“Welcome to Fort Spencer…
‘RAVENOUS’ is a stunningly effective and original movie based in the 1840’s during the Mexican American War about an American Army Captain who gets sent into the Sierra Nevadas to a place called Fort Spencer. From there, the story twists and turns into a grisly tale of cannibalism and horrific adventure. So for those of you with Good Taste and open minds, this is a fan page dedicated to Ravenous and to the actors who made this film such a distinct delight.
“Bon Appetit! ”
Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce)
Handsome, reticent, sensitive, self-conscious and hesitant of his actions, Captain Boyd is a perplexing character. Boyd first appears to us paralyzed and frozen with fear in the dust during the Mexican American War. It is here where Boyd encounters the effect of blood as it runs into his throat from the bodies piled on top of him. This blood effects him with sudden vitality and courage, and he is able to assault the Mexican command post single handed. But his cowardly action of playing dead is well known among the upper brass of the military, and he is shuffled off quietly to Fort Spencer to live with his shame. Boyd is a very withdrawn, quiet person, yet his eyes betray every emotion he suffers. He has two major aversions–meat and blood. He displays moments of enormous courage and strength of will throughout the movie, especially during his harrowing chase and encounter with Colqhoun on the mountain ridge. But all his actions are driven by the single, adrenalized instinct of fear. He is the prey who reacts to being hunted, and thus becomes identified with the audience’s own impulse to flee the threat of danger. His final transformation comes at the end when he determines to confront Ives rather than escape him. With chiseled fine-features and introspective good-looks, Boyd shows quite a few feminine qualities which distinguish him as the passive character, as opposed to Ives, the aggressive character in the film. As the dubious hero, Guy Pearce swoons and suffers with haunting beauty. He instills Boyd with a languorous and wounded psyche of a particularly reflective soldier.
Colqhoun/Colonel Ives (Robert Carlyle)
Demonic, strong-willed, seductive, and maniacal, F. W. Colqhoun is almost the complete opposite of Boyd. He first appears at Fort Spencer, a Scotsman gone astray in the mountains–long beard, long hair–and he looks like a cross between Charles Manson, Alfred Packer and Christ. Colqhoun has a lust for blood and flesh that is seemingly insatiable. He murders not only his original wagon train, but subsequently Private Toffler, George, and Private Reich. He is `reborn’ again as a different persona after the mountain-escapade, this being the evil Colonel Ives. Ives is quite different from Colqhoun–he speaks in a more authoritative tone, and he exudes a seductive confidence and ease. It’s hard to say which is the real man–Colqhoun or Ives, or just different personas of the same beast. His `master plan’ is to convince Boyd to join himself, the revived Colonel Hart and General Slauson as a sort of ‘cannibal clan’ stationed at Fort Spencer. Ives represents masculinity. He is a carnivorous and powerful hunter as well as a deviant and unrepentant animal. Robert Carlyle showcases an incredible confidence and evil glee as this powerful cannibalistic force.
Colonel Hart (Jeffrey Jones)
Amiable, laid back, generous, and good-humored, Colonel Hart is a wonderfully humorous character in Ravenous. Colonel Hart is the leader of Fort Spencer and runs his company in a very lax manner. He reads classical languages as a hobby, and enjoys smashing walnuts with his extensive collection of books. He greets the arrival of Boyd warmly and confesses to Boyd that Fort Spencer leads all the men in his company, including himself, to look for other means of escape. Colonel Hart perceives Boyd’s shame, and gently takes Boyd under his wing. After Colonel Hart is attacked by Colqhoun, Colqhoun nurtures him back to health with human meat in order to `convert’ him to cannibalism. Colonel Hart returns later to Fort Spencer, to Boyd’s surprise, after killing the fort’s horses and the unfortunate Private Cleaves. In his cannibalistic state, the Colonel loses his will to live. His life has become meaningless to him, and finally he asks Boyd to take his life. Boyd obliges his request somberly by slitting his throat. Jeffrey Jones is superb in this movie and provides just the right amout of alleviation when things are looking too dark.
