Screen cap from promotional trailer
form y Razorback single work   film/TV   horror  
Adaptation of Razorback Peter Brennan 1981 single work novel
Issue Details: First known date: 1984... 1984 Razorback
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

A vicious razorback boar terrorises the Australian outback, beginning with the death of a small child, whose grandfather is tried for his murder but acquitted. An American journalist (who holds strong conservationist views) follows the story and is attacked by two locals, who leave her for the boar to kill. Her husband then comes to Australia, determined to seek the boar who killed his wife (and, incidentally, revenge himself on the two locals).

Written by prolific screen-writer Everett De Roche, the film is based on a novel of the same name by American novelist Peter Brennan (a novel that, apparently, bears little resemblance to the film). The first full-length film directed by Russell Mulcahy, Razorback is a bridge between Mulcahy's early work on video clips and his later, more recognisable genre films, beginning (only two years after Razorback) with Highlander.

According to David Carroll at Tabula Rasa, 'Razorback is perhaps the most recognisable 'horror' film from Australia. It has a rising young director in the form of Russell Mulcahy, some reasonably well-known faces, both Australian and American, and a giant pig. It also has a depiction of the Australian outback as, basically, hell'.

Carroll specifies of the way in which the film approaches Australia (as a concept, rather than simply a country) that 'The brothers, their factory, the nightmare landscape and the pig itself, are all presented as a single, coherent malevolence. I have written previously, in more than one place, that the landscape is the defining feature of Australian horror. Razorback extends the idea into expressionism'. He emphasises that 'Of course, all this unnaturalistic splendour could just be attributed to shoddy film-making, but I don't think so. The change in tone and the way things are shot in different locations, such as Sarah's farm and the factory, is very striking, whilst the town itself shifts between the two. There seem to be two different realities, and a slippery border between them.'

Source: Tabula Rasa (http://www.tabula-rasa.info/AusHorror/Razorback.html). (Sighted: 15/6/2012)

Notes

  • The trailer for this film is available to watch via YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-WKSnSagMg (Sighted: 15/6/2012)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Deranged Down Under Erik Piepenburg , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: The New York Times , 10 August 2017; (p. C2)

'“Is that about Dorothy or Down Under?”

'That’s the question a friend posted on Facebook in response to my search for horror geeks who would talk to me about the exploitation subgenre Ozploitation. I’ll forgive him for not knowing that the Oz here refers to Australia, not Munchkinland. Ozploitation remains an under-the-radar monster, at least in the United States.' (Introduction)

The Great Southern Creature Feature : Luke Sparke's Red Billabong Emma Westwood , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Metro Magazine , Summer vol. 191 no. 2017; (p. 26-29)
Particularly because of its unique fauna, flora, topography and history, Australia provides fertile ground for makers of horror films. In the case of Red Billabong, an outback setting and Aboriginal mythology come together to culminate in a quintessentially Australian example of the 'natural horror' subgenre. Emma Westwood speaks to director Luke Sparke about his influences and the origins of his feature debut.
Aussie Monster Movies : Six Terrifyingly Beastly Fright Fests Erin Free (editor), 2016 single work column
— Appears in: FilmInk , 27 August 2016;
The Australian Horror Novel Since 1950 James Doig , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sold by the Millions : Australia's Bestsellers 2012; (p. 112-127)
According to James Doig the horror genre 'was overlooked by the popular circulating libraries in Australia.' In this chapter he observes that this 'marginalization of horror reflects both the trepidation felt by the conservative library system towards 'penny dreadfuls,' and the fact that horror had limited popular appeal with the British (and Australian) reading public.' Doig concludes that there is 'no Australian author of horror novels with the same commercial cachet' as authors of fantasy or science fiction. He proposes that if Australian horror fiction wants to compete successfully 'in the long-term it needs to develop a flourishing and vibrant small press contingent prepared to nurture new talent' like the USA and UK small presses.' (Editor's foreword xii)
DVD Review Kevin M. Flanagan , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , 6 April vol. 5 no. 1 2011; (p. 95-96)

— Review of Razorback Everett de Roche 1984 single work film/TV
DVD Review Kevin M. Flanagan , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , 6 April vol. 5 no. 1 2011; (p. 95-96)

— Review of Razorback Everett de Roche 1984 single work film/TV
The Australian Horror Novel Since 1950 James Doig , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sold by the Millions : Australia's Bestsellers 2012; (p. 112-127)
According to James Doig the horror genre 'was overlooked by the popular circulating libraries in Australia.' In this chapter he observes that this 'marginalization of horror reflects both the trepidation felt by the conservative library system towards 'penny dreadfuls,' and the fact that horror had limited popular appeal with the British (and Australian) reading public.' Doig concludes that there is 'no Australian author of horror novels with the same commercial cachet' as authors of fantasy or science fiction. He proposes that if Australian horror fiction wants to compete successfully 'in the long-term it needs to develop a flourishing and vibrant small press contingent prepared to nurture new talent' like the USA and UK small presses.' (Editor's foreword xii)
The Great Southern Creature Feature : Luke Sparke's Red Billabong Emma Westwood , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Metro Magazine , Summer vol. 191 no. 2017; (p. 26-29)
Particularly because of its unique fauna, flora, topography and history, Australia provides fertile ground for makers of horror films. In the case of Red Billabong, an outback setting and Aboriginal mythology come together to culminate in a quintessentially Australian example of the 'natural horror' subgenre. Emma Westwood speaks to director Luke Sparke about his influences and the origins of his feature debut.
Aussie Monster Movies : Six Terrifyingly Beastly Fright Fests Erin Free (editor), 2016 single work column
— Appears in: FilmInk , 27 August 2016;
Australian Eco-Horror and Gaia's Revenge : Animals, Eco-Nationalism and the 'New Nature' Catherine Simpson , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , vol. 4 no. 1 2010; (p. 43-54)

'We hear so much about extinction in debates around climate change. But what about those animals that go feral and then return – bigger, hungrier and angrier – to wreak revenge on humans who may have done them injustice? Using an eco-postcolonial framework, this article examines how a number of exploitation horror films have dealt with environmental topics and issues of trespass. In particular, I examine the agency of animals – crocs, pigs, thylacines and marsupial werewolves – in some key Australian eco-horror films from the last 30 years: Long Weekend (Eggleston, 1978), Razorback (Mulcahy, 1984), Dark Age (Nicholson, 1987), Howling III: the Marsupials (Mora, 1987), Rogue (Greg McLean, 2007), Black Water (Nerlich & Traucki, 2007) and Dying Breed (Dwyer 2008). On the one hand, these films extend postcolonial anxieties over settler Australian notions of belonging, while on the other, they signify a cultural shift. The animals portrayed have an uncanny knack of adapting and hybridizing in order to survive, and thus they (the films and the animals) force us to acknowledge more culturally plural forms of being. In particular, these films unwittingly emphasize what Tim Low has termed the ‘new Nature’: an emerging ethic that foregrounds the complex and dynamic interrelationships of animals with humans.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Deranged Down Under Erik Piepenburg , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: The New York Times , 10 August 2017; (p. C2)

'“Is that about Dorothy or Down Under?”

'That’s the question a friend posted on Facebook in response to my search for horror geeks who would talk to me about the exploitation subgenre Ozploitation. I’ll forgive him for not knowing that the Oz here refers to Australia, not Munchkinland. Ozploitation remains an under-the-radar monster, at least in the United States.' (Introduction)

Awards

1984 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Screenplay Adapted
Last amended 15 Oct 2014 11:00:18
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  • Australian Outback, Central Australia,
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