Ravenous


1h 39m 1999

Brief Synopsis

Captain John Boyd has been sent to a remote outpost in Sierra Nevada following a military disgrace in the Mexican-American War. There, his group run into Colqhoun, a starving and half-frozen Scottish traveler who tells a wild tale of cannibalism. His group, it seems, was led astray by a guide, snowe

Film Details

Also Known As
Vorace
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1999
Production Company
Barrandov Studios; Digiscope, Inc.; Etic Films; Fox 2000; Framestore Cfc; Heyday Films; Knb Efx Group, Inc.; London Voices; Pacific Title & Art Studio; Peerless Camera Company; Scarlet Letters
Distribution Company
20th Century Fox Distribution; 20th Century Fox Distribution; 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; 20th Century Fox International; Cts; Hispano Foxfilms; Ufd
Location
Mexico; Prague, Czech Republic; Slovakia; California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m

Synopsis

Captain John Boyd has been sent to a remote outpost in Sierra Nevada following a military disgrace in the Mexican-American War. There, his group run into Colqhoun, a starving and half-frozen Scottish traveler who tells a wild tale of cannibalism. His group, it seems, was led astray by a guide, snowed into a cave, and finally descended to eating one another. He fled from the evil Colonel Ives. Boyd determines to apprehend Ives, but when he follows Colqhoun back to the cave, events take a more dangerous turn, and Colqhoun turns out to be not quite all he claimed to be.

Crew

Damon Albarn

Original Music

Damon Albarn

Music

Damon Albarn

Other

Chris Allies

Main Titles Design

Jesus Almontes

Other

Bunny Andrews

Music Editor

Kerry Barden

Casting

Ota Bares

Animals Coordinator

Libuse Barlova

Makeup/Hair (2nd Unit)

Mike Bartlett

Steadicam Operator

Claudia Becker

Casting (Mexico Unit)

Martin Body

Other

James Bolt

Re-Recording Mixer

Joseph Boyle

Producer'S Associate

Fernando Camara

Sound Mixer (Mexico Unit)

Gary Carpenter

Original Music

Michael A Carter

Foley Mixer

Jatinderpal Chohan

Post-Production Coordinator (United Kingdom)

Colin Corby

Camera Operator (Mexico Unit)

Antonio Cornejo

Technician Special Effects (Mexico Unit)

Francisco Cornejo

Technician Special Effects (Mexic)

Felicity Cottrell

Foley Artist

Steve Cutmore

Digital Effects Compositor (Peerless Camera Company/Digital Effects)

Charlie Davis

Post-Production Executive

Efren Del Moral

3rd Assistant Director (Mexico Unit)

Terry Delsing

Music Editor

Mike Dowson

Foley Recordist

Adrian Duran

Technician Special Effects (Mexico Unit)

Alejandro Duran

Technician Special Effects (Mexico Unit)

Fermin Duran

Technician Special Effects (Mexico Unit)

Jesus Duran

Special Effects Supervisor (Mexico Unit)

Neil Farrell

Editor

Adam Fields

Producer

Tracey Gibbons

Post-Production Coordinator (United Kingdom)

Terry Glass

Special Effects Supervisor

Jane Goddard Carter

Audio Researcher

Sergio Gomez

Technician Special Effects (Mexico Unit)

Ted Griffin

Screenwriter

Mark Griffiths

Assistant Director

Mark Griffiths

Assistant Director

Martin Grosup

Camera Operator

Fae Hammond

Chief Makeup/Hair Artist

Tim Hands

Adr Supervisor

Tim Hands

Dialogue Supervisor

Jose Maria Hernandez Haro

Head Wrangler

David Heyman

Producer

Mark Holding

Sound Mixer

Billy Hopkins

Casting

Veronika Horka

Production Coordinator

Kent Houston

Digital Effects Supervisor (Peerless Camera Company/Digital Effects)

Tab Hunter

Guitar/Jews Harp

Austin Ince

Music Editor

Francisco Jaramillo

Mexico Unit Hair

Barbora Jurkovicova

Production Coordinator (2nd Unit)

David Korbel

Wrangler

Jiri Krejcir

Location Manager

John A. Larsen

Sound Supervisor (Los Angeles)

Gerry Lentz

Re-Recording Mixer

Miguel Lima

2nd Assistant Director (Mexico Unit)

Gloria Lozano

Location Manager (Mexico Unit)

Bing Lyle

Other

Olda Mach

3rd Assistant Director

Emma Mager

Production Coordinator

Jiri Maxa

Camera Operator

Jan Mensfk

Assistant Director (2nd Unit)

Frantisek Mesicek

Other

Vera Mirova

Wardrobe Mistress

Roger Mitchell

Supervising Sound Editor

Petr Moravec

Production Supervisor

Sheena Napier

Costume Designer

Marco Niro

Set Decorator (Mexico Unit)

