Clive Barker's Rawhead Rex crawls out from under its phallic tombstone to curse Blu-ray once again with a brand new SteelBook Blu-ray release from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Offering the same great transfer and audio mix, this new release offers up two new interviews that were included with Arrow's UK release along with the same previous bonus features. If you already own the original excellent KLSC release, a SteelBook may not be the incentive for an upgrade, but if you haven't added this to your horror collection - this is SteelBook is a cool way to go. The movie is an 80s horror classic perfect for the Halloween season - Highly Recommended.
"They called him RAWHEAD!!!!"
While touring Ireland with his family researching a book, Howard Hallenbeck (David Dukes) will come face to face with the demon, Rawhead Rex! Entombed for a thousand years, the ancient evil has been waiting to rise again. Thanks to a local farmer unwittingly letting the beast loose - everyone is in danger. As the creature attacks and devours people throughout the sleepy hamlet of Rathmore, Howard will have to find a way to stop the creature using his research to piece together ancient clues.
As I said in my original review, Rawhead Rex is far from being a great movie - it's just an incredibly entertaining one. On one hand, I love the mood and atmosphere of this film. It's a very damp movie, perfect for the fall season with cold rains and wet leaves. The score is creepy giving the movie a constant sense of dread. On the other hand, it's incredibly campy - and unintentionally funny. Performances are all over the map with David Dukes pulling in a restrained determined lead while side players like Ronan Wilmont have only one volume and it's pretty damn loud. Then you get the creature himself - a creepy design brought to life with a goofy rubber mask and bright glowing red eyes that make him look cross-eyed. It's a creature design that works in wide and middle shots, but the closeups are giggle-inducing.
Ups and downs aside, Rawhead Rex remains a favorite. My childhood years watching local Detroit television WXYZ TV20 for their Saturday thriller double feature was peppered with regular viewings of this classic. As bad as it is, horror fans need to be grateful that it exists. If this movie hadn't flopped so hard at the box office Clive Barker wouldn't have taken control of his own works and made Hellraiser himself. Even as a flop, there's a lot to enjoy here. Granted not everything worked out as intended, but it's still an entertaining and effective flick.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Rawhead Rex earns a second outing on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics in a single-disc Blu-ray SteelBook release exclusive to Amazon. Pressed on a Region A BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a SteelBook case with the outer artwork recreating the slipcover art of the original release with sketches of Rawhead lining the inside. This new pressing of the disc also gets custom artwork instead of the generic art of the previous disc. Also included is the same booklet as before. The disc opens to a similar main menu, but it's been tweaked a bit and isn't 100% identical.
From our original 2017 Blu-ray Review:
"Minted from a fresh 4K scan of the original camera negative, this is honestly better than anything I could have hoped for - especially for a film of this vintage and stature. The elements are in pretty terrific shape with the only visible damage being some very slight speckling. Film grain is intact without being noisy or intrusive - some scenes that look like heavy grain is actually rain as the filmmakers had to shoot around the weather. Detail levels, for better or worse, are strikingly clear allowing you to see and appreciate all of the textures of the clothing, the production design work, and yes, even the titular Rawhead's rubber head and fake hand with retractable claws."
From our original 2017 Blu-ray Review:
"Rawhead Rex arrives with a pair of audio options to choose from and both have their strengths. Between an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 or 2.0 stereo mix, you really can't go wrong. The 5.1 mix is well designed that spreads out the elements and gives the mix a great sense of atmosphere and space - especially during the quieter conversation segments. When the action kicks in and Rawhead attacks the mix really picks up and there is a lot of great surround activity. However, if you're a traditionalist, the 2.0 mix is also very effective."
All of the previous bonus features return for this release of Rawhead Rex with a couple of new additions brought over from Arrow Videos' UK release of this film - an interview with the actors that played siblings on the film. It's a fun interview since they were so young when it was made they have some great memories of the production. They also allude to a lot of gore - especially around the death of the boy that didn't make the final cut. After that - the next new feature is another interview with composer Colin Towns that charts a course from the musician's time in rock n' roll to becoming a film composer and working on this film.
We may not have needed another release of Rawhead Rex - I for one would have loved to get this on 4K UHD Blu-ray with HDR - but Kino Lorber Studio Classics delivers another excellent release of this one for the fans. Just in time for Halloween, you now get a new SteelBook release of the recent custom artwork that makes a pretty classy piece. Not to leave it to custom art to entice you, there are two new interviews that were only available with the Arrow Video UK release that have been brought over. The same terrific A/V presentation is included. Perhaps not enough to entice folks for a double-dip, but if you missed out on the limited edition with the slipcover, this Amazon exclusive SteelBook is the perfect set to add to the collection. Highly Recommended.