Ravenous (1999)
October 7, 2014 8:44 PM - Subscribe

THE SPIRIT OF 99 VIEWING CLUB + HORROR CLUB: Things aren't what they seem at this remote outpost in the American West around the time of the Mexican-American war and a new hire suspects claims of cannibalism have root in fact.

Did Ebert Like it? "Ravenous'' is clever in the way it avoids most of the cliches of the vampire movie by using cannibalism, and most of the cliches of the cannibal movie by using vampirism. It serves both dishes with new sauces.

Best Thing: OMG the SOUNDTRACK it's amazing

Worst Thing: the ending is kind of protracted cause apparently they improvised it after they ran out of fake blood.

This movie totally anticipated the black art murder camp tone of NBC's HANNIBAL. It's almost a farce in parts, "He was licking me" and then you get slammed with horror.
posted by The Whelk (18 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
this is probobly a better sample of the soundtrack

There is this whole "Manifest Destiny is a form of vampism" motif in the movie and it's born out in the action. The "Civilizing" forces are really just cannibals ready to strip away value and move on.
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 PM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

This movie totally anticipated the black art murder camp tone of NBC's HANNIBAL.

Yeah, anyone who enjoys Hannibal and hasn't seen it yet should check it out.
posted by homunculus at 9:37 PM on October 7, 2014

Robert Carlyle is the best.

I loved the soundtrack of this movie so much, that after I first saw this movie, I scoured Napster (Napster! oh god im so old) for it and have had mp3s of it kicking around somewheres ever since.

I haven't seen Dances With Wolves in a bazillion years, so my memory of it is pretty hazy, but I feel like there are a lot of spots in this movie that are taking deliberate darkly-comical jabs at that one.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:50 PM on October 7, 2014

I got my soundtrack on LimeWire.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:31 PM on October 7, 2014

I bought it in Our Price
posted by dng at 4:10 AM on October 8, 2014

The whole cast of this is fantastic. My complaint about the film is that its improvised ending hints at the grand guignol it could have been -- the two characters, locked in eternal battle, constantly replenishing themselves by eating each other.
posted by maxsparber at 8:38 AM on October 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

It's also odd to watch it now and go " holy crap it's Dum Dum Dugan." as the solider.

Also hey check out the guy who played unlucky Peter on NBC's Hannibal as the unlucky priest!
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 AM on October 8, 2014

What a hidden gem! I first saw Ravenous in 2002 on one of the movie channels. I bought the DVD not long after.

Yeah, sure, it could be better. The movie went through three directors. I would like to see an alternate Ravenous where one individual's vision was presented without interference. And yet the Ravenous we got is still a treat, particularly the casting.
posted by Monochrome at 5:58 PM on October 8, 2014

I wonder how much pierce was cast cause of his huge teeth.

But that disjointed feel really serves the movie - the story basically hard resets three times, each time in a different mood, so you get this dizzying feeling of being uncentred and unstable which helps sell the feeling of being chased around the woods by SEEKRIT CANNIBALS.

It's almost like the movie itself is kind of drunk and exhausted and running on ardedeline. It'd be interesting to see if the editor has done any interviews about it.
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 PM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

(what is it with Cannibals and puns?)
posted by The Whelk at 8:21 PM on October 8, 2014

Great score, great performances, great tone... All around a great movie.
posted by brundlefly at 8:53 PM on October 8, 2014

Wonderful movie, tip to tail. It's strange, how unique it all feels, even though it's "just" a combination of comedy, horror, vampire story, and historical fiction.

I would also say that this is one of the few movies which really feels like it could have sprung from the pages of Weird Tales.

Jeffery Jones is in rare form here. I love his narrated montage of the people at the camp. "Here's the doctor - he's a vet - I recommend you don't get sick." "He's a great soldier - avoid him."

I wonder what Milcho Manchevski's version would have looked like. If you haven't seen his Before the Rain, then you're in for a treat. I was also a big fan of Dust, but I wouldn't start there.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:19 AM on October 9, 2014

Wow. What the hell did I just watch?

I remember seeing trailers for this movie and thinking that it looked like it was not the good kind of bad and avoiding it due to that ever since (Ebert's review is more positive than most, I think?). Watching it today while working... Turns out it's not really so bad at all exactly, it's just fucking crazy (in a way I found enjoyable). Apparently it bombed when it came out, and I can see why... This deserves a place in b movie horror marathons and October midnight showings for sure though.
posted by sparkletone at 12:09 PM on October 10, 2014

God I love Ravenous.

Not a week passes that some pet in the house doesn't cause me to scream "It was LICKING ME!!"

Between that never-gets-old joke, and the fantastic cast, it's a hard movie to beat. (weirdly, my favorite scene is when they are going in the cave, and Robert Carlyle starts getting... weird and digging like a dog. I think of all his fantastic performances over the years, that one moment has stuck with me as a personal best on his part.)
posted by quin at 3:44 PM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am decidedly not a horror fan (don't worry, I'm fully aware of the limitations this imposes on me), but I have to say this grabbed me. Yeah, the weirdness of Jones and Carlyle really seems to stick with me, and I liked how it seemed to impose circumstances that make modern horror films twist themselves around backwards to create. It was the wild American west -- sure, you'd have skeletons hanging in a cave somewhere and just have to deal.

I was pleased that they avoided the cliché of the Western fort, although they did fudge how northerly and easterly the Spanish missions were. I was happy with the limited amount of woo surrounding the Native American characters. I was even happy with the actors essentially doing modern language and voices, but in a way that respected the historic period and the material.

(I may be confused, though, and I did nap a bit (I seem to be not as spry as once I was), but the version I watched on Netflix did not have a significant voiceover, and ended with the visual of the two bodies trapped, without an epilog where the scene is discovered and investigated by John Spencer's character.)

I do remain confused -- Boyd was clearly a different person after his battlefield experience, but was that intended to imply that he had already become a cannibal? How did he possibly survive a compound fracture of the leg while lying in a pit in the mountains and getting a bit bandaged up by Knox later? Did he expect to survive the leap off the mountain? Also, as a more mechanical plot point, didn't Colqhoun claim the name of the guide was Ives, and why wasn't this a tip-off in Boyd's briefing, before the reveal of the new officer (which logistically seems difficult to pull off in such an isolated camp of few men, and one of the more hand-wavey bits)?
posted by dhartung at 12:27 AM on October 13, 2014

Boyd was clearly a different person after his battlefield experience, but was that intended to imply that he had already become a cannibal? How did he possibly survive a compound fracture of the leg while lying in a pit in the mountains and getting a bit bandaged up by Knox later?

The power of the Wendigo gave him strength.
posted by homunculus at 12:35 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

'boyds journey' is basically my go-to example for why some things should exist without context because they're so good that nothing could reasonably be added to them
posted by p3on at 10:22 PM on October 21, 2014

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