Private Reich (Neal McDonough)
Teutonic, aggressive, brave, and hot-headed, Private Reich is the perfect soldier. He leads an ascetic life, enjoys bathing in ice-cold mountain water, and seems to exude an extraordinary amount of authority for a mere Private. In the script, Reich had once been a captain in the army, but because he unjustly executed some cowardly soldiers under his command, he was demoted to Private and sent off to Fort Spencer. He is one of the first to become suspicious of Colqhoun after his arrival, and also seems especially irked by Boyd’s presence, as if he is repulsed by the cowardice and hesitancy in Boyd. Boyd and Reich explore the `cannibal cave’ together, and Reich is the first one to realize that Colqhoun is the killer of the unfortunate cave-dwellers. In the forest chase, Reich literally has to drag Boyd along, and ironically ends up being food for the captain after he himself is killed by the savage Colqhoun. Neal McDounough really adds punch to the early part of this film. His nazi-blond looks and aggresive nature are exciting to watch. His contrast with Guy’s passive character helps the audience to understand why Colqhoun chooses to kill Reich and keep Boyd alive.
Private Toffler (Jeremey Davies)
Soft-spoken, timid, devout, and youthful, Private Toffler is Fort Spencer’s Christian ideologue. He reads hymns, writes hymns and hums hymns, and prays constantly. He watches over Colqhoun when he first arrives, and he is the most reluctant of the group to head off and find Colqhoun’s missing party in the mountains. Toffler is aided often by Reich, who seems to have a brotherly affection for him. When Toffler falls down a rocky slope, Reich is the first to jump to his rescue. Reich helps to clean and bandage Toffler’s wounds. Toffler is licked by Colqhoun at night when his wounds are still bloody, and this encounter causes the entire group to become edgy and frightened by this new-found stranger. This meek Private is terrified, chased and eaten by the ravenous Colqhoun at the cave. Jeremy Davies is adorably quirky in this part and his scene at the cave when Colqhoun goes berserk is one of the most riveting scenes in the film.
Major Knox (Stephen Spinella )
Slothful, drunken, and unattentive, Major Knox is a comical figure, a gentleman with a Southern drawl who used to be a veterinarian and acts as the doctor of Fort Spencer. He rarely interacts with the other men of the company, usually being too much in a drunken stupor to care. He completely misses the event of Colqhoun’s arrival, and later on, when Boyd returns, he cannot help identify Ives/ Colqhoun whatsoever. He easily accepts the arrival of Ives, and becomes quite comfortable with the Colonel’s presence–even commenting that he is a `sentimental fellow’ after Ives explains his refusal to eat ribs for dinner. After the discovery of the dead horses and Cleaves, Major Knox mistakes Boyd as the killer and proceeds to knock him out cold. When the real killer shows up–that being the revived Colonel Hart–Major Knox is his next victim. Then it’s stew `ala Major Knox’!!
Martha (Sheila Tousey)
Logical, quiet, a Native American Indian and the only woman at Fort Spencer (and in the movie for that matter), Martha is an intriguing character. She leads Boyd into his Fate like a silent angel, and leaves Boyd and Ives at the end, running off into the forest unscathed. She possesses both wisdom and patience and she is a calming female force in this male-oriented struggle. She cannot comfort Boyd when he is obsessing over his obvious disintegration. She bluntly points out that fact that he must die in order to escape his addiction to human flesh. Martha is also the only person at Fort Spencer who survives–the fact that she is a woman is symbolic as well. Since the action takes place only between men `eating each other’, this leaves her out of their path of destruction.
George (Joseph Runningfox)
A Native American as well and the brother of Martha, George is the first person to become truly alarmed and wary of Colqhoun when the bedraggled Scotsman first appears. His Indian knowledge and his instinctive connection to Nature may be the reason for this–he watches Colqhoun suspiciously and explains the Wendigo myth to Colonel Hart and Boyd. He bravely joins the group to go find the lost settlers at the cave. When Colqhoun is discovered `licking’ Toffler’s wound, George is the most adamant to insist that Colqhoun is bound for the rest of the journey. George dies at the cave, shot by Colqhoun as he attacks Colonel Hart.
