Irish Menace

It’s a shame Rawhead Rex’s title monster is such an unbelievable, rubbery dud. Around that beast, Clive Barker crafted an intensely religious mythology about Irish Catholicism, hidden scriptures, and evil’s ability to corrupt even the most pure among us.

The town, conveniently visited by occult researcher Howard Hallenbeck (David Dukes) as murders begin, is rife with caring folk, but many are consumed by a demonic force, killed outright, or succumbing to the inherent fear. Partly legend hidden by the church centuries ago, Rawhead Rex stalks the land unopposed as the script doles out a generic “baffled authorities” storyline.

Rawhead Rex doesn’t rise above a generic slasher – a direct-to-video one at that

What’s more interesting is the local church, supposedly a sanctuary, quickly ripped apart by the title creature. Rawhead Rex rips a Jesus painting, smashes a cross, and defiles the building’s inhabitants, all acts of vengeance for sealing him away, then burying the secret. Like a Satanic figure, Rawhead Rex manipulates the truest believers to his cause, a surreal, bizarre progression that turns people outwardly acidic in their language and physical actions.

But then Rex comes on screen, piloted by a then mere 19-year-old non-actor who flails his arms around like a kid pretending to be a monster on the playground. The look is absurd, and the performance removes any distinctive character from the recently risen beast. That wipes away any earned goodwill from Barker’s decidedly Catholic-focused lore that makes literal the metaphysical beliefs. Red eyes, a snarling face, and tattered clothing make for an imposing figure in stills – truly demonic – then ruined when in motion. It’s laughable.

Add in a moment of pointless nudity, numerous severed heads, and bloodied faces galore, and Rawhead Rex doesn’t rise above a generic slasher – a direct-to-video one at that. Credit to the editing team for showing Rawhead Rex so often, as lower budget fare favors a hidden approach, but in this case, the legitimacy is lost seconds after his first appearance.


A truly startling image quality welcomes Rawhead Rex into the 4K era. Sharpness is nothing less than perfect, revealing gobs of detail. Countryside imagery captures every dirt speck on concrete, every leaf on trees, and facial definition galore. Texture looks outstanding, as rich, gorgeous, and as defined as possible.

While the encode struggles a touch during the rare grain spikes, it’s otherwise pristine. Near perfect, even if a few spots look suspiciously artificial (around 10-minutes for one example). Minor ringing can be noticed, as can some grain sticking to the actors as they move. The print shows hardly any damage outside of visual effect composites.

Dazzling color saturation lets every primary breathe and swell. Intense saturation doesn’t impact flesh tones aside from the slightest warmth. Stained glass inside the church sports some of the best hues seen in a catalog title on this format. Perfect black levels accentuate depth, with a soft, natural contrast aided by the Dolby Vision.


DTS-HD stereo and 5.1 provide the basic soundstage. Neither particularly embraces directionality, confining the sound to the center with only slight breaks into the rears/stereos. Neither mix provides Rawhead Rex with much boom (or any, for that matter).

Other than the minimal range, Rawhead Rex doesn’t cause any aural complaints. Fidelity sounds accurate to the era, slightly dull, but firm.


Director George Pavlou is helped along by moderator/author Stephen Thrower on a commentary track. Six interview segments dig into the cast, including Heinrich von Bunau who play Rawhead Rex. Crew members, artists, composer Colin Towns, and the cast all have their say.

Rawhead Rex
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Cheap and generic, Rawhead Rex lacks the Clive Barker touch outside of its religious connotations.

User Review
4.5 (4 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 39 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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