Michael Nyman

Original Music

Michael Nyman

Music Composer/Performer

Michael Nyman

Score Conductor

Adam O'neill

Art Director

Martin Oberlander

Technician Special Effects

Anne Oldham

Additional Makeup/Hair

Tom Ollive

Digital Effects Compositor (Peerless Camera Company/Digital Effects)

Jiri Ostry

1st Assistant Director

Martina Palkova

Script Supervisor (2nd Unit)

Bryce Perrin

Production Designer

Milton Quiltman Sahme

Featured Vocalist

Michael Redfern

Foley Editor

Adrian Rhodes

Re-Recording Sound Mixer

George Richmond

Camera Operator

Tony Richmond

Director Of Photography

Rojelio Rojas

Casting (Mexico Unit)

Susi Roper

Digital Effects Producer (Peerless Camera Company/Digital Effects)

Guillermo Rosas

Camera Operator (Mexico Unit)

Anna Roth

Production Consultant (Mexico)

Ervin Sanders

Director Of Photography (2nd Unit)

Pavel Sanger

Technician Special Effects

Luis David Sansans

Loader

Raul Sarmiento

Makeup (Mexico Unit)

David Schmidt

Wrangler

Martin Sebik

2nd Assistant Director

Vladimir Seiml

Unit Manager

Ondrej Slama

Production Manager

David Smith

Other

Michael Prestwood Smith

Re-Recording Sound Mixer

Suzanne Smith

Casting

Michael Solinger

Post-Production Supervisor (United Kingdom)

Ricardo Spinace

Art Director (Mexico Unit)

Petr Splichal

Unit Manager (2nd Unit)

Jack Stew

Foley Artist

Jaroslav Stolba

Coordinator Special Effects

Ivo Strangmuller

Other

Dana H Suddath

Technician Special Effects

Ted Swanscott

Adr Recordist (United Kingdom Unit)

John Swinnerton

Digital Effects Compositor (Peerless Camera Company/Digital Effects)

Brian Thomas

Other

Igor Tosevski

Storyboard Artist

Derek Trigg

Foley Editor

Roman Tudzaroff

Technician Special Effects

Gail Turcotte

Featured Vocalist

Belinda Uriegas

Production Coordinator (Mexico Unit)

Karel Vacek

Supervising Art Director

Julien Valdez

Assistant Director (Mexico Unit)

Tim Van Rellim

Executive Producer

Jiri Vater

Floor Supervisor Special Effects

Jiri Vater

Other

Andrej Vavrena

Technician Special Effects

Vaclav Vohlidal

Other

Jiri Vojtech

Technician Special Effects

David Vondrasek

Other

Natasha Wellesley

Production Supervisor (Mexico Unit)

Paul Weston

Stunt Coordinator

Beverley Winston

Script Supervisor

Tim Wooster

Camera Operator (2nd Unit)

Robert Worby

Original Music

Robert Zapletal

Assistant Director (2nd Unit)

Jiri Zucek

Set Decorator

Film Details

Also Known As
Vorace
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1999
Production Company
Barrandov Studios; Digiscope, Inc.; Etic Films; Fox 2000; Framestore Cfc; Heyday Films; Knb Efx Group, Inc.; London Voices; Pacific Title & Art Studio; Peerless Camera Company; Scarlet Letters
Distribution Company
20th Century Fox Distribution; 20th Century Fox Distribution; 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; 20th Century Fox International; Cts; Hispano Foxfilms; Ufd
Location
Mexico; Prague, Czech Republic; Slovakia; California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m

Articles

Ravenous on Blu-ray


Ravenous (1999) channels the story reminiscent of the Donner Party disaster and the legend of Alferd Packer (the only American ever convicted of cannibalism) into a gruesome survival thriller with a crimson-hued streak of black humor and an elemental hint of the supernatural. The resulting film takes top honors as the definitive frontier cannibal movie. Not that there's a long list to choose from, mind you, but this earns its position with honors, thanks to a gleefully weird and savagely bloodthirsty sensibility.

Guy Pearce is Captain John Boyd, whose battle cowardice during the Mexican-American war inadvertently results in making him an accidental hero. The ordeal of playing dead under the bleeding corpses of his fellow officers also puts him off meat, as the opening scenes so vividly illustrate. Director Antonia Bird cuts straight to the heart of the situation as she intercuts soldiers devouring bleeding-rare steaks at a military luncheon with the bloody casualties of battle stacked like cordwood: meat is meat, at least as far as this film is concerned. Boyd's commanding officer (John Spencer of The West Wing), who knows that his valor is a fraud, ships him out to the fringes of military reach: a fort in a California mountain pass, which runs with a minimal compliment during the impassable winter months. "This place thrives on tedium," smiles fort commander Colonel Hart (Jeffrey Jones), who takes everything with a bemused indulgence. How else to survive a company made up of a useless drunk second-in-command(Stephen Spinella), a giggling weed-head idiot (David Arquette), a twitchy, mumbling chaplain (Jeremy Davies), and a macho soldier boy (Neal McDonough) who holds the rest of the company in utter contempt?

