31 Days Of Streaming Horror: 'Ravenous' Is A Cannibal Cult Classic

Welcome to 31 Days of Streaming Horror. Every day this October, we'll be highlighting a different streaming horror movie to help you get into the Halloween spirit. Today's entry: Ravenous (1999).


Now Streaming on Hulu

Sub-Genre: Cannibal WesternBest Setting to Watch It In: A snowy secluded outpostHow Scary Is It?: It's more shocking than scary, and also kind of funnyRavenous got the short end of the stick when it opened in 1999. It was clear from the start that 20th Century Fox had no idea how to market Antonia Bird's incredibly quirky cannibal movie. While there's a sick and twisted sense of humor running through this film, it's not a comedy. But it's not exactly a straightforward horror movie. It's in a class all of its own, and while that often makes for great movies, it's the type of scenario that leaves a marketing department scratching their heads. As a result, the trailers for Ravenous sold it as a kind of stoner horror-comedy, with lots of shots of David Arquette laughing like a loon, even though he's barely in the film.

Time has been kind to the film, with many recognizing it for the cult classic it is today. Set in the 1840s, Ravenous finds Guy Pearce playing a cowardly soldier who gets banished to a remote, snowed-in military outpost. One night, a stranger played by Robert Carlyle stumbles into camp and tells a horrifying story of a wagon party that got stranded in the woods and was soon forced to resort to cannibalism. Pearce and several other soldiers venture out to look for survivors, but quickly learn it's all a trap. All the men are slain, except Pearce's character, who is left for dead, and manages to survive by – you guessed it – resorting to cannibalism.

Pearce staggers back to his outpost and finds that he now has an unquenchable taste for human flesh. And wouldn't ya know it, Carlyle's character ends up coming back to the outpost as well, posing as someone else. Thus the stage is set for a cannibal showdown between Pearce and Carlyle's characters, building towards a beautifully bloody climax that'll have you cringing and laughing at the same time. Carlyle is a hoot as the villain of the piece, and he's clearly having a great time sinking his teeth into such a meaty role. Bird's direction, coupled with Anthony B. Richmond's chilly cinematography, makes the whole thing look like a blood-drenched remake of Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller.