Razorback (film)

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Razorback
Razorback movie.jpg
Razorback poster
Directed by Russell Mulcahy
Produced by Hal McElroy
Written by Everett De Roche
Based on Razorback 
by Peter Brennan
Starring Gregory Harrison
Arkie Whiteley
Bill Kerr
Judy Morris
Music by Iva Davies
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by William M. Anderson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Umbrella Entertainment (Australia)
Release dates 2 November 1984 (1984-11-02)
Running time 95 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget A$5.5 million[1]
Box office A$801,000 (Australia)

Razorback is a 1984 Australian film written by Everett De Roche, based on Peter Brennan's novel, and directed by Russell Mulcahy. The film revolves around the attacks of a gigantic wild boar terrorizing the Australian outback, killing and devouring people.[2]

Plot[edit]

Jake Cullen (Bill Kerr) is babysitting his grandson at his house in the Australian outback when a massive razorback boar attacks him, smashing through his house and dragging away his grandson to devour alive. Jake is accused of murdering the child and while his account of the events are met with high skepticism, he is acquitted due to lack of evidence. The event destroys his credibility and reputation however and he vows revenge on the boar.

Two years later, wildlife reporter Beth Winters (Judy Morris) journeys to the outback to document the hunting of Australian wildlife to be processed into pet food at a derelict factory. While driving at night, she is driven off the road by two local thugs, Benny and Dicko Baker (Chris Haywood and David Argue respectively), who attempt to rape her only to be chased off by the same boar that killed Jake's grandson. Beth attempts to take shelter in her car, but the hog rips off the door, lacerating her groin with its tusk before dragging her out to be eaten. With no witnesses, her disappearance is subsequently ruled an accident resulting from falling down an abandoned mine shaft after leaving her wrecked car.

Some time later, Beth's husband Carl (Gregory Harrison) arrives in search of her and encounters Jake, whom Beth interviewed during her initial report. Jake refers him to the local cannery where he meets Benny and Dicko whom he convinces to take him along on their next kangaroo hunt, only to be abandoned by them when he spoils a potential kill. Carl is then attacked by a herd of wild hogs, spurned on by the giant boar, who chase him through the night and force him take shelter atop an abandoned windmill. The next morning, the hogs succeed in knocking over the windmill, but Carl is saved by landing in a pond at the windmill's base that is too deep for the hogs to cross over.

Once the hogs leave, Carl attempts to make his way back to civilization, all the while suffering from dehydration inspired hallucinations before finally reaching the house of Sarah Cameron (Arkie Whiteley), a friend of Jake who has been tracking and studying the local hog population and the only one who believes his story of the giant razorback. While recovering at Sarah's house, Carl forms a friendship with her and learns that something has been causing the wild hogs excess stress, leading them into unusual behavior such as increased aggression and cannibalizing their own young. Meanwhile, after learning that Carl had seen the razorback, Jake sets out for the pumping station and manages to shoot it with one of Sarah's tracking darts. He also finds Beth's wedding ring in the boar's scat which he returns to a grieving Carl, who resigns himself to returning home.

After overhearing a radio conversation suggesting that Jake knows what really happened to Beth Winters, Benny and Dicko, fearful that Jake is attempting to implicate them in her death, attack him at his camp, breaking his legs and leaving him to be killed by the razorback. His remains are later found by Sarah and Carl, along with marks in the dirt made by Dicko's cleaver. Realizing that the brothers were responsible for both his wife and Jake's death, Carl attacks Benny at his and Dicko's hideaway, interrogating Benny by lowering him into a mine shaft before leaving him to plummet to his death. As Sarah rounds up a posse to hunt down the razorback using the tracer Jake shot into it, Carl corners Dicko at the cannery when the razorback suddenly appears and mauls Dicko before Carl can shoot him. The razorback then chases Carl into the factory when Sarah suddenly arrives and is seemingly killed by the boar, who continues to pursue Carl even after being impaled through its throat with a broken pipe. In its maddened rampage, the razorback ends up damaging the cannery's generator which sends the machines running out of control. Carl lures the boar up onto a conveyor belt that throws it onto a giant fan, chopping it to pieces. After shutting down the machinery, Carl finds and rescues Sarah, who had merely been knocked unconscious, and the two embrace.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

By the early 1980s Australian Russell Mulchay had established himself as one of the leading music video directors in the world. He wanted to make features but at that point had only been offered musicals - a sequel to Flashdance that was never made and Space Riders - which he did not want to do. He was offered Razorback in August 1982 and accepted the job. The movie was mostly shot in Broken Hill.[3][1]

Release[edit]

Razorback grossed $801,000 at the box office in Australia.[4] The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by Warner Bros. in November 1984. It grossed $150,140 at the box office.[5]

The film was released in Australia by Umbrella Entertainment on 21 September 2005. It was presented in 2.40:1 Widescreen, and included a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack and the original 2.0 Soundtrack. Special Features include a 70 minute featurette, "Jaws on Trotters", an audio featurette interview with actor Gregory Harrison, four deleted scenes from the VHS release with extra gore, a gallery, and an original theatrical trailer, plus two extra trailers for Roadgames and The Chain Reaction.

The UK release contains a 5.1 DTS track, biographies, a still gallery and a 25 minute featurette that contains interviews with several production crew.

Razorback was released in the United States by Warner Home Video in 2009 as part of the Warner Archive Collection.[6]

Reception[edit]

Razorback received positive reviews from critics and audiences. Rotten Tomatoes has no approval rating as of today, but the Want-To-See score is currently 80%. Many have compared the film to Jaws.

Clint Morris of Moviehole called it "Jaws with a wiggly tail! Ferocious and Fun!" Chuck O'Leary of Fantastica Daily gave a positive review, saying "The atmosphere of the Australian Outback makes this a decent oversized-creature-on-the-loose thriller."

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Award
(1984 Australian Film Institute Awards)
Best Adapted Screenplay Everett De Roche Nominated
Best Cinematography Dean Semler Won
Best Editing William M. Anderson Won
Best Original Music Score Iva Davies Nominated
Best Sound Tim Lloyd Nominated
Ron Purvis Nominated
Peter Fenton Nominated
Phil Heywood Nominated
Greg Bell Nominated
Helen Brown Nominated
Ashley Grenville Nominated
Best Production Design Bryce Walmsley Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Schembri, Jim (July 1984). "Russell Mulcahy". Cinema Papers: 139-141. 
  2. ^ Stratton, David (1990). The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry. Pan MacMillan. p. 302. 
  3. ^ Schembri, Jim (12 July 2008). "Russell Mulcahy". Senses of Cinema. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  5. ^ Razorback at Box Office Mojo
  6. ^ "Razorback (DVD)". WBSshop.com. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 

External links[edit]