Private Cleaves (David Arquette)
Wacky, laid-back, and completely unreliable, Cleaves is the Fort’s cook. He spends most of his time, however, with George smoking peyote and other `medicinal’ delights. He leaves with Martha to pick up supplies, and when he returns with her our other wayward characters are having their adventure by the cave. Boyd is the only one to return, and Cleaves is the first to greet him. Cleaves, along with the others at the fort, completely discounts Boyd’s story and assumes that Boyd is the `reason nobody come back.’ Cleaves becomes the object of Boyd’s `cannibal fantasy’ as he dreams vividly of gashing Cleaves’ chest open with a knife and eating raw meat from his body! Cleaves, unfortunately, receives this exact treatment later in the movie when Colonel Hart returns (although we don’t get to see it)–his body is discovered by Martha, his closest friend, on the Fort’s rooftop, his stomach gashed open savagely. David Arquette is great in this part, and he really uses his off-center personality to create a fun yet believable character.
General Slauson (John Spencer)
Haughty and confident, this General is first seen in Mexico when he is awarding Captain Boyd a medal of honor after the battle has been won. At the banquet table, Slauson continues to eye Boyd suspiciously before the later jumps up from the table in disgust to regurgitate what was left in his stomach. General Slauson condemns Boyd to his fate at Fort Spencer in order to get rid of him. Later on, General Slauson appears at Fort Spencer to investigate the disapperance of Colonel Hart’s rescue party. He disbelieves Boyd’s fantastic story and watches in dismay as Boyd swoons and collapses at his feet with the appearance of Colonel Ives. General Slauson is one of the men Ives wants to win over as a cannibal, and at the end of the movie, with General Slauson greedily sniffing human ‘stew ala Major Knox’, we are left to consider the possibility that General Slauson may have been a cannibal all along!
Lindus (Bill Brochtrup)
Lindus first appears as the announcer at Lt. Boyd’s somewhat tense Mexican-American War ceremonial presentation. Lindus comes across as the ideal lackey–he follows obediantly at the heels of General Slauson throughout the story. He also seems to do most of the military interrogations–his skeptical voice is always heard in Boyd’s mind when he experiences a flashback. Lindus’ voice encompasses all the incredulity and disdain in which the military establishment regards Boyd. Lindus later arrives with General Slauson at Fort Spencer to investigate Boyd’s equally unbelievable story about ‘Wendigo.” He unwittingly acts as a coat-rack to the elegant wardrobe of Colonel Ives when that later is asked to reveal a miraculously unscathed shoulder. We last see Lindus as he observes the eeriely abandoned Fort Spencer along with Martha and General Slauson. Luckily for Lindus, he is one of the few people to survive the harrowing horror of Fort Spencer. And perhaps in his own closed-minded way, he represents the aloofness and contempt of the civilized world towards the type of outsiders -including cannibals!- that seem to dominate the wilderness of Fort Spencer.
The growth of ‘westward expansion’, i.e. any type of progress, tends to create monsters, people who live and feed off each other to their mutual destruction. Ives is the perfect example of a ‘Californian’–a man in pursuit of physical perfection who will stop at no horrific act in order to achieve that perfection.
A Native American myth described in the movie as a man who eats another’s flesh, usually that of an enemy, who grows stronger by the consumption of that flesh. This hunger for human flesh becomes insatiable and the ‘Wendigo’ must die in order to be released from this ‘ravenous’ and perverse hunger.
