It’ll be interesting to see if “Raw” lives up to its hype from the Toronto International Film Festival, where people reportedly passed out in response to its graphic gore.
The French film by Julia Ducournau is something of a feminist anthem built around a demurring young vegan who transforms into a flesh-crazed cannibal during her stint at veterinary school. In more fantastical fare — vampire, zombie, or cannibalistic tribe flicks (like the cult classic “Cannibal Holocaust”) — people eat people all the time, almost to the point of normalizing it. What’s more unsettling and provocative is when regular folk, like Ducournau’s voracious heroine, prey on their fellow humans — sometimes covertly so, skirting the law, norms, and even opportunistically turning their friends and family into a bloody feed.
Other femmes who feast on flesh
David Cronenberg’s “Rabid” (1977) intended to star Sissy Spacek as the ingenue who, after an accident and a radical operation, can only subsist on human blood. The studio nixed the idea, and producer Ivan Reitman (who would go on to make “Ghostbusters” and four years prior made the lame camp comedy-horror “Cannibal Girls”) decided to cast porn star Marilyn Chambers. Spacek would end up making “Carrie,” and Chambers, leveraging her raw sexuality, proved eerily effective as the reluctant predator of “Rabid.” Also worthy, Nicholas Winding Refn’s tale of Hollywood dreams and lurid excess, “The Neon Demon” (2016), and “Under the Skin” (2013), where an otherworldly Scarlett Johansson patrols the streets of Glasgow seeking lads who don’t have anyone waiting up for them. Continue reading