The final part of the GIANT PIG Trilogy: Razorback(1984) stole my Grandson!

The third, and easily the best, of the GIANT PIG films has finally come my way. Often labelled as a Jaws rip-off, not without some justification, Razorback is Australia’s take on the large killer swine. Before I start, though, I have to say that I’m hugely impressed at a lot of the posters that I looked at for this. I went for the German one in the end, because it’s fucking cool, but I could easily have picked one of about 10. They just don’t make posters like this any more. I also love some of the straplines, such as Britain’s “It has two states of being: Dangerous or Dead” and Australia’s fantastic “900 pounds of marauding tusk and muscle.” Couple these brilliant taglines with that fantastic artwork, and goddamnit I almost want to watch the film again. Anyhoo, buckle up, because we’re going to the Outback to deal with the largest and easily the most dangerous GIANT PIG ever committed to Cinema. Unfortunately, we’ve got Russel Mulcahy as a guide, but if we can keep him off the gear for long enough we should be alright.

This film is absolutely gorgeous looking.

Razorback has easily the best opening of any GIANT PIG movie. A large and pissed off hog explodes out of the blue and literally punches through an old man’s house carrying his grandson off into the outback. This is simply spectacular and a brilliant calling card for the rest of the film. In fact, this scene and the following trial of Grandpa Quint Jake (Bill Kerr), buy the film a lot of time in my opinion. The trial in particular with its echoes of the “Dingo stole my baby” trial from roughly the same period is actually quite unsettling in a way- the townspeople are out for blood and they struggle to believe that the animal expert couldn’t do anything to stop the pig. Enter our “heroes”, Carl and Beth (Gregory Harrison and Judy Morris), they’re a pair of vanilla as hell dimwits wandering around the outback. Beth disappears at the hands of two inbreds, Benny and Dicko (Chris Haywood & David Argue), and Carl has a disconcerting encounter with our giant porker. He’s rescued by Sarah (Arkie Whitely, now sadly dead) and this sparks the film into life and the battle for survival between Carl, Jake, Sarah and the oversized porker.

"Britney, show us your mohican".

Firstly, this film looks fucking fantastic. Mulcahy started life as a music video director, and his previous credits include the (no matter what you think of the song or fat Welsh ginger bird Bonnie Tyler) fantastic Children of the Damned style Total Eclipse of the Heart music video. He’s absolutely in love with the Aussie outback, and much of the stunning visual work here is of lingering shots of it. There’s also no little visual flair in the shot composition of some of the various minor scenes as well, and I think my favourite is Razorback stealing the corner of a man’s house as he watches his TV diminish into the distance. This is both a very amusing scene and a very effective one.

That's not a GIANT PIG. That's a wabbit!

Secondly, there are a number of fantastic set pieces in the film. The first is the huge hog’s rampage through the house which is without equal in GIANT PIG films, but leaving that aside, the scene at the watering hole with Razorback chilling with his smaller pig minions is stunning- even if Mulcahy does flat-out nick Spielberg’s famous zooming in shot from Jaws. This is a breathtakingly exciting part of the film, and watching the old codger pump round after round into the ginormous beast with little effect is genuinely gripping.

"Drugs are bad, mmmkay"

Which brings me on to my next point, the film uses the GIANT PIG extremely effectively. They obviously didn’t have the cash or the technology that later GIANT PIG efforts use, so for the most part the porker is hidden or kept off camera. When he is on, in the finale in the industrial looking warehouse bit, he’s not a disappointment being a huge mass of tusk and muscle and looking more than a little bit pissed off. As a model on covering up the limitations of budget, I find it very hard to fault Razorback. It did help that Mulcahy shot this section of the film with a heavy blue filter, and cleverly hid the bottom half of the pig mostly from sight.

You really don't need a sniper scope to hit a GIANT PIG from 50 yards. The fucker is huge.