Religious imagery is everywhere in this movie. Colqhoun, at the beginning half of the movie, even looks like a Christ figure with his beard and long unkempt hair. Colqhoun/Ives carries a rosary wrapped around his wrist. Ironically the only phrase used throughout the movie as an expression of horror or surprise is “Jesus Christ!”. The imagery of the Eucharist (..eat my flesh, drink my blood) runs similarly into imagery of ‘religious cannibalism’. George presents an Indian hide to Boyd and Hart that depicts the Wendigo myth on one side, on the other is a wan sketch of Christ on the cross. George offers the comparision that ‘white man eats the body of Christ every Sunday” to explain to Colonel Hart and Boyd the legitimacy of the ongoing “wendigo” myth. The idea that partaking in the ‘body of Christ’, or cannibalism, will lead to eternal life also parallels the concept of the magical healing powers that cannibalism in the movie seems to have. Most importantly, anticipating his final conflict with Boyd, Ives purposely paints a cross of blood on his forehead. Looking more like Lucifer than Christ at this point, Ives seems to have come full circle. What does all this religious imagery mean? I’ll leave that up to you dear cannibals….
Subliminal erotic tension is very evident in Ravenous. Ironically, it is a tension that is developed between two men in the film–Ives and Boyd. Robert Carlyle and Guy Pearce are able to ignite a kinetic nervousness between their personalities that develops into great magnetic chemistry on screen. Boyd acts as the vulnerable, chaste, beautiful object of prey, while Colqhoun counteracts him as the aggressive, lustful hunter. Ives describes himself to Boyd as being virile–a word that connotes masculinity, potency and sexual prowess. The fireside chat between Boyd and Ives is quiet, forbidden, and strangely erotic. “The strength of someone else coursing through your veins….” The manner in which Ives describes his ‘addiction’ is similar to both vampirism and sex. Ives is a rogue that emanates unrestrained sexuality, and Boyd is the opposite–undefiled, virgin, and pure.
The most implicitly sexual moment is a brief scene where Ives swipes Boyd’s bloody mouth with his fingers. Ives then kneels down across from Boyd, crooks a come-hither finger at him and sniffs the blood in a moment of bizarre and obvious sexual thrill. Boyd watches with a mixture of disgust and fascination. The culmination of this tension is the electrifying final brawl between Boyd and Ives. There seems to be an unquestionable passion and exhilaration between the two combatants as they creatively and savagely try to do each other in. Boyd traps both himself and Ives in the jaws of a huge bear-trap. The movie’s intro “Eat me”, which is humorously invoked in the opening credits, now makes sense in this subtext. Ives admits to Boyd that if Boyd were to die first, he would definitely eat him–both literally and perhaps figuratively in a sexual context. When Boyd is asked the same question, he winces painfully and keeps silent. Hunter and prey die together in a strangely beautiful yet bloody embrace.
The Mexican-American War
“The Mexican-American War was the first major conflict driven by the idea of “Manifest Destiny”; the belief that America had a God-given right, or destiny, to expand the country’s borders from ‘sea to shining sea’. This belief would eventually cause a great deal of suffering for many Mexicans, Native Americans and United States citizens. Following the earlier Texas War of Independence from Mexico, tensions between the two largest independent nations on the North American continent grew as Texas eventually became a U.S. state. Disputes over the border lines sparked military confrontation, helped by the fact that President Polk eagerly sought a war in order to seize large tracts of land from Mexico.”
The Donner Party
“The Donner Party was the most famous tragedy in the history of the westward migration. Almost ninety wagon train emmigrants were unable to cross the Sierra Nevada before winter, and almost one-half starved to death. Perhaps because they were ordinary people — farmers, merchants, parents, children — their story captures the imagination.”
The soundtrack for Ravenous by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman is absolutely unique and powerful. It is reminiscent of great film scores like those of Ennio Morricone for the spaghetti westerns back in the 1960’s. It encompasses many Old West traditional instruments with a modern twist to create an unmistakably distinctive sound. The introduction starts off with the military tune of `Hail Columbia’ with the American flag whipping in the breeze–an ironically triumphant contrast to Boyd’s disgracefully earned promotion to Captain at a victorious military banquet. After this, the music changes into an off-key banjo and squeeze-box for Boyd’s journey to Fort Spencer. The most bizarre musical sequence is the music at “The Cave”, which starts off with a strange whining sound, which subsides into an eerie chime, then builds to a crazed crescendo as Colqhoun attacks the other men. The chase scene of Toffler is accompanied by a frenzied banjo song which seems to fit more with Colqhoun’s joy than with Toffler’s terror.