The tedium is quickly dispersed when a bedraggled disaster survivor (Robert Carlyle) stumbles into camp. He spins a horrific story of a lost wagon train and an incompetent scout who strands them in the mountains, where as the winter snows traps them and desperation leads to feeding on human flesh. It's a tale right out of the Donner Party until it turns feral, but it's not even close to the real story of Carlyle's wild-eyed survivor. For a starving man, he looks remarkably fit when he doffs his shirt, and other clues suggest that this is no production gaffe. One night, while camping on the trail to his old camp to search for survivors, he's caught licking the bleeding wounds of an injured soldier. You know, tasting his next potential meal.

That's when the film takes its twist into weird and wild horror, a bizarre plot that doesn't really make much logical sense but sure makes for a wicked mix of psychodrama and visceral body horror. The Native American Wendigo myth is referenced to explain madness, but you could say it's a vampire tale without the supernatural dimension--it turns out human flesh is addictive, and it helps to have a nest of fellow flesh-eaters to keep the diet coming--or call it a particularly gruesome metaphor for manifest destiny. However you label it, it is off-the-charts crazy, an eat-or-be-eaten thriller served very, very rare.

British director Antonia Bird seems like an odd match for this material. She honed her craft on TV drama and made her reputation with the tough, wrenching dramas Priest and Face, two films with complex characters and socially conscious themes. What they have in common with Ravenous is star Robert Carlyle, who recommended Bird after the film's original director Milcho Manchevski was let go after three weeks and the producer's chosen replacement, Raja Gosnell, was rejected by the cast. Bird (who passed away last year at the relatively young age of 62 after a battle with thyroid cancer) was frustrated by the conditions of the production and the oversight of the producers and she complained that her cut was compromised in post-production. That may explain the awkward pace, jarring turns, and a climax that feels tossed together--an uninspired way to end such a devious film--but she is clearly the architect of the odd, offbeat key of the film's blackly comic tone and surreal atmosphere and Carlyle is her partner in outsized madness. He leads the cast in playing their eccentricities big, though next to Carlyle's juicy performance, Arquette and Davies come off more like actor's studio sketches in twitchy weirdness or fidgety indecision than actual characters. Guy Pearce provides the contrast, creating a character fighting to maintain control and keep his emotions and his reflexive revulsion in check as everyone else lets their freak flag fly. It oddly enough makes him the most intense character on screen. As all that fear and disgust and anxiety just bottles up behind his desperate eyes and increasingly battered body, Pearce shows us the toll this ordeal exacts on him. In this survival drama, he's the one in true survival mode.

Scream Factory's Blu-ray features a solid new HD transfer that preserves the dynamic contrast between the white-out daylight scenes of snow and the ominous shadows of the deep forest and the dark rough-hewn quarters of the frontier fort. Night doesn't have to fall for the darkness to seep into the image. Given the elemental quality of the imagery--much of the film takes place in the snowbound wilderness, with the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia standing in for California--the transfer has a satisfying level of grain that not only preserves the texture of the film but gives the entire atmosphere an added level of authenticity. These images feel like they were carved into the film.

The film was previously released on DVD over a decade ago with three separate commentary tracks. Director Antonia Bird and composer Damon Albarn team up for the most informative track, with Bird talking in detail about the physical challenges of the production. Screenwriter Ted Griffin and co-star Jeffrey Jones tend to lapse into silences in their track and actor Robert Carlyle is even more intermittent in his the solo track. Also carried over from the earlier disc is a collection of deleted scenes (many of them in rough-cut form) with optional commentary by Bird and a gallery of stills. New to this edition is a 20-minute interview with Jeffrey Jones, who looks back on the themes of the film.

by Sean Axmaker
Ravenous On Blu-Ray

Ravenous on Blu-ray

Ravenous (1999) channels the story reminiscent of the Donner Party disaster and the legend of Alferd Packer (the only American ever convicted of cannibalism) into a gruesome survival thriller with a crimson-hued streak of black humor and an elemental hint of the supernatural. The resulting film takes top honors as the definitive frontier cannibal movie. Not that there's a long list to choose from, mind you, but this earns its position with honors, thanks to a gleefully weird and savagely bloodthirsty sensibility. Guy Pearce is Captain John Boyd, whose battle cowardice during the Mexican-American war inadvertently results in making him an accidental hero. The ordeal of playing dead under the bleeding corpses of his fellow officers also puts him off meat, as the opening scenes so vividly illustrate. Director Antonia Bird cuts straight to the heart of the situation as she intercuts soldiers devouring bleeding-rare steaks at a military luncheon with the bloody casualties of battle stacked like cordwood: meat is meat, at least as far as this film is concerned. Boyd's commanding officer (John Spencer of The West Wing), who knows that his valor is a fraud, ships him out to the fringes of military reach: a fort in a California mountain pass, which runs with a minimal compliment during the impassable winter months. "This place thrives on tedium," smiles fort commander Colonel Hart (Jeffrey Jones), who takes everything with a bemused indulgence. How else to survive a company made up of a useless drunk second-in-command(Stephen Spinella), a giggling weed-head idiot (David Arquette), a twitchy, mumbling chaplain (Jeremy Davies), and a macho soldier boy (Neal McDonough) who holds the rest of the company in utter contempt? The tedium is quickly dispersed when a bedraggled disaster survivor (Robert Carlyle) stumbles into camp. He spins a horrific story of a lost wagon train and an incompetent scout who strands them in the mountains, where as the winter snows traps them and desperation leads to feeding on human flesh. It's a tale right out of the Donner Party until it turns feral, but it's not even close to the real story of Carlyle's wild-eyed survivor. For a starving man, he looks remarkably fit when he doffs his shirt, and other clues suggest that this is no production gaffe. One night, while camping on the trail to his old camp to search for survivors, he's caught licking the bleeding wounds of an injured soldier. You know, tasting his next potential meal. That's when the film takes its twist into weird and wild horror, a bizarre plot that doesn't really make much logical sense but sure makes for a wicked mix of psychodrama and visceral body horror. The Native American Wendigo myth is referenced to explain madness, but you could say it's a vampire tale without the supernatural dimension--it turns out human flesh is addictive, and it helps to have a nest of fellow flesh-eaters to keep the diet coming--or call it a particularly gruesome metaphor for manifest destiny. However you label it, it is off-the-charts crazy, an eat-or-be-eaten thriller served very, very rare. British director Antonia Bird seems like an odd match for this material. She honed her craft on TV drama and made her reputation with the tough, wrenching dramas Priest and Face, two films with complex characters and socially conscious themes. What they have in common with Ravenous is star Robert Carlyle, who recommended Bird after the film's original director Milcho Manchevski was let go after three weeks and the producer's chosen replacement, Raja Gosnell, was rejected by the cast. Bird (who passed away last year at the relatively young age of 62 after a battle with thyroid cancer) was frustrated by the conditions of the production and the oversight of the producers and she complained that her cut was compromised in post-production. That may explain the awkward pace, jarring turns, and a climax that feels tossed together--an uninspired way to end such a devious film--but she is clearly the architect of the odd, offbeat key of the film's blackly comic tone and surreal atmosphere and Carlyle is her partner in outsized madness. He leads the cast in playing their eccentricities big, though next to Carlyle's juicy performance, Arquette and Davies come off more like actor's studio sketches in twitchy weirdness or fidgety indecision than actual characters. Guy Pearce provides the contrast, creating a character fighting to maintain control and keep his emotions and his reflexive revulsion in check as everyone else lets their freak flag fly. It oddly enough makes him the most intense character on screen. As all that fear and disgust and anxiety just bottles up behind his desperate eyes and increasingly battered body, Pearce shows us the toll this ordeal exacts on him. In this survival drama, he's the one in true survival mode. Scream Factory's Blu-ray features a solid new HD transfer that preserves the dynamic contrast between the white-out daylight scenes of snow and the ominous shadows of the deep forest and the dark rough-hewn quarters of the frontier fort. Night doesn't have to fall for the darkness to seep into the image. Given the elemental quality of the imagery--much of the film takes place in the snowbound wilderness, with the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia standing in for California--the transfer has a satisfying level of grain that not only preserves the texture of the film but gives the entire atmosphere an added level of authenticity. These images feel like they were carved into the film. The film was previously released on DVD over a decade ago with three separate commentary tracks. Director Antonia Bird and composer Damon Albarn team up for the most informative track, with Bird talking in detail about the physical challenges of the production. Screenwriter Ted Griffin and co-star Jeffrey Jones tend to lapse into silences in their track and actor Robert Carlyle is even more intermittent in his the solo track. Also carried over from the earlier disc is a collection of deleted scenes (many of them in rough-cut form) with optional commentary by Bird and a gallery of stills. New to this edition is a 20-minute interview with Jeffrey Jones, who looks back on the themes of the film. by Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States January 1999

Released in United States on Video September 21, 1999

Released in United States Spring March 19, 1999

Milcho Manchevski was previously attached to direct but left the project two weeks into production citing creative differences. He was replaced by British helmer Antonia Bird.

Began shooting February 3, 1998.

Completed shooting May 1998.

Released in United States January 1999 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 21-31, 1999.)

Released in United States Spring March 19, 1999

Released in United States on Video September 21, 1999