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Film / Razorback

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Full-Boar Action, headed your way.

"Arguably the best film ever made about a giant man-eating hog."
TV Guide

Razorback is an Australian New Wave horror film from the year 1984. It was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who also did the first two Highlanders, the film adaptation of The Shadow and Resident Evil: Extinction.

Events take place in the Australian outback, where the titular gigantic wild boar dwells. In the opening segment, the boar attacks old hunter Jake Cullen's (Bill Kerr) house, killing his grandson in the process. He tries to tell the truth about the attack, only to be accused of murder. After his acquital due to lack of evidence, Jake vows revenge and sets out to kill the beast and every other boar that comes to his sights.

Later, an American TV-journalist Beth (Judy Morris) comes to the area to investigate the local Petpak pet food factory due to alleged acts of animal cruelty. She gets in trouble with the factory's employees and becomes the boar's victim. Her fiancee Carl (Gregory Harrison) follows her trail to the area and is caught up in the whole thing.

This film contains the examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Carl's just an ordinary guy looking for his missing wife, surviving mostly through his cleverness, endurance, and luck.
  • Animal Nemesis: Guess who.
  • Anyone Can Die: Jake's infant grandson is killed off in the very first scene, Beth becomes boar-chow later on, and Jake is crippled and left to die by Benny and Dicko.
  • Asshole Victim: Feel free to cheer when Benny and Dicko are killed.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Attack of the killer wild boar.
  • Attempted Rape: Benny and Dicko try to do this on Beth when they they want to scare her off from investigating the Petpak factory. The boar intervenes.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The title Razorback naturally, but Dicko and Benny serve as the main human villains.
  • Cassandra Truth: A giant feral animal destroys your house and carries off your grandson. When you try to tell people a giant boar did it, they blame you for the kid's death.
  • Cool Car: The gang's modified ex-military Unimog wouldn't look out of place in a Mad Max film.
  • Conveyor Belt of Doom: The boar is tricked stepping into one, which leads to its doom at the blades of a Deadly Rotary Fan.
  • Crying Wolf: Cullen shoots the razorback with a tracking dart. Later when it sounds off, a posse goes racing off to its location only to find an ordinary boar shot with a similar dart. When the signal goes off a second time to show the giant razorback is close, no-one is interested as they're busy getting drunk in the pub.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: The eponymous boar gets killed by a giant industrial cooling fan.
  • Death of a Child: The opening scene where Jake's grandson is killed by the razorback.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Beth. It looks like she's escaped the villainous Petpak guys, and then she meets the hog...
  • Dirty Coward: Once Carl comes after Benny with a gun, Benny runs for the hills in complete terror. When his attempt to kill him backfires, he's left begging for his life and even sells out his brother trying to save himself.
  • Disney Villain Death: Carl sends Benny falling down a mine shaft to his death.
  • Downer Beginning: Jake Cullen's house is destroyed and his grandson killed by the boar before the title card appears.
  • Evil Overlooker: One poster features the Cullen brothers' truck on the foreground, with the boar looming above them.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: The factory machinery in the climax.
  • Fake Shemp: Gregory Harrison is doubled during the dream sequence, as it was added late in production and he'd left the project by then.
  • Full-Boar Action: The giant boar can literally run through houses and flip over cars.
  • Hate Sink: You can't hate the razorback since it's an animal, but you can hate Benny and Dicko, who serve as the human antagonists.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The boar's roars, squeals, and snarls. And Jake's grandson Scotty's screams, considering he's still alive in the opening after the boar drags him away.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: More like "deep hole interrogation". With a mine shaft.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Benny tries to kill Carl by hiding in a mine shaft and attacking him. Carl finds the winch to the rope Benny's hanging from and sends him falling to his death.
  • The Hyena: Dicko has an incredibly annoying laugh, and seems to find the oddest things funny.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Beth, not that she lasts very long...
  • Land Down Under: The events of the film happen in the Australian outback, which seems to be filled with dangerous wild boars and psychotic pet food factory workers.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When Carl comes looking for Beth, the rumor is that she fell down a mine shaft. Guess what happens to Benny towards the climax.
  • "Jaws" First-Person Perspective: The Boar-O-Vision whenever it's hunting.
  • The Juggernaut: The Boar plows through everything in its path; bullets barely slow it down.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Benny is killed when he climbs down a mine shaft to try and kill Carl...only for Carl to find the crank and send him plummeting to his death. This is doubly karmic, as the rumor of how Beth, who they left to die to the Razorback, was she fell down a mine shaft.
    • Dicko is mauled to death by the razorback after leaving Beth and Cullen to die to it.
  • Made of Iron: The razorback isn't even slowed by a high-powered rifle bullet at close range. The impossibility of a wild boar being Immune to Bullets is raised at Cullen's trial as evidence against him.
  • Moby Schtick: Considering he lost his grandson and the ordeal that followed, it's understandable that Cullen is more than a little driven to find that damn boar.
  • Mind Screw: The mood of the movie is very weird and atmospheric for a monster movie, and then there's Carl's Dream Sequence.
  • Nightmarish Factory: Petpak, where the finale takes place. It is dimly lit and full of steam and deadly whirring blades.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In classic monster movie fashion, the boar is not seen in much detail until the climax. In the opening scene, we don't see it at all, only the massive destruction left in its wake.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Judy Morris tries for an East Coast/mid-Atlantic accent as Beth, but her natural Aussie accent comes through in a few scenes.
  • Percussive Therapy
    Jake Cullen: There's something about blasting the shit out of a razorback that brightens up my whole day.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Iva Davies of Icehouse did the score. Russell Mulcahy had previously directed the band's music videos.
  • Ramp Jump: Part of the road to Benny's and Dicko's place.
  • Rasputinian Death: The boar. Having earlier been shot multiple times by a high powered rifle by Cullen, Carl impales a metal rod into its neck, which does little more than make it mad, then it gets shocked by broken factory machinery, and finally Carl tricks it into a Deadly Rotary Fan.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Wild boars actually are incredibly tough, combining an immense tolerance for pain and blood loss with a dense hide and thick subcutaneous fat deposits that function as natural armor. As anybody who's actually hunted boars knows, you need to be very precise with your shots, because they can take a lot of punishment and keep on kicking. A boar the size of the titular Razorback? Yeah, it really would be as tough as the film suggests.
  • Recycled In Space: It's Jaws with a giant boar in Australia, complete with Jake Cullen as the Quint analogue. It's actually much better than that description would suggest, however.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Cullen is killed, Carl goes on against Benny and Dicko. He kills Benny by sending him falling into a mind shaft and corners Dicko, but the Razorback beats Carl to him.
  • R-Rated Opening: Although there's no blood or gore in the scene, the movie makes its intentions known quite early when Jake's baby grandson is killed by by the monster less than three minutes into the movie.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Cullen is crippled by Benny and Dicko, then killed by the boar, leaving Carl and Sarah alone to fight the razorback in the climax.
  • Scenery Porn: This is one of the most beautifully shot monster movies ever made, just check out that cinematography in the opening!
  • Terrifying Pet Store Rat: Many of the rodents infesting the pet food factory have the coat patterns of domestic fancy rats.
  • Thirsty Desert: Carl suffers hallucinations while staggering through the desert.
  • Vertigo Effect: Shown when Jakes finally gets the Razorback on his sights.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Once Carl has Benny at his mercy, the psychopath is left begging for his life and even sells out his brother trying to save himself. Carl has none and lets him fall to his death.