The adrenaline-charged cliff music is intricately webbed with a heart pounding bass guitar rhythm that accompanies Boyd’s frightening encounter with Colqhoun and his bone-snapping freefall down the cliff and through the pine trees. This is followed by a beautiful, dreamlike theme which accompanies Boyd’s agonizing transformation. The music progressively gets darker when Ives returns, and Boyd’s `Cannibal Fantasy’ is a gloomy, fatalistic theme that captures, in its pessimistic tone, the hopelessness of Boyd’s addiction. After Ive’s seductive-cannibal fire-side chat with Boyd there is a nervous, panic-building piano beat that pounds and pounds until the discovery of Cleaves’ body. The highlight of the score comes with the movies culmination– a pulsing mantra of low keyboards, chanting male voices and drums gives the climax an added touch of gothic gloom and grandeur. This bizarre, trance-like masterpiece finishes with the death-embrace of Boyd and Ives. The score adds immeasurably to the brilliance of Ravenous as a movie, and it lingers with you long after the movie is over.
The Ravenous DVD is a great DVD to watch for any fan of this movie. If you love this movie you must buy or rent this DVD to see all the extra goodies that have been added onto it.
*3 Audio Commentaries
*Movie Trailer and TV Spots
*Ten Deleted Scenes
‘Lust for Life’
In ‘Ravenous’, Antonia Bird blends historical drama, monster movie and black comedy to create
a unique vision of outlaw homosexuality.
by Kim Morgan in the Willamette Week, originally published March 24, 1999
|Ravenous opens with the words of Nietzsche: “He that fights with monsters should look to himself that he does not become a monster.” The next quote is anonymous: “Eat me.” Initially, this brief line seems designed only for cheap laughs (which it gets), but as the picture continues, it takes on a greater significance. Instead of another stupid insult, “Eat me” becomes a sexual plea. The juxtaposition of these quotes is only the beginning of what is one of the strangest mainstream/art house/period piece/monster movies to come out in quite some time. More Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers than Frank Marshall’s Alive, Ravenous mixes dramatic tones, genres, messages and moralities into a curious pastiche. This fascinating and entertaining portrait of cannibalism is not simply about the choice between eating and not eating; it’s about deviating or not deviating. A twist on the familiar film territory of the vampire legend, Ravenous is seen through the traumatized eyes of John Boyd (Guy Pearce), a cowardly military captain who’s banished to a desolate mountain outpost in California during the Mexican-American War. There Boyd joins an eclectic group of wartime weirdos that includes a geeky emissary to the Lord, a drunken doctor, an alpha-male soldier and a drug-addled cook. Soon after Boyd’s arrival, a wild-eyed, half-dead Scotsman named Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle) stumbles down from mountains. Colqhoun relays a horrific account of being snowbound with a group of settlers (the infamous Donner Party) who, in order to survive, resorted to eating each other. From this experience, the expedition’s leader, Colonel Ives, acquired a blood lust so strong he began preying on the group’s surviving members. On hearing Colqhoun’s story, commanding officer Hart (wonderfully played by a droll Jeffrey Jones) organizes a search party to find the evil Ives. But the troop discovers that the object of its search is none other than Colqhoun, and with glorious gore, terror and humor, the Scotsman attacks the group. Boyd eventually makes it back to the post, but he is horror-struck–he has been forced to eat human flesh to survive. Colqhoun also returns, this time in the guise of Colonel Ives, and immediately continues his wanton ways while attempting to bring Boyd into his flesh-eating fold. Like so many vampire films before it, Ravenous examines (via the Native-American myth of Weendigo) the lust of consumption. Like the bloodsucker, the more the cannibal feasts, the stronger and more insatiable he becomes. And, as is the case with previous vampire pictures, Ravenous has an intriguing homosexual subtext. The sexuality of these characters would no doubt have been brought to the forefrontwere it not for the mainstream target audience. There