RAWHEAD REX (1986) Reviews and overview

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Rawhead Rex was released on Limited Edition Steelbook Blu-ray on October 13, 2020, by Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Only 4,000 units were released, available exclusively on Amazon.com for $39.95. Rawhead Rex was previously restored in 2017 in 4K from the original camera negative for its Blu-ray debut. The same 4K transfer is presented here with 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Lossless audio options plus two new additional featurettes and the existing extras. The new Steelbook artwork is by Sean Phillips.

Audio commentary with director George Pavlou, moderated by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower
Interview with Rawhead Rex actor Heinrich von Bünau
Interview with actors Hugh O’Conor and Cora Venus Lunny (new)
Interview with actor Ronan Wilmot
Interview with composer Colin Towns (new)
Interviews with crew members Peter Mackenzie Litten, Gerry Johnston, Rosie Blackmore, John Schoonraad, and Sean Corcoran
Interview with cameraman Sean Corcoran
Interview with artist Stephen R. Bissette, co-creator of John Constantine, an instructor at the Center for Cartoon Studies
Behind-the-scenes image gallery
Theatrical trailer
Booklet featuring a new essay


‘He’s pure evil. Pure power. Pure terror.’

Rawhead Red is a 1986 British-Irish supernatural horror film directed by George Pavlou (Little Devils: The Birth; Underworld) from a screenplay written by Clive Barker (Lord of Illusions; Nightbreed; Hellraiser).

The movie stars David Dukes, Kelly Piper and Ronan Wilmott.


The film is about a monstrous pagan god’s bloody rampage through the Irish countryside and is based on the short story by Clive Barker that originally appeared in vol. 3 of his Books of Blood series.

Kino Lorber issued the film on October 17, 2017, on DVD and Blu-ray. Special features include:

  • Brand new 4K Restoration – From the Original Camera Negative
  • Audio Commentary with Director George Pavlou, moderated by Stephen Thrower
  • Interview with Actor Heinrich von Bünau (Rawhead Rex)
  • Interview with Actor Ronan Wilmot (Declan O’Brien)
  • Interview with SFX/MU Crew Members Gerry Johnston (SFX Supervisor), Peter Mackenzie Litten (SFX Creature Effects), John Schoonraad (SFX Mould Maker) & Rosie Blackmore (Makeup Artist)
  • Interview with Cameraman Sean Corcoran
  • Interview with Stephen R. Bissette, co-creator of John Constantine, an instructor at the Center for Cartoon Studies
  • Collector’s Booklet
  • Animated Behind-the-Scenes Image Gallery
  • Limited Edition Slipcase of the New Poster Art by Sean Phillips
  • Reversible Art
  • 5.1 Surround Audio
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

In the UK, Arrow Video has released Rawhead Rex on Blu-ray with almost the same extras.

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

Howard Hallenbeck (David Dukes) travels to Ireland to research items of religious significance. He goes to a rural church to photograph some graves.

Meanwhile, three farmers are attempting to remove an ominous stone column from a field. Two of the farmers head home. A thunderstorm appears out of nowhere, and smoke pours from the ground. Lightning strikes the column. The monster Rawhead Rex rises from the dirt…


After misguidedly attempting to move a large stone in his field, an Irish farmer unleashes a vicious long-slumbering God upon the few residents and holidaymakers in this just-about enjoyably bad relic from the dusty shelves of 1980s video rental stores.


More the work of the Irish tourist board than an effective horror film (prepare to see a lot of the countryside), Barker has all but disowned the film, claiming it bears little resemblance to his “vision”. In fairness, his “vision” did dictate Rex should resemble “a 9-foot phallus with teeth” so perhaps we should cut the makers a little slack?

A travelling American historian is helpfully on-hand to stop the behemoth whose rubber, the buck-toothed visage is immediately not in the least scary, though iconic in the sense that when you see pictures of it, it makes you say, “ah, Rawhead Rex…” (not in a particularly fond way). A useless vicar and a possessed verger are not enough to prevent our hero from solving the mystery of how to send him back whence he came, via the worst stained glass you’ve ever seen.


Rawhead Rex is pleasingly splattery in places but perhaps understandably cuts away quickly to avoid ’80s censorship issues. Lead actor, David Dukes, performs reasonably as the American abroad though sports a cardigan more monstrous than Rex.

The rest of the cast is rather more akin to the cast of Irish comedy Father Ted than creature features and for all his dismissal, Barker’s script is uninspiring stuff. The would-be mythical mayhem of a tale does leave us with one unsolved question though – why would a nine-foot, flesh-eating God need to wear shoes?

Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:

“The effects are decent enough. It’s not a great horror movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it does what it should. Rawhead appears in the first 10 minutes of the movie. They set up some characters. The first kill is 15 minutes in.” Awful Horror Movies

“One of the biggest missteps here though is the choice to skimp out on most of the gore opportunities. Sure, there’s a couple of good shots of Rex hoisting a severed head high into the air, but most of the scenes cut away long before any FX start. It’s unfortunate because I think if this was done well, this could be a genre classic instead of a genre curiosity.” Silver Emulsion Film Reviews

” …Rawhead Rex is a squeaky clean, latex rubber-man fresh out of the mold–looking more like a drooling college football mascot than an evil ancient god. Director Pavlou moves his film at a snail’s pace, demonstrating little flair for suspense or even simple shock.” TV Guide

” …a healthy portion of equally unconvincing gore and stunts, one of the most flagrantly gratuitous topless scenes from all 80s horror (yes, that’s saying something), and a finale which makes very little sense no matter how heavily under the influence the viewer might be, and it all adds up to some prime Friday night fun.” Warped Perspective

Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

Buy A3 canvas poster from Amazon.co.uk

Main cast and characters:

David Dukes … Howard Hallenbeck
Kelly Piper … Elaine Hallenbeck
Hugh O’Conor … Robbie Hallenbeck
Cora Venus Lunny … Minty Hallenbeck (as Cora Lunny)
Ronan Wilmot … Declan O’Brien
Niall Toibin … Reverend Coot
Niall O’Brien … Det. Insp. Isaac Gissing
Heinrich von Schellendorf … Rawhead Rex
Donal McCann … Tom Garron
Eleanor Feely … Jenny Nicholson
Gladys Sheehan … Ena Benedict
Madelyn Erskine … Alice Gibson
Gerry Walsh … Dennis McHugh
Noel O’Donovan … Mitch Harney
John Olohan … Dennis Nicholson

Filming locations:

Leinster, County Wicklow, Ireland

Technical details:

86 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Dolby

Fun facts:

The film was promoted as RawHeadRex


MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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