Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Blood Quantum (2019, Jeff Barnaby)

Zombie movies are almost played out at this point so it was cool to have one that has American Indians being immune to the zombie plague. The film mostly centers around a family group led by Traylor (Michael Greyeyes) who have to deal with the outside world falling apart, which is typical for the apocalypse. Even though this movie is low budget, it at least has a good concept and a solid cast. At the same time, I felt that the movie didn’t quite go below surface level issues, and it could have been longer, actually. There wasn’t enough time to further explore the fact that in this movie, the people who regulated the tribe to the reservation were the ones getting sick instead, which is a bleak irony considering that Europeans spread diseases to the American Indians and other native tribes when they invaded.

Oh and the Lysol subplot is mostly just the movie serving up a villain who puts forth beliefs the audience can argue over. I will admit this element did leave me thinking about the movie after it ended, yet at the same time the movie didn’t need someone willing to kill survivors based on extremist beliefs. I got enough out of the whole population control thing from the last two Avengers movies. Despite that I still liked this movie, even though the ending wasn’t really an ending. Too many horror movies do that sort of thing, and most of the time it causes me to roll my eyes.

Actually the more I think about this movie, the less I like it. It took me two days to finish it, and this is one of those films where those involved, the concept and the themes warranted a higher budget. I gave it an 7/10, all of my ratings are inflated anyways and there are just some movies I don’t feel like reviewing. The grandpa was pretty badass, though: he wielded a katana during the whole movie.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Ravenous (1999, Antonia Bird)

Owing something of a debt to the underrated and funny Cannibal! The Musical, the 1999 cult film Ravenous works as a horror/comedy/western that has some bleak humor and offers up a decent social/political commentary as well. The cast is fantastic, as the two main stars are Guy Pearce, and Robert Carlyle, who at the time were still up and coming stars. Rounding out the rest of the bunch is Jeffrey Jones, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Neal McDonough and John Spencer. They aid in the film being as good as it is, although the humorous moments and the freaky elements combine to form a unique and entertaining movie. Of course one doesn’t quite know what to expect when viewing a film based off of the cannibalism tales of the Donner Party and Alferd Packer. Also the score by Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn is full of western twang and only underlines the insanity that populates most of the film.

Starting out innocently enough, Ravenous begins with a solider, Boyd, being sent out to a fort in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. From there the soldiers stationed at Fort Spencer, plus Boyd, run into a man who turns out to be a cannibal. There is a scene that is equal parts creepy, hilarious, action packed and rather violent, and I will not reveal what exactly happens because it should be viewed in the context of the film.

Later on, Carlyle’s psychotic, murderous soldier mentions Manifest Destiny, twisting the idea of expansion to fit his own evil desires, reminding the audience that westward expansion was supported by violent conquest of the local American Indians. Even though at times this film’s material wears a bit thin, Ravenous is still a nice addition to the horror genre. Not only do I love the ending, but I also wish that Hollywood would make another film quite like this one, or at least one that was a horror western, although perhaps that already happened and such a film was not as good as Bird’s effort. Too bad if that’s the case.

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