Monday, July 13, 2009


WHAT THE MONSTERS TAUGHT ME: When in the Australian Outback, steer clear of the boar bangers.


Trapper John’s Hunky Foil, the World’s Worst Babysitter-Grampa, the Town Too Tough to Gut, Crocodile Ahab, the Aussie Beavis and Butthead, Miss Boar Derek, a fitting end to Kanga but Piglet got bottled, There Can Be Only One Man-Eating Pig, and will no one think of the wallabies?

More details here.


Jake Cullen (Bill Kerr) is a crusty old kangaroo hunter in the Australian Outback, and one evening his home is attacked by a giant wild boar – a razorback - that kills his Grandson and destroys his home. Branded a murderer by the residents of his town of Gamulla, Jake is alienated and chided for his story about the huge bloodthirsty pig. He then dedicates his life to hunting the pig that ate his family and ruined his life. Two years later, New York journalist Beth Winters (Judy Morris) arrives in the town to film a news story about the annual culling of wayward kangaroo and her approach is decidedly pro-animal, much to the chagrin of the local yokel blokes. After humiliating a couple of psycho slaughterhouse workers Benny (Chris Haywood) and Dicko (David Argue), Beth is run-off the road by the creeps, nearly raped, and left for dead for the razorback to dine on. Months later, Beth’s distraught husband Carl (Gregory Harrison) arrives to investigate the shady circumstances of his wife’s disappearance. He meets the obsessed Jake and his biologist friend Sarah (Arkie Whiteley) who hints that Benny and Dicko may be better help to help him track the land for clues. Suspecting that he is trying to link them to his wife’s death, the two psychos take Carl on a wild wallaby chase and abandon him in the middle of nowhere where he almost starves, hallucinates, and is pestered by pig farts. He is rescued by Sarah who nurtures him back to health, but Jake has been caught in a trap set by Benny and Dicko. As Sarah is close to discovering the location of the elusive and hungry Porky, Carl starts to puts the pieces of his wife’s murder together, but the ultimate solution will require a showdown of epic proportions – one man, one giant pig, and one big ass meat grinder. The late Oscar Mayer would be proud.


Some say that Spielberg’s Jaws set the standards for the modern nature-goes-awry horror film, and I for one will not argue that assumption. But director Russell Mulcahy’s Razorback cannot be simply written off as a dry-land Jaws, although there are similarities in tone and narrative structure. For one thing, the movie is pictorially surreal, defying the realistic setting, look, and feel of Jaws and opting for an otherworldly and apocalyptic atmosphere of austere desolation, a landscape littered by blood, shit, bones, and the ever-present stench of death. The gorgeous cinematography captures both the overwhelming beauty of the Outback and the inherent danger that dwells therein, from its ravenous creatures, cruel heat and vicious thunderstorms, and the wickedness of humanity that struggles to coexist with the natural world. Hence, most of this movie feels like the prototypical Outback walkabout – wandering the bush to experience nature at its rawest, discover the hellish conflict between man and the animal world, and perhaps find something new about oneself. But hey, this is still a monster movie, and Razorback delivers the goods as a cinematic nightmare with images of an all-too real monster that must be confronted in a lawless land of untamed brutalization void of social restrictions Much like in his subsequent Hollywood films such as the Highlander series and the recent Resident Evil: Extinction, Mulcahy brings his highly stylized visual approach to the film which is reminiscent of Ridley Scott and fellow Aussie George Miller. Truly, the movie is visual feast and it’s unfortunate that it’s not yet available in the U.S. on DVD (as of this writing). A combination of Jaws, Moby Dick, and A Cry in the Dark, Razorback isn’t just a movie about a killer pig, it’s also an expression about how nature will always come to claim what’s due despite our best attempts to tame her, the crown standard theme of a good creature feature. It’s in this regard that it succeeds as both an excellent monster movie and a reminder that bigger monsters await us when we interfere with nature. They are invisible to our eyes, bide their time, and will be more destructive than anything we can conceive in our darkest imaginations, ready to make us all squeal like a pig.

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