Holy shit, it’s cold! M.L. Miller aka the @$$hole formerly known as Ambush Bug here. Let’s round up the countdown fun with the Best Snow-Covered horror films just as the winter season is wrapping up. To be fair, I’m going to forgo repeating myself with Holiday horror films since we covered that in December.
The frigid air, the crunch of snow underfoot, and the contrast between red blood and pure white snow makes Snow-covered horror films one of my favorite sub-subgenre’s of horror. I’m going to count down the films that made me feel the chilliest while watching. As far as how I compiled this list? Well, there’s no real method to my special brand of madness. I’ll be counting down every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through December to my favorite snow-covered horror film of the year. I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed, overlooked, or simply haven’t seen yet, but that’s what the comments section below is all about.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own damn list…let’s go!
#3 – RAVENOUS – #3
Why is RAVENOUS #3? An excellent cast, a quirky story, an amazing director, and a bloody finale is what’s in store for you in RAVENOUS, a toothy take on the wendigo myth that spatters all kinds of guts and blood across the winter landscape. You can find it here on DVD/BluRay and on Amazon here!
Directed by Antonia Bird
Written by Ted Griffin
Starring Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, John Spencer, Stephen Spinella, Neal McDonough, Joseph Runningfox, Bill Brochtrup, Sheila Tousey
RAVENOUS is one of those rare gems that shouldn’t be. I mean, I wish there were more films like RAVENOUS out there, sure, but you rarely see a well crafted, gory, star-studded masterpiece such as this film. And the fact that star-studded, gore, and finely crafted rarely appear in the same sense when describing a horror film, while a shame, also makes me appreciate RAVENOUS all the more.
The tone of RAVENOUS is what always struck me as the true oddity of the film. Throughout there’s a humor of the blackest quality. Even the most intense scenes are done with a wry, sort of evil smile. While things get deathly serious, I can’t help but smile when I think of the film’s dark tone and how that is present through the whole darn thing. Sampling from the Donner party platter, director Antonia Bird sets her tale of cannibalism in Fort Spencer, which lies in the heart of the cold American frontier, and populates it with all sorts of unique and fun characters. And while there are many aspects of this film to admire, the cast itself is something to be in awe of.
Guy Pearce (pre-MEMENTO, yet post-LA CONFIDENTIAL) stars as Captain John Boyd, who in an act of cowardice had fate shine kindly on him. Playing possum on the battlefield, Boyd was tossed into the bottom of a pile of his dead American compatriots during a particularly rough battle in the Mexican-American war. As the blood of his fallen brethren seeped into his mouth at the bottom of the pile, he gained an almost inhuman strength and animalistic disposition, allowing him to gain the upper hand behind enemy lines and capture the Mexican army commanders. As a result, Boyd was rewarded and sent to Fort Spencer because his Sergeant recognizes Boyd’s achievement as a falsehood. At the fort he meets the talented on-screen character actor Jeffrey Jones (I won’t debate his off screen controversies here) as the offbeat head of the fort. Alongside him are a gung ho soldier (Neal McDonough), a pothead goofball (David Arquette), and a stuttering coward holy man (Jeremy Davies), each of these character actors not really playing anything but shades of characters they’ve played before, but doing so in this extreme setting and jumbled all together like they are here and it’s instantly entertaining. When a delirious man who we later know as Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle) wanders into the camp with tales of desperation and cannibalism among his exploration party, the group sets out to rescue what’s left of his party, and given Boyd’s previous experience with consuming human matter, he’s especially interested in how this effected Colqhoun’s sanity.
Thus begins a tale of man against nature and man against his true bestial nature as Colghoun and Boyd match off against one another, first in the open and snowy hills and then in a blood-splattered mêlée inside the fort itself. This final battle between Boyd and Colghoun is one for the books, as the two men tear each other apart with whatever they can get their hands on with Boyd trying to hold onto any last shred of humanity he has left and Colghoun utterly ignoring his own. The results is one of the best final fight scenes you’re bound to find.
Sure it’s gory. Sure it’s star-studded. But even if this had B-listers and not a drop of blood, the production of this film is impeccably great. Bird soaks in the beauty of the snowy landscape, highlighting treacherous rocky hills, trees with jagged edges, and heights that will make your stomach flip. And on top of the sights, the sounds Bird chose to accompany this cannibalistic Heart of Darkness by Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn is utterly unique; as bizarre as it is beautiful, using sounds and rhythms unconventional, yet feeling authentic to the more primitive time. If I weren’t so engaged with the action, scenery, and gore, I’d wonder what the hell kind of alien instruments are making these noises.
But questions like that don’t really matter. This is a perfect story, realized through a talented lens and played out by actors who are the highlight in any film they appear in. RAVENOUS is a brutal film you won’t forget; more about the beast inside every man and how all it takes is a few wrong turns down the right rocky terrain to find it.
The Shout Factory’s BluRay contains all sorts of fun including audio commentary by the late great Antonia Bird herself. There are also commentary tracks from Robert Carlyle by himself, and screenwriter Ted Griffin (who went on to write OCEAN’S ELEVEN) and Jeffrey Jones. There are also the usual trailers, deleted scenes narrated by Bird, an interview with Jeffrey Jones, behind the scenes photos, and a particularly awesome musical track. This edition of RAVENOUS is definitely presenting this odd gem of a film in a way its hasn’t before.
If you like what I wrote above, help me out and buy it on Amazon here!
THE COUNTDOWN SO FAR…
#14 – THE LAST WINTER
#13 – THE DARK BELOW
#12 – POD
#11 – EXTINCTION
#10 – DEVIL’S PASS
#9 – MUTANTES
#8 – TROLLHUNTER
#7 – COLD PREY
#6 – LET THE RIGHT ONE IN/LET ME IN
#5 – DEAD SNOW
#4 – I SAW THE DEVIL
#3 – RAVENOUS
M.L. Miller goes by many names—Ambush Bug, Mark L. Miller, hey you jerk over there! He’s an original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
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