with the Razorback who essentially just shows up rather than because of any attempt to attract the creature. It almost feels like director Russell Mulcahy set out with the intention of making something intentionally different than your run of the mill eco-horror, more so when he brings such interesting imagery to what is a very straightforward story aswell as focusing more his human cast than his monster pig.

Equally disappointing are the few attacks we get with Beth’s death being as graphic (while strangely akward) as things get as this remains a surprisingly dry film in terms of gore.  The film still however manages to produce several surprisingly tense moments such as Carl spending the night in the outback being chased and tormented by the Razorback which while being intresting shot help to keep your interest and even without the gore it never feels like we are somehow being cheated out of something the film promised.

An interesting feature film debut for Mulcahy whose only film before this one was the concert documentary “Derek and Clive Get the Horn” aswell as some of the most memorable music videos of the 80’s especially for “Duran Duran” and “Elton John” for who he was seemingly the music video director of choice. That being said though as a movie director Mulcahy’s resume is equally impressive as he followed this film with the first two film in the “Highlander” series before drifting into directing TV and DTV features.  Teaming up here though with Dean Semler  who takes on director of photography while at the same time bringing his same eye for the Australian outback that he brought to “Mad Max 2” as its shown here once more as beautiful hostile environment where if the wildlife doesn’t kill you then one of the grizzled backward locals might. We even get a pair of trucks which look like leftover stock from “Mad Max 2” while covering the requirement that any Ozploitation movie most feature a healthy dose of car porn and here it certainly delivers not only with the trucks aswell as a posse of hunters heading out on a half-assed attempt to hunt the creature, whose enthusiasm only seemingly stretches to dashing off in a convoy of trucks only to find they’ve been mislead by the tracker and at which point give up the hunt without a second thought of looking in the nearby area, especially when they can be boozing it up in the local bar instead.

A strange film to say the least and one which managed to enthral and disappointment me to with equal measure which I couldn’t place if it was down to my own high expectations of getting to see “Jaws on Trotters” or Mulcahy’s general directing style. As such it makes it a hard film to recommend especially when it fails in the sense of being a traditional eco-horror yet at the same time its characters and interesting visuals help to hold your attention for the questionably large amount of times you’re not getting to see the pig.

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