31 Days of Horror, Day 1. Ravenous.

Posted: October 2, 2016 in Cinema / Film, Horror, Reviews

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Ravenous, directed by Antonia Bird, and written by Ted Griffin is a blood encrusted relic I find myself recommending frequently.

Released in 1999 during the wane of the Hollywood meta-slasher boom started by films like Scream, and I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the infancy of the Japanese remake era, Ravenous, a brilliant departure from the norm at the time was doomed from the get-go.

Firstly, it was a period piece taking place during the Mexican-American war of the 1840’s, a tough sell for any attention-span stunted teenage movie goer hungry for gore. Secondly It was a genre-bender, a strange mixture of western and horror, a combo that was fairly uncharted territory at the time.

The story, which I won’t delve too deeply into, revolves around Captain John Boyd, (played by Guy Pearce) who through an act of cowardice captures a Mexican HQ, and is subsequently exiled by his general to Fort Spencer, a remote outpost in the Sierra Nevadas. Shortly after he meets an enigmatic stranger named Calhoun, (played by the always brilliant Robert Carlyle) who thrusts him upon a blood-sopped journey into madness.

Ravenous is not for the weak of stomach. Its story, which is loosely based upon the Donner Party, Alfred Packer, and passages from Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man is bloated with enough cannabilistic carnage to make even the most diehard Leatherface fan cringe. The brutal violence accompanied by a haunting score composed by Michael Nyman, and Damon Albarn ensure the horror lingers long after the credits roll.

Ravenous was released with middling to terrible reviews, (surprisingly Ebert gave it a three out of four stars) and regained merely 2 of its 18 million dollar budget, all but ensuring the film hastily faded into obscurity, which is really a shame considering the Haunting, a steaming satchel of rancid dick-lint, and adaptation of the Shirley Jackson classic, The Haunting of Hill House, also released that year made 170 million.

Do yourself a favour, and track down a copy. You won’t be disappointed.

Fun fact, David Arquette played a supporting role in the film, and also starred in (what I consider to be a spiritual successor of sorts to Ravenous) 2015’s Bone Tomahawk.

That’s all for tonight.

Until tomorrow, stay scared skiddies!

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