The acting from the long pigs, as opposed to the GIANT PIG, is OK. Harrison is suitably bland and stupid in the lead, and it’s clear that he’s miles out of his depth. Whitely is sweet as the piggy expert, and Kerr magnificent as the grizzled ‘Roo hunter (the film may as well have called him Quint, to be honest), being a man on an obsessive Ahab-esque mission to capture and kill the giant pig and nail his hide outside the pub so everyone can see that he’s telling the truth. Haywood and Argue are also both good as the gruesome twosome but it’s their presence that leads to the problems in the film.

Who's a pretty boy then?

Basically, they aren’t needed, and more than that are actively nasty. The GIANT PIG is enough of a threat without these two dimwit refugees from Aussie Deliverance turning up and being overly unpleasant on camera. The Outback itself is a bleak, dangerous and desolate location, and is enough of a threat by itself, you don’t need these two absolute fucknuckles hanging around ruining the tone of the film. They’re so viscerally revolting that their every appearance on screen made me wince this time around, and they almost manage to take the shine of what is basically a fun Jaws on land effort.

GIANT PIG! GIANT FUCKING PIG!

At the end of the day this is a film I want to like much more than I actually do like it. Individual moments in it are genuinely awesome, and Mulcahy’s grab bag of directorial tricks ensures that the film is never less than glorious. Even watching today I was surprised at how good the exhaustion induced hallucination scene looks, and I just rue the fact that the script stuffed those two inbred nasties (honestly, they would fit right in at the dinner table in Texas Chainsaw Massacre) into the film. They aren’t needed, aren’t pleasant and are basically a rotten idea.

GIANT PIG! GIANT FUCKING PIG! REALLY FUCKING BIG FUCKING PIG!

However, what I think doesn’t matter, so let’s hand over to GIANT PIG for his final summary:

MEATBAGS!

HEAR THE FINAL WORD OF THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE GIANT PIG!

I AM PLEASED WITH THIS EFFORT AND WOULD LIKE TO THANK AUSTRALIA FOR STEALING JAWS AND DEDICATING IT TO THE GLORY OF GIANT PIG!

THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, AND ONE THAT PLEASES ME IN MY PORCINE MAGNIFICENCE.

HOWEVER, THERE IS FAR TOO MUCH FUCKING AROUND WITH INBREDS THAT ARE NOT FIT TO FLOSS MY TUSKS. WHAT IS THIS ABOUT? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PLAYING AT? DO YOU THINK MY WORSHIPERS CARE ABOUT THESE TWO FARTKNOCKERS? BECAUSE I PROMISE YOU, MEATBAGS, THAT THEY DO NOT.

NEVERTHELESS, THERE IS PLENTY OF SPLENDID GIANT PIG ACTION, AND THE WORLD CAN WITNESS THE DEVASTATION THAT GIANT PIG CAN WREAK  ON YOUR FLIMSY HUMAN HABITATIONS.

THEREFORE, GIANT PIG IS PLEASED WITH YOU. AS A REWARD, I SHALL NOT CRUSH YOU BENEATH MY IMPOSING BULK AND I SHALL ENSURE THAT YOUR DOMICILE REMAINS UNMOLESTED.

NOW, BEGONE FROM MY SIGHT MEATBAGS, LEST YOU FEEL THE WRATH OF THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS GIANT PIG!

So, despite my misgivings, the pig digs Razorback. I have to agree with him, actually, that this clearly the best of the GIANT PIG FILMS made, so kudos to Australia.

Now, let’s have an actual good one, featuring a proper GIANT PIG and no crap with cults, hillbillies, the town from Twin Peaks and the rest of it.

Until next time,

Jarv.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

18 responses to “The final part of the GIANT PIG Trilogy: Razorback(1984) stole my Grandson!”

  1. Continentalop says :

    Good review Jarv for a truly under appreciated film. It’s not a masterpiece but it is way better than I ever expected and it actually holds up to multiple viewings (been awhile since I’ve seen it last though). 

