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Razorback - DVD - Anchor Bay UK Print E-mail
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
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Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Artwork on Severed Cinema

AKA: Dödens käftar, Harjaniska, Hirmukarju, Los colmillos del infierno, O Corte da Navalh, Pokolszülött, As Garras do Terror, Kampfkoloß der Hölle, O Javali Assassino.

Directed by:
Russell Mulcahy
Written by:
Everett De Roche (from the novel by Peter Brennan)
Produced by:
Hal McElroy
Cinematography by:
Dean Semler
Editing by:
William M Anderson
Music by:
Iva Davies
Special Effects by:
Bob McCarron, Brian Cox, Guillermo Masterchoto
Cast:
Gregory Harrison, Bill Kerr, Chris Haywood, Arkie Whiteley, Judy Morris, David Argue
Year:
1984
Country:
Australia
Language:
English
Color:
Color
Runtime:
1h 35min

Distributor: Anchor Bay UK

After watching the recent "Pig Hunt" (which incidentally gets a big Creepy thumbs up for being a genuine thrilling modern film with a late 70’s feel) we decided to have a hog horror theme.  The only other one we had kicking around was "Razorback," a mid eighties Australian chiller.  Horrors from that region of the world are sparse around the era of the seventies and eighties, but most are watchable and highly enjoyable.  Think "Road Games," "Patrick," "Turkey Shoot," can we could think "Ghosts….of the Civil Dead"? I like to for its graphic chilling atmosphere.  There’s a handful of examples and if you’ve seen them they certainly stick in your head for a long time.

"Razorback" is no exception.  Personally it’s one of my fondest movie memories from that part of the eighties.  I’d taped it off late night TV around ’86 I think, and watched it a good few times.  The following review is taken from the 2005 Anchor Bay UK release and the first thing you see as you load the DVD is a menu constructed around the film's Petpak factory.  It’s awesome. Meat trundling along a conveyor belt, swinging carcasses, dripping blood forms extras and the subtitles selection is actually a rusty old on/off switch. My Horror Soulmate spent ages just exploring the menus alone.

"Razorback" is like another world.  The outback as portrayed in the film is like a painting or the end of the world, all reds, shadows and wind blowing.  We meet Jake at his dusty ranch who is cuddling his grandson.  He hears low snorts outside after placing the toddler down so he grabs a rifle.  Suddenly something huge crashes through his home and takes his grandson.  Jake wanders outside crying as his home burns down behind him, hearing the child screaming somewhere in the night.

The small backwater town condemn him since no one has seen the huge razorback boar he describes.  Two years pass by and Jake has become an obsessed hunter of the killer pig, prowling the deserts and waterholes, alone and tormented.

We switch to New York and meet Carl and Beth.  She is an animal activist on her way to Australia with a cameraman, to the town of Granulla where there’s stories of a local pet food factory using kangaroo and deer meat.  When she arrives in the town -- which seems to consist of a couple of shacks and a bar -- the locals are typical screw-faces, all glaring and mistrusting.  Look out for the guy riding a camel whilst listening to a bloody boombox!  That was so cool!

Beth gets on the wrong side of two brothers, Benny and Dicko who own Petpak, the  above mentioned factory.  They are a lot like The Dangerous Brothers who were an early sketch show act by Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall  (for all you Americans they are the people behind Bottom and Guest House Paradiso and specialise in a violent and vulgar kind of slapstick. They’ve been part of UK series like The Comic Strip, Filthy, Rich and Catflap and The Young Ones as well) Benny and Dicko also drive a truck which is almost steampunk and at the time was heavily inspired by the vehicles in "Mad Max 2" aka "The Road Warrior."  Anyway, Beth films around the factory, is chased off by them and then run off the road.

Do ya wanna make love?” Dicko drags her from the car but the brothers drive off when something huge slams into their parked truck.  Beth is never seen again.

Not long after, Carl arrives in town to trace her last day and night and hopefully get some clues.  His first point of call is Jake who was briefly captured on film talking to Beth.  Jake has checked all of the area and the crash site.  He tells Carl about the Razorback and also points him in the direction of Petpak.  Carl meets the two brothers who are both clearly off their heads but are quite friendly.  They invite him to their home which is basically a huge underground mess full of junk that would make a hoarder scream in delight.  They plan to take him on a nightly hunt.  “Wakey wakey, hands off snakey!” in the middle of the night and out they go.  When Beth is mentioned they get a little tense.  Benny tells him the cops believe she fell into a mineshaft.  Carl holds back on who he really is.

Night time in the outback gives the director a chance to be arty.  My Horror Soulmate said that one particular shot is like looking at a Dali painting.  The direction and wide panning shots are one of the great strengths of this film.  The director had music video experience and he really loves lengthy sweeping visuals and zooms.   The colours also play well, a landscape of dull reds and shadows.  I suppose a close comparison can be found with Richard Stanley and his films "Hardware" and "Dust Devil."  It works very well and makes the regions look like a thing of wonder and sometimes hell itself.  "Wolf Creek" and other more recent movies cannot capture the same feel.

Next, one thing leads to another and Carl is left alone in the cold night to skin a dead animal.  He goes wandering the broken desert grounds, past gnarled trees and a huge gang of wild pigs scare him until something large scares them off (watch for the moon changing position in the sky at one point, continuity is hard work when filming hours apart).

Daylight comes and an exhausted dehydrated Carl wanders aimlessly until coming across the farm of Sarah Cameron, played by the late Arkie ("Mad Max 2") Whitely, who then helps him.  At the mention of the large thing scaring the pigs, she calls Jake over and the hunt begins.

"Razorback" is a bleak desolate film which is one of a kind in that era.  Stephen King’s "Graveyard Shift" borrowed heavily from this as did films like" Blood River" but overall "Razorback" is almost forgotten.  It held back in the blood and gore department which is unusual for the early eighties (especially due to the subject matter) and instead relied on building tension and fast shocks.  It is populated by lonely bitter or lost outcasts.  The cast are decent enough (apart from Gregory Harrison as Carl who isn’t leading man material at all).  The Baker Brothers are especially good characters.  They are total scumbags but you can’t help laughing at some of their screen moments.  Arkie Whitely and Bill Kerr as Jake both really carry the film; when they’re on, it all really steps up a level.  The director is very skilled in keeping tension mounting (he went on to shoot some Highlanders, and recently has shot some episodes of the "Teen Wolf" series…. Uuuhhhh) and wisely the film hides the Razorback from view.  It is seen in the dark as a moving shadow, a side view, its face, but never as a whole monster and that is a hell of a strength since you can see it’s a big beast however you never quite realise how big.

The film tail ended the 80’s nasties and was balanced in a limbo time before teen vampire films and MTV styled effects mad flicks came in to fashion. "Razorback" is a time capsule and I doubt there’ll be a film quite like it again.

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema
 

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Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema


Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Razorback Anchor Bay UK DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 16:9
 Region: PAL R2
 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Theatrical Trailer
 - Biographies
 - Stills Gallery
 - Film notes

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 July 2012 )
 
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