is a striking sexual chemistry between the somber Boyd and the rakish Colqhoun that has to be intentional on the part of the director. There are just too many clues. And though the ideas of Manifest Destiny, religion and wartime morality run discursively throughout the picture, Ravenous offers a more intriguing metaphor in pitting the smart, funny and sexy cannibal against the hypocrisy of the straight establishment. Though he would be viewed as an animal in “polite” society, Colqhoun is actually the most refined of the outpost’s troop. When disguised as Ives, he is a flawless dandy, with perfectly coiffed hair, a curled mustache and stylish clothes. In another scene, when Colqhoun spies two military officials and a Native-American female guide nearing the post, he says to himself, “Breakfast, lunch and reinforcement,” with “reinforcement” referring to the woman. Only men can be his food. The final bang (gangbang?) in Ravenous comes in the fantastic closing sequence of lusty bloodletting between Colqhoun and Boyd. The scene is so incredibly homoerotic that the female guide, who feels out of place, simply ups and leaves. The men’s extensive fighting is shot like a rake’s pursuit of a supposedly chaste maiden. With gorgeous intensity and heaving bosoms, Colqhoun and Boyd tussle and tussle. It’s a bizarre and bloody turn-on. Using monsters as a metaphor for homosexuality always runs the risk of offending someone, and Ravenous will certainly put off those who think the picture depicts outsiders as deviants who must die. But due to the excellent performance by Carlyle, Colqhoun can be seen as a heroic outlaw, who, in a world of hypocrites, could very well–and this gives nothing away–die for his desires.|
Various Ravenous Tidbits
“When was the last time you saw a new movie set during the 1840s? The era is the first oddball thing about Ravenous, though by no means the last. This provocatively weird movie is essentially a vampire film crossed with the Donner party, that unfortunate band of hungry pioneers who got stuck in the wilderness with only themselves to eat.”
“Carlyle and Guy Pearce are fascinating in the lead roles–their sunken faces would look at home in Civil War photographs–and the eccentric supporting cast, including Jeremy Davies and David Arquette, adds flavor to the dish.”
“All hell breaks loose, blood spouts across scenic snowdrifts, and shadowy pine stands turn scarier than any Gothic ruin….England’s moodily handsome Pearce hints at roiling inner depths even when Boyd appears slight and passive. Carlyle’s wild-eyed, canny preacher is an impish delight.”
“Pearce’s grimly beleaguered hero is a solid anchor for the weight of Carlyle’s flashy malevolence to pull against. Visceral, visually arresting and bone crushingly violent, Ravenous is a tasty treat headed for cult status.”
“Pearce is fantastic, despite having few lines, and comes off as a cross between ‘Dead Man’ Johnny Depp and ‘Legends of the Fall’ Brad Pitt.”
“Ted Griffin’s sly spin on the self-devouring Donner Party and mountain man-eater Alfred Packer defies all categories…A Mexican sun illuminates the divided nature of John Boyd while casting first light on a macabre motiff of decaying cadavers. Firelight flickers over genteel furniture, slapped-up walls, swords, chess sets and operetta-like indigo uniforms with gilded epaulets and scarlet sashes, as Colqhoun regales the isolated troopers with a tale of murder and cannibalism.”
“The acting in this is very, very good. Guy Pearce is one of the best new actors on the scene. His performance in ‘L.A. Confidential’ was enough to prove that. But here, he is very good. He plays the confused, cowardly (sometimes brave), moral Capt. Boyd with such a wide range of the human emotional spectrum. This guy could pull off just about any role and do it with immense talent. Robert Carlyle is truly fantastic. He really shines here as the sick, demented Colghoun. Neal McDonough does a good, entertaining job as the hard-core soldier. Jeffrey Jones is as good as ever. The rest of the cast also performed well in their roles.”
“The second half of the film is a matter of Boyd’s strength to resist this compulsion, and Pearce is brilliantly uncertain in his conviction. Carlyle also give a calculating, evasive performance as the frightened settler who turns out to be a startling kind of monster.”
