MOVIE REVIEW | ***AUSSIE WEEK 2*** Razorback (1984)


“There’s something about blasting the shit out of a razorback that brightens up my whole day.”

The Australian film industry tries a little too hard most of the time.  Its inferiority complex means the kinds of films that get funding tend to be the kinds of films that the industry can snootily hold their nose up over, because they’ve made something important, high brow and pretentious.  But a lot of the time, it’s the movies that indulge in not so prestigious genre fare that end up with the enduring legacies.  Things like broad comedy in Crocodile Dundee, or last year’s horror sensation, The Babdook.  30 years ago, when someone decided to finance a horror, monster movie about a killer pig, I don’t think they set out to make anything important, high brow and pretentious.  But what they did make, is a genre cult classic.  They made Razorback.

Jake (Bill Kerr) is babysitting his grandson in his outback home when attacked by a giant, wild boar.  Jack survives, but his grandson is taken, and presumably killed by the pig.  With the giant killer pig story a little hard to accept, local authorities accuse Jack of killing the boy himself.  A couple of years later, an American reporter (Judy Morris as Beth) arrives in Jack’s town to film a story about hunters and endangered species.  After a run in with some local creeps, Beth has her own encounter with the killer pig.

When Beth is reported missing, her husband (Gregory Harrison as Carl) heads to Australia in search of his wife.  He meets Jake who has sworn revenge on the pig since his grandson’s death, and Carl is soon added to the pig’s hit list as well.  All the while, there’s something sinister happening in this tiny town that could have something to do with why this pig’s so cranky.

Razorback is cheap and nasty and silly and hammy and very self aware.  Usually, they’re the kinds of ingredients that make for a great genre movie.  But here, it just never really worked for me.  The cheap and nasty aspects weren’t cheap and nasty enough and the scares just never came.  I don’t think it ever really embraced its own shittiness enough.  It feels like the film makers were probably 98% aware that they were making B-grade stuff, but there was still that 2% in the back of their minds thinking that just maybe, they were making something better than that.

According to the Wikipedia entry, Razorback had a budget of $5.5million.  For this movie to have cost so much, there must been a shit load of high end hookers and class A drugs on that set.  Because as far as I could tell, the most expensive aspect that made it to the screen was the constantly billowing smoke machine and red gels to put on every light.

It’s not good enough to be good, it’s not even bad enough to be so bad its good.  Razorback has somehow managed to carve out its own little piece of cult status.  And there’s a patriotic side of me that likes that, just because I wish there were more Australian movies that endured half as long as something like this.  But I also can’t imagine a single reason for why I will ever watch Razorback again.

Directed By – Russell Mulcahy
Written By – Everett De Roche

One thought on “MOVIE REVIEW | ***AUSSIE WEEK 2*** Razorback (1984)

  1. Russell dragged his trusty smoke machine and red gels from Elton John and Duran Duran film clips to the world of features. What a mess! His head was so far up his own arse he missed the opportunity to make something very cool. Dickhead.

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