Starring: Gregory Harrison, Arkie Whiteley, Bill Kerr, Judy Morris
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Distributor: Umbrella (aussie DVD)
They called it ‘Jaws on trotters’, and even that was stretching the friendship. Producer Hal McElroy says he was flattered that his film was even mentioned in the same sentence as Spielberg’s palpitation-inducing blood bath because, if the truth be known, Razorback has one major, irreconcilable problem; the titular pig. It’s supposed to be a nine hundred pound wild boar, roughly the size of a small rhino, that’s stalking the inhabitants of a tiny outback town but it looks more like a hairy puppet on roller skates.
Yet we’re supposed to believe that it’s capable of claiming the occasional victim, starting off with baby Scott who is gored by the monster one over ominous night when it ploughs through the homestead leaving a fireball in its wake. For the next two years Scott’s grandfather Jake (Bill Kerr), makes it his mission to blast the shit out of any razorback he sees, as he so frankly admits to New York animal rights campaigner Beth Winters (Judy Morris), who’s in town to do a television report on the dodgy dog food company, Petpak.
But back to that pig – eight models were made of the beast by the unfortunate designer, Bob McCarron, who was given just one month to devise a solution to the film’s central problem. He came up with a ramming pig, made of solid steel; a catapult ramming pig (which cost a quarter of a million dollars and appeared in the film for one expensive second); even an enormous live pig, draped in a special mammoth-like shroud. But none of this was enough to create the illusion of a truly terrifying living creature. “To be honest, it was only partly successful,” says McElroy in a massive understatement in a DVD extra.
Still, Razorback launched the feature film career of director Russell Mulcahy, who’d previously only made music video clips. It also showcased the slick cinematography of Oscar winner Dean Semler (Dances With Wolves) and the scene-stealing acting ability of David Argue who, as Petpak proprietor Dicko Baker, is a study in the absurd. Only he hits the right note in this decidedly warped 10BA horror thriller.