“Pearce, so good as the straight arrow cop in “L.A. Confidential,” brings a smoldering self-loathing to this role. As Boyd, he aptly captures the conflict in a man who hasn’t the heart to be a soldier, let alone a practicing cannibal. Robert Carlyle injects a sly sense of menace into Colqhoun, a dissembling, murderous villain with an edgy sense of humor like a cat toying with its food. The pair of them — the brash Carlyle and the reticent Pearce — seem to bring out the best in each other.”
“One’s heart especially goes out to Mr. Pearce, who is repeatedly pummeled and shot, and who at one point is buried under a pile of corpses. Playing a cannibal looks as tough as actually being one.”
“Although Carlyle has the showy part and gets most of the good lines, it’s Pearce who makes the film work. The protagonist of a horror film is mainly required for reaction shots, and most actors run out of interesting ways to look terrified pretty quickly. But Pearce finds divisions and subdivisions of fear, revulsion, weariness, and pain, and he expresses them all without histrionics.”
“Pearce…carries every world-weary step on his face, and every conflicted thought in his eyes. Carlyle obviously relishes the power inherent in his role and plays it with all the confidence of one who knows he pulls the strings of this story.”
“…an elaborate homoerotic Christian allegory in which Colqhoun is a type of anti-Christ and cannibalism a type of communion.”
“…Carlyle comes off as one of the more believably nasty and despicable villains to grace the silver screen in a while.”
“Pearce is a haunted presence as Captain Boyd, frightened and yet ready to strike out when pressed to the wall. Carlyle is mesmerizing as the demonic Colqhoun, bringing the role an intensity that’s unnerving.”
“Carlyle attacks his role of master villain with relish, complete with sly winks, bared teeth and flickering tongue. He leaves it up to Pearce to try to ground this horror tale in some kind of reality. At every opportunity, Pearce turns up the angst quotient as if he’s playing Hamlet.”
“Pearce has a stoic determination which humanises the horror and Carlyle’s relish makes his bad guy a treat to watch.”
“Ravenous is not a romantic comedy. Or is it? Two gentlemen who are widely publicized to appeal to both sexes, and the electric glances aren’t even mentioned in reviews of the film. Aren’t these milestones for any young actor, the prolific approach, the multilayered character nuances as they mature before the viewers eyes…?” (contributed by Kay Laycak)
“I have not eaten meat since I saw the film. Boyd’s revulsion is contagious. He makes it look so attractive. The opening credits, the steak consumption, the intro music, the quotes — all key in establishing a movie impossible to categorize…So many elements are present, and still, I am convinced, the film has been misunderstood, the meaning has been lost to any critic who might call it mindless gore and chaos.” (contributed by Kay Laycak)
“Carlyle gives an effectively sly and stylized performance as Colqhoun, an amoral manipulator who has discovered the life-extending benefits of dining on human flesh. Pearce is too muted and mumbly in the early scenes, but catches fire midway through the film as Boyd struggles to resist Colqhoun’s offer to share in the immortality that comes from cannibalism. A few scenes are shockingly funny, others are just plain shocking, and one skillfully sustained sequence involving a character’s (Boyd’s) frantic free-fall from branch to branch of a tall tree is exuberantly exciting. Be forewarned: Much of the violence is exceedingly bloody,and most of the humor is exceptionally twisted. ”
Tasty Miscellaneous Ravenous Goodies
Rare and Interesting Ravenous Collectibles
*Ravenous PressKit–very unusual, gorgeously put together presskit, written as if it belongs too F W Colqhoun. A definite must for collector’s.
*Ravenous ‘beef-jerky’ distributed at some of the premieres.
*Ravenous script by Ted Griffin
*A Ravenous ski cap
Other Related Movies
Ulzana’s Raid (1972)–Report reaches the US cavalry that the Apache leader Ulzana has left his reservation with a band of followers. A compassionate young officer, Lieutenant DeBuin (Bruce Davidson), is given a small company to find him and bring him back; accompanying the troop is McIntosh, an experienced scout, and Ke-Ni-Tay, an Apache guide. Ulzana massacres, rapes and loots across the countryside; and as DeBuin encounters the remains of his victims, he is compelled to learn from McIntosh and to confront his own naivity and hidden prejudices. (Summary written by David Levene from IMDB.COM)
Deliverance (1972)–A terrifying Appalachian’s back-woods horror story of 4 canoe-adventurers who confront nature, red-necks and their own limitations as men. Most obviously the theme of men hunting each other is similar to Ravenous, and Antonia Bird apparently had this movie in mind while she was filming Ravenous. Guy Pearce’s character of Boyd is similar to Jon Voight’s character Ed in Deliverance–the contemplative, thoughtful man who finds within himself extraordinary courage and strength.