    One thing though, while Razorback is obviously aping a lot of Jaws I think it is also just as much indebted to another suspense classic – Psycho. No, really. 

    Excluding the opening prologue, if I remember right both films play out similarly: a young beautiful woman whom we assume is the lead is forced to travel somewhere and where she’ll suddenly be killed at the end of the 1st act. After that her lover will end up looking for her under a false belief (in Psycho he assumes she has ran off and is hiding with the money; in Razorback he comes to Australia because she’s a missing person who probably ran into trouble because she was a reporter, not because of a giant pig).  Only later will either guy find out the truth. 

    Not saying exactly like Psycho but definitely an influence in my opinion. 

  2. Bartleby says :

    Droid and I reviewed this quite a while ago at PCN, and came to largely the same conclusion. It’s very nice to look at it, uses the giant pig splendidly and is mostly enjoyable…until the outback bushbillies show up. They really take the whole thing down a few pegs, and I dont really like the way they interfere in the old hunter storyline. He’s poised to get his revenge, and then one of the dumbest undercutting of resources and expectations I’ve seen.

    Not one usually for internet memes, but have you seen the literal video version of Total Eclipse of the Heart? Fun stuff. Mullet with headlights!

    • Jarv says :

      The old hunter blatantly= Quint crossed with Captain Ahab, and he’s the heart of the film. The two clowns just fuck things up whenever on screen. There’s no avoiding it.

      • Bartleby says :

        hes the heart of the film…until, well, he’s not. and he goes out like such a bitch that it ruined the film for me. Im still thumbs up on it, but the truly good giant pig movie has yet to be made.

        I have one Im waiting to watch called prey–cant figure if its giant or normal sized wild pigs.

      • Jarv says :

        Do you mean the one with Weller? That’s not pigs, that’s Lions.

      • Jarv says :

        Oh and you were right about Razor Blade Smile. So unspeakably shite that I’m not sure I can be arsed to review it.

      • Jarv says :

        In cheery news- film that everyone should watch is the Aussie Running Man/ Most Dangerous Game.

        Called either Blood Camp Thatcher, Turkey Shoot or Escape 2000, it stars Railsback and is downright fucking hilarious. The entire film is worth it for Tito and his pet Werewolf Alph. Apparently he found Alph in a circus.

        Juggs, violence, lots of violence, bush, comedy, stupidity, it’s a massively superb piece of dumbhouse.

        The director? That’ll be Trenchard-Smith again.

      • Bartleby says :

        Thats Prey 2007 you are talking about.

        This is a foreign film called Prey: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0907305/

  3. tombando says :

    Time for Jarv to do Grizzly. We deserve it, Christopher George deserves it, the Bear deserves it.

    • Jarv says :

      I was thinking about a setting free the bears trilogy now I’ve finished GIANT PIG!

      Prophecy, Grizzly and A.N.Other that I’m not sure of.

  4. Just Pillow Talk says :

    I’m assuming that the filmmaker’s weren’t confident enough with the rampaging pig as to why they included the hillbillies? I don’t understand why you have a rampaging animal/creature and you take away from that with stupid subplots that add nothing to the overall proceedings.

    • Jarv says :

      No idea. I think it was monetary- the pig is animatronic so the film has to hide it for long stretches. As such, they need some inherent menace- but I think the mistake they made is that the Outback is inherently menacing by duty of being such a wasteland.

  5. ThereWolf says :

    I’ve seen Razorback only the once, thought it was top. Long overdue a second viewing, I reckon.

    Splendid review.

    Turkey Shoot! Mad ‘un!

  6. Xiphos0311 says :

    Has Droid copped to being Giant Pig yet?

    Good review I don’t think I’ve ever seen the movie I need to fix that.

  7. MORBIUS says :

    Nice encapsulation Jarv.
    Not seen this, will rectify when possible.

    Have you seen/reviewed …WHITE BUFFALO? THE MANITOU?

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