Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English



Notes: Western Film Productions. 95 minutes. MPAA rating: R.
Directed: Russell Mulcahy
Based on a novel by Peter Brennan.

Carl Winters: Gregory Harrison
Beth Winters: Judy Morris
Jake Matthew Cullen: Bill Kerr
Sarah Cameron: Arkie Whitely
Dicko Baker: David Argue
Benny Baker: Chris Haywood

It’s a windy night in the Australian Outback. An older gentlemanis soothing his grandson of age two or three. He puts him inthe crib, and then hears a strange noise outside. He grabs hisrifle and goes out onto the porch. Something comes out of thedark and knocks him down, crashes through the wall of the house,and then plows through several other walls as well. When theman gets back into the house, he finds the crib overturned andempty. The house ablaze, he walks outside and hears his grandson’scries off in the night someplace. The man falls to his kneesin helplessness.

In Gamulla, Jake Matthew Cullen is on trial for the disappearance,and presumed murder, of his grandson Scott Matthew. “Andthis, this razorback broke your leg and carried your grandsonaway,” they ask. Jake claims that he couldn’t bring it downwith his rifle because razorbacks have such a thick layer of bristle. His defense lawyer refers to this particular boar as a “hybridspecies, a freak, an aberration.” No one believes Jake’sstory, not even his daughter, but he is released due to “insufficientevidence to support the charge.” Jake continues to hearnasty noises at night.

Two years later in New York. Beth Winters watches her own segmenton the local news where she interviews a stock contractor aboutthe cruel treatment of animals in rodeos; he gets bleeped a lot. She tells her husband, Carl, that “the group” gavethe green light on the kangaroo slaughter story in Australia,and they have insisted she be the one to go. She has to leaveMonday and will be gone for their first anniversary, so Carl givesher a ring before she leaves.

Beth turns up in Gamulla and starts filming. She says over 800,000kangaroos and wallabies have been made into dog food in this area. She sees Jake pull up and tries to interview him, but he sayshe only kills boars. “There’s something about blasting theshit out of a razorback that brightens my whole day.” Laterin the bar, she tries to call New York and apparently the operatordoes not know where that is. Dicko, who looks to be the productof inbreeding, hereafter referred to as Freakboy, throws severaldarts about two inches from her face, which she then grabs anddrops into his drink. Everyone in the bar laughs at him; he’sa bit ticked. Beth goes off by herself, telling her cameramanshe will be back before dusk. While she’s out she sees the silhouetteof a huge beast with tusks on the horizon. She sees Freakboy’struck go by with many carcasses hanging from it and follows himto the Petpak cannery. She starts filming through a window, andFreakboy confronts her. She acts like he just accosted her inher home, and then, when she regains the safety of her car, sheis shamefully overconfident for someone who has been caught trespassing,even honking her horn at him.

Back at the pub, night has fallen and her cameraman is wonderingwhere she is. Beth is still driving back. She turns on somemusic and does the repressed-thirty-year-old-woman groove, whensuddenly Freakboy’s meatmobile flies onto the road beside her. He runs her off the road, then drags her out of the car by herhair. He’s brought along big brother Benny, another reject ofAppalachia, who holds the floodlight while Freakboy assaults her. Beth knees him in the groin and he pulls out a meat cleaver tocalm her down. Benny thinks he’s going to kill her, and whenFreakboy turns to yell at him the floodlight hits his eyes ina very strange way. Then something hits the side of the meatmobileand the backwoods brothers take off. Beth crawls to her car. A huge boar rips the passenger door off and gouges her leg onthe first slash. Its huge tusks are pretty much all that canbe seen. Beth is turned sideways in the car and she has her handsbetween her legs trying to fend off the boar. From the outsidewe see her face pressed up against the driver’s side window asshe gets battered. From the perspective of the back seat, theboar clearly has command of her lower body and she is physicallylifted and tossed by whatever it is doing, eventually rippingher out of the car and dragging her off into the night.

During the day, Jake notices the tow truck picking up a damagedcar and stops to check it out. He finds the tracks and says,”He’s back.” He picks up a meathook from the groundand goes to question Benny about it, but Freakboy pulls out ashotgun and shoots at his truck as he drives off. Carl comesto Gamulla to investigate the disappearance of Beth. The pubowner loans him his car and he drives out to Jake’s. Jake startstelling him about razorbacks as a species: “He’s only gottwo states of being, dangerous or dead, nothing in between.” Jake says he doesn’t have any proof, but to check out the Petpakcannery. Carl goes there, says his name is Bill and that he isCanadian, not American. “Canadians are Americans, aren’tthey?” Benny says. The story going around is that Beth felldown an old mine shaft. Benny and Freakboy take him home withthem because he has shown an interest in the mines. He bunksup with them and falls asleep.

That night the boar breaks into some guy’s meathouse. The guychecks to make sure his trap is still set and the bait’s stillthere.

Carl is shaken awake because they’re going hunting with the spotlighttonight. Carl is roped into operating the light. They shoota kangaroo. Carl says, “Oh, God, God, you didn’t kill it;it’s still alive!” One of them says, “Well, of courseit is, right? You can’t kill it outright or it’ll go stiff asjerky before you have time to butcher it.” Carl throws upon them. The kangaroo is still squawking, so he runs over withthe cleaver and hacks it to death. The boys toss him a blanketand tell him not to go anywhere; they’ll pick him up in five orsix hours when they’ve finished the hunt. He lies down with thefreshly killed kangaroo for warmth, has nightmares, and awakenswhen a bunch of pigs start running around nearby.