A Boy and his Dog (1976)– – A very bizarre futuristic tale of a young Don Johnson and his boon dog companion Blood as they search a post-nuclear United States for rare females and canned food. Johnson, as Vic, ends up in a strange underworld place called Topeka, a rather twisted utopia. It also ends with a very fine Cannibal moment..be sure to listen to Blood’s last line of dialogue!!!
Alive! (1993)–Based on the true story of the 1970’s Andes plane-crash survivors. Considering all the gruesome cannibalism Ravenous shows, Alive! comes off way too tame for my taste. Still, a good flick for survival story fans.
Interview with a Vampire (1994)–a much closer relative to Ravenous is Anne Rice’s classic tale of vampirism. Brad Pitt’s wistful and demoralized Louis is very similar to Captain John Boyd. Both these characters are also are drawn to a stronger/masculine opposite (Lestat/Ives) who tries to seduce them into an evil world that they want to resist yet are reluctantly drawn into.
Cannibal Musical (1996)– – A twisted, sickeningly fun movie by the creator of South Park. It’s a hysterical musical about Colorado’s famous cannibal Alfred Packer. It’s a must see for anyone with a totally whacked sense of humor–I’m sure Colqhoun would recommend this to anyone of good Taste!
Dead Man (1996)– – An intriguing art-house Western starring Johnny Depp and Gary Farmer, with some interesting photography and a few cannibalistic twists as well. Worth checking out for sure!
Red Dragon (2002)– – The prequel to Silence of the Lambs, this is a tautly edited, well acted seriel killer flick, this cannibal elements of course! Ed Norton is superb as Will Graham, the obsessed FBI investigator. The chemistry he has with Anothy Hopkins as Hannibal Lector is riveting. Ralph Fiennes brings this movie to another level as the killer Dolarhyde.
3:10 to Yuma(2007)– – Finally, another gritty western! Russell Crowe stars as the rogue-ish villan Ben Wade who is captured by authorities. Christine Bale is fanstastic as a woe-be-gone farmer Dan Evans who joins the law for money to help escort Wade to the train that will take him to Yuma and ultimate justice. Evans has several ‘Boyd’ characteristics- he was a solider in the Civil War who shot off his own leg. He is pained by feelings of humilation and cowardice- and he takes on this task to prove otherwise! Bale even looks like Guy Pearce in this movie! Crowe and Bale also have great chemistry on screen with each other.
127 Hours (2011)– – As a survival story (including the gruesome act of cutting off your own arm!) , ‘127 Hours’ will definitely appeal to Ravenous fans. James Franco does a fantastic job as Aron Ralston, a free-spirited hiker/rock climber who finds himself in a frightening predicament. Trapped with his arm against a boulder in a remote canyon in Utah, the movie traces the moments/dreams/flashbacks of a man facing the jaws of a slow death. James Franco is quiet, stoic and very realistic in his portrayal. Also, some great western scenery. Directed by Danny Boyle of Trainspotting fame.
Other Related ‘Cannibal/Vampire’ Books
Unfortunately there was never a movie-tie in book to “Ravenous”, but the good news is that there are quite a few books related to the subjest of “Western” Cannibalism or the related subject of Vampirism that might interest any fans of this movie. See below for some of the best books I have found that have a good “Ravenous” vibe to them!
**Flesh and Blood-A History of the Cannibal Complex by Reay Tannahill
**Alfred G Packer: Cannibal! Victim? by Ervan F Kushner
**Ordeal by Hunger—The Story of the Donner Party by George R Stewart.
**Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
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