Nasty, nasty, nasty, nasty....Something Weird has been looking for this for years and, having found it, we were instantly appalled. Released with a self-applied X back in 1970, The Ravager is, hands down, one of the most zestfully misanthropic and mercilessly misogynistic movies ever made. Taking the politics of the Vietnam war and marrying it to the sadistic stylings of, say, the Findlays at their foulest, The Ravager, is sooooooooooo malignantly mean-spirited that, paradoxically, it becomes something of a truly twisted laugh-fest. In fact, this may be the ultimate party film for perverts.
Lost in Vietnam, demolition expert Joe Salkow (PIERE GOSTIN) stumbles upon a Vietnamese woman being tortured by two (apparently Vietcong) men who strip her naked, tie her up, beat her with a belt till she's bloody, then blow her up. Found "in a dazed condition," Joe is sent back to the states, hospitalized and released. He promptly buys a case of dynamite, rents a dingy room and goes to work...building bombs. As the narrator helpfully explains: "Joe was obsessed with one idea: to destroy people, particularly lovers. The scene of the Vietnamese girl and her two captors had triggered something in Joe's mind which could only be satisfied if he destroyed others!"
And that, boys and girls, is the plot: Joe runs around either blowing up people or raping women. Or both. This may be the only motion picture ever made to have a narrator casually state that the main character's "ultimate dream was to find a pretty girl to put his dynamite to use."
Sure enough, Joe sees a couple having sex in a car...both go ka-boom. He sneaks up on a couple having sex on an island...the guy goes boom. Also on the island are two lesbians...one goes boom, the other is set on fire: "Even though Joe is loaded with hang-ups, one thing which bugs him are girls who make love to each other!" By mistake, he even puts a bomb in a car driven by a mother and her six-year old son but, hey, what the hell, he blows them up anyway. And so on and so forth. Even when he runs out of dynamite, "there are other ways this ravager can satisfy his distorted mind..."
Hoooooly crap...Simplistic in the extreme, this is pure, cinematic illness. Of the many movies about veterans bringing the war back home, The Ravager (not to be confused with The Ravagers, plural, a Filipino war flick) is also probably the first of the Vietnam-flavored horrors, predating such sick-soldier sagas as Deathdream, Cannibal Apocalypse, and the notorious porno Forced Entry. With his bugged-out eyes and a perpetual expression indicating either shock, pain, or both, leading man Gostin looks like he himself is ready to explode. Director CHARLES NIZET's eclectic resume' also includes the horror oddity The Possessed and the ultra-obscure Voodoo Heartbeat.
From a bruised, battered, and banged-up 35mm theatrical print that looks...well, appropriately ravaged. --Frank Henenlotter
Starring: Piere Gostin
Co-starring: Jo Long
Other cast: Lynn Hayes, Luana Wilcox, Christine Murray
Directed by: Charles Nizet