Pitched as ‘Jaws on trotters’, this creature feature rises above its B-grade premise of a killer pig thanks to American ex-pat screenwriter Everett De Roche’s script and Russel Mulcahy’s distinct, music video style.
When a movie opens with world-weary grandfather Jake (Bill Kerr) putting his grandson to bed only to have the pig burst into the house and drag the child off into the night, you know you’re in for a trip. With shades of the Lindy Chamberlain case, Jake goes to trial but is acquitted for the child’s death. In the community’s eyes, he remains suspicious. While he searches for the boar that gorged his grandson, American traveller Carl (Gregory Harrison) searches for his missing girlfriend, a wildlife reporter who’s met a grisly fate at both the hands of a man and tusks of the eponymous pig.
While the storyline may not be the most sophisticated, the film is lauded for its visual flare and uncanny environment. As The New York Times notes, “the landscapes… have a wonderfully bizarre, almost Dali-esque character. This is a place where the full moon never wanes…”
Likewise, the limitations imposed by the quality of the animatronic boar also inform the optic amazement. Though it cost $250,000 to make, Razorback doesn’t look that great, so Mulcahy treats the creature much like Spielberg does his great white – it’s rarely seen.
The Guardian’s Luke Buckmaster considers the limitation a boon. “The director took on the challenge with gusto, creating a berserk aesthetic infused with POV shots, busy backgrounds, images graded with extreme colour and shadows and mega close-ups of the creature’s tusks and mouth. Razorback is a work of gut-busting visual bravado.”
Not bad praise for the man who directed Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’.
Rusell Mulcahy also holds the honour of being the director of the first video clip to ever appear on MTV.
The trailer for Razorback
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In ACMI's collection
Animals & Wildlife → Animal films
Feature films → Feature films - Australia
VHS; Access Print (Section 1)