Movie of the Week: Razorback

I seem to have a swine theme this week.  Writing about Clive Barker’s excellent short story, “Pig Blood Blues,” put me in mind of the best, and, possibly, the first, wild boar run amok movie ever made.  Released way back in the halcyon days of 1984, Razorback furthers the scientific theory that every animal, reptile, and insect in Australia wants to kill you.  It also proves that kangaroos make some freaky, creepy sounds (they are downright chilling).

On a lazy, hazy night in the outback, a rampaging wild boar crashes through a house like something from a Merry Melodies cartoon, or an Abbott & Costello movie.  This razorback is huge and leaves destruction in its wake.  The house belongs to a man named Jake Cullen, who happens to have his infant grandson with him that night.  In the boar’s stampede, it scoops up the baby, mostly likely for a snack.

Jake is arrested and charged with his grandson’s murder.  A lack of evidence sets the old man free.  From this point on, old Jake is hellbent to kill boars and to track down the big bastard what killed his grandson.

Jump ahead two years and Beth Winters shows up in the same Australian town where Jake lives.  Beth is a reporter and an animal rights campaigner (and an American, so plenty of trouble).  She’s come to town on the scent of a story of kangaroos being massacred.  Her investigation leads her to the doorstep of Benny and Dicko who turn the slaughtered ‘roos into pet food.

Naturally, those crazy brothers don’t like the reporter snooping around or filming their operation.  Just as they are about to kill Beth, the titular creature shows up to scare the sicko brothers enough to send them running.  As Beth tries to escape, the boar…consumes…her.

As there is no bodily evidence, Beth is presumed to have fallen down a mine shaft.  This does not sit well with Beth’s husband, Carl.  He travels to Australia to find out the real story of what happened to his (pregnant) wife.  He meets the ‘roo killing brothers, who all but leave him for dead, and he eventually joins forces with Jake and he meets the shapely woman who studies the feral pigs.

Set in the modern day (of 1984), Razorback looks as post-apocalyptic as fellow Aussie film-mate Mad Max.  The kangaroo killing brothers seemed to have walked right out of The Road Warrior and are scarier than the wild boar.  But, this is a monster movie, and they will get what’s coming to them in due time.

I’ve watched a few wild animal movies in my day, and I can’t remember one as hallucinatory as this one.  I also can’t remember one that has a scene as disturbing as those darn kangaroos in the nighttime.