Carl runs and falls, and runs and falls, and runs and falls, andyet again runs and falls. The whole herd appears. He falls inthe mud by a windmill and looks up to see the silhouettes of manylittle pigs and one huge one. He climbs the windmill and tieshimself to it with his belt. In the morning the little pigs arriveand bang the windmill around until it falls over. Carl ends upin the water and yells, “You can’t get me!” to the pigs. A boar carcass surfaces nearby to startle him, and the pigs leave. He walks on and on, then begins hallucinating. He walks somemore and finds a woman showering in her yard. She turns, seeshim and squeals, and he yells and faints.

He wakes up in a clean bed with the woman, Sarah, nearby, andwhen she turns she has a boar’s face. Then he really wakes upand she’s very pretty. He tells her he was chased by boars, butthat something really big scared them off. She goes to call Jake. Jake comes over and decides to go out after the boar; Sarah convinceshim to take the dart gun so he can shoot it with a transmitterand track it.

Back to some guy’s house, same one as before. He catches a bigone in his trap, but doesn’t know it. Whatever it is turns outto be stronger than the bumper of his car and the corner of hishouse, to which the net was anchored, and both get pulled offinto the night as he’s watching television.

Sarah talks about herself. She has a grant to carry out governmentresearch on razorbacks. She says that diseased boars have beeneating everyone out of house and home, that they have even beguncannibalizing their young. She even found a stress ulcer duringa dissection the week before. “Lately something’s been worryingthem a lot.” Meanwhile, Jake sees the big boar at the wateringhole. He shoots it four times, then shoots the dart gun at it,but it still gets away. He takes a cast of a footprint, thenfinds Beth’s ring and goes back to tell Sarah and Carl. Carltells Sarah that Beth was six weeks pregnant. Sarah radios andasks the pub owner to call the constable to find Jake becausehe knows what happened to Beth Winters. Freakboy’s in the puband overhears.

That night Carl announces he will be leaving in the morning. Jake is staking out the watering hole, but there is no sign ofthe boar. Sarah cannot sleep. Jake is asleep when the backwoodsbrothers show up. Freakboy messes with him, and Benny knocksJake out to ruin his brother’s fun. Benny says you cannot killpeople just because you do not like them, that he doesn’t wantany part of it, and Freakboy says, “You never want to doanything fun.” Benny waits in the truck while Freakboy bustsJake’s knees. In the morning Jake discovers his injuries andsend his dog off to Sarah’s. Sarah drops Carl off at the busstop. Jake crawls through the mud and the pigs show up.

Freakboy and Benny see Jake’s dog running down the road. “Traffic,eh?” Freakboy says. He drives over the dog. Jake dragshimself into the pumping shed and gets a drink of water. Sarahdrives by the dead dog and returns to the bus stop to get Carl’shelp. Jake sits in the shed and all the little pigs run awayand the big razorback tears down the shed and kills him. Theremaining walls are dripping blood when Sarah and Carl arrive. Sarah goes off to round up the town to help hunt the boar. Carlsees marks in the dirt that remind him of Freakboy’s cleaver,and he takes off with a gun. He finds Benny and chases him, dropshim down a mine shaft, then goes to find Freakboy. Back at thepub Sarah has a lock on the boar, and all the guys take off whoopin’and hollerin’. The pub owner gets left behind, so he takes thecamel.

Freakboy’s at Petpak looking for Benny. He hears a noise andgoes into the cannery. Carl shows up and heads in as well. Freakboystarts up some conveyor belts, and then tries to shove him intosome sort of fan or chopper. He runs for the truck, but is grabbedby Carl before he can start it and he flees. Carl follows himin the truck and shines the light at him. Freakboy says, “I’ma kangaroo. Ch-ch-ch. You have a really good sense of humor.” A metal drum falls nearby and the giant boar bursts out. Freakboyruns again and jumps into a ravine of some sort. He puts on hisheadphones and then hears grunting. He gets chased by the boarand almost manages to climb out, but is dragged back down. Carlhears all this and drives off in a panic, which leads him to rollthe truck. He runs into the cannery and the boar batters thedoor. A long hunt and chase scene follows through the cannery. Sarah tracks the boar to Petpak; all the guys from town are boredbecause they accidentally tracked the wrong boar. They say they’vehad a long day and don’t want to look anymore. Carl yells ather to get out of there. Carl hears Sarah screaming. He attractsthe boar’s attention. The boar impales itself on a pipe he’sholding, which slows it down long enough for Carl to get away. Then he gets the boar to follow him onto the conveyor belt andit ends up getting spliced through the chopper fan. Sarah dropsupside down from some chains in front of Carl, but she isn’t dead. Who knows how she got in that position in the first place. Heholds her, she comes to, and they both smile.

Nature is shown as brutal and cruel. The setting for the movieis the Outback, a place known for its harsh conditions. The innocentare not spared from the fury of the rampaging boar. The scenewhere Beth Winters bites it plays like a rape scene, though notbecause of Freakboy’s amorous advances. The boar’s tusks arean obvious phallic symbol, which creates an ironic death for Beth. Here is a woman crusading against the rape of the natural world,and she herself is effectively raped and destroyed by nature.

Little suspense. Still, a pretty original premise for a movie,and the giant boar, though little seen, is fairly impressive. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of another movie about a giant pigterrorizing people, but then I don’t get out to the theaters much.

Animals and Insects Films