Sunday, February 28, 2010

Horror Movie Review: Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps

Starring: Katherine Isabelle, Emily Perkins, and Kris Lemche

Directed by: John Fawcett

Written by: Karen Walton and John Fawcett

Release Date: August 1, 2000

Awards: Best Canadian Feature Film - Special Jury Citation, 2000 Toronto International Film Festival; Best Special Effects, Best Film, and Best Actress, 2001 Málaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema; IHG Award - Best Movie, 2002 International Horror Guild; Canadian Comedy Award, 2002 Canadian Comedy Awards; Saturn Award - Best DVD Release, 2002 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA

Ginger Snaps follows Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald, two outcast teenage sisters obsessed with death.

Death preoccupies all of Bailey Downs, where Ginger and Brigitte both live, as pets keep turning up mutilated by something being called the Beast of Bailey Downs.

Ginger comes up with a plan to get back at one of the Fitzgerald sisters' rivals by taking Trina's dog so that she thinks it's the most recent victim of the Beast. They strike out on their mission on a night lit brightly by a full moon. Ominously, Ginger's period begins. Shortly thereafter, Ginger is attacked by the Beast of Bailey Downs. Brigitte manages to rescue Ginger from the Beast, but as they flee narrowly miss getting hit by Sam. The Beast isn't as lucky as Sam hits and kills it.

Soon the clse relationship between the two sisters begins to strain as Ginger begins to change; dressing to appear more attractive, flirting and going out with boys, and smoking marijuana. Can Brigitte save her sister from the curse of the werewolf and save their relationship?

Clearly, Ginger Snaps is an allegory using werewolfism to represent puberty in girls. Like Will Randall in Wolf, many of Ginger's problems from becoming a werewolf mirror troubles experienced in teenage girls: cramps, a change in how men view them, increased sexuality, experimentation with drugs, and feelings of isolation. To make sure we get the analogy, Ginger even calls her period "the Curse", a term often used to refer to the curse of lycanthopy in werewolf films.

Ginger Snaps, however, presents the troubles of Ginger lightheartedly akin to the teen dramedies of the 80s such as The Breakfast Club mixing humor and teenage stereotypes with the serious story of teenagers learning to come to grips with their changing roles and bodies. The mix creates a homogenous, realistic look at a teenage girl, any teenage girl, as her life turns upside down during puberty...but with werewolves.

Related Videos

Blood: A Butcher's Tale

Emily Perkins, who played Brigitte Fitzgerald, will appear in the upcoming Blood: A Butcher's Tale. A lonely butcher sets out to destroy a family of vampires after his fiancé is infected by bloodlust.

Freddy vs. Jason

Katharine Isabelle starred with horror icons Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger is Freddy vs. Jason. Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees return to terrorize the teenage population. Except this time, they're out to get each other, too.

Ginger Snaps 2 - Unleashed

Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins returned as the Fitzgerald sisters in Ginger Snaps 2 - Unleashed. The late Ginger's sister Brigitte, now a werewolf herself, must try to find a cure for her blood lust before the next full moon while hiding from a relentless werewolf in a rehab clinic.

Final Destination 3

Kris Lemche, who played Sam, also stars in Final Destination 3. A student's premonition of a deadly rollercoaster ride saves her life and a lucky few, but not from death itself which seeks out those who escaped their fate.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Horror Movie Review: Wolf

**Due to Technical Difficulties, This Review Lacks Screenshots**


Starring: Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Plummer, and James Spader

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Written by: Jim Harrison and Wesley Strick

Awards: 1995 ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films from the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards, 1995 Saturn Award for Best Writing from Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films

Production Company: Columbia Pictures

Release Date: June 17, 1994

Admittedly, the opening to Wolf doesn't start you off with confidence. Jack Nicholson, as Will Randall, drives through a dark night. A large wold appears in the road in front of him and Randall hits it. Without much explanation, Randall gets out and tries to move the beast who, naturally, bites Randall and runs off seemingly uninjured. The encounter with the curse sharing wolf is given little explanation, ie. Why does Randall get out and mess with the body?

Also, the opening's effects are unconvincing. The night outside Randall's car window screams green screen...

But give the movie a chance...because it's a pretty unique werewolf film.

Randall, a timid book editor, notices some changes as his senses are heightened and he's feeling more aggressive. SOme of his daylight wolf antics are to be seen and treasured, especially him marking his territory.

In these scenes, we're shown a more ancient view of werewolfism which wasn't a literal tranformation into wolf, but taking on the nature of the wolf. This sort of werewolfism can be seen in the ancient Berserkers of the Norse and more recently with Native American traditions with their totems. Not to besmirch any culture, ancient or otherwise, for this form of werewolf is not inherantly evil. As Dr. Vijay Alezais says in the movie, "The demon wolf is not evil, unless the man he has bitten is evil."

But we also see a more Lon Chaney Jr.-esque Wolf Man at night. Granted the effects aren't that impressive, but they do what they are required to do and we get some cool werewolf carnage.

If movies like I was a Teenage Werewolf and Teen Wolf & Teen Wolf Too drew analogies between the bodies change during puberty and the lycanthropic change into a werewolf, then Wolf can be seen as an analogy for the social and physical changes inherant in a mid-life crisis. Randall's change occurs in the midst of such troubles as losing his job to his young protege, failing eyes, a cheating wife, and implied heart disease. Throw in the attractive younger daughter of Randall's boss and you have the makings of a full blown mid-life crisis.

Wolf stands apart from most werewolf horror films I have seen so far in that werewolves aren't portrayed as beasts out to slaughter humans, nor is the sympathetic werewolf lead character completely fearful of what he's becoming. A large part of the film shows Randall relishing in his newfound confidence. He does briefly experience fear about his nocturnal activities, but the ending...let's just say it's a happy one.

Michelle Pfeiffer does a nice job as the enigmatic Laura Alden, daughter of Raymond Alden, Randall's boss, played wonderfully by Christopher Plummer. James Spader returns to typecast as the sleezy protege who wrecks havoc on Randall's life.

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The Terror

We all know about Jack Nichlson in The Shining [Blu-ray] and The Witches of Eastwick, but one of his earliest roles was in Roger Corman's The Terror opposite Boris Karloff. A young officer in Napoleon's army pursues a mysterious woman to the castle of an elderly Baron.

The Witches of Eastwick

Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer had worked together in The Witches of Eastwick. Three single women in a picturesque village have their wishes granted - at a cost - when a mysterious and flamboyant man arrives in their lives.

Jack's Back

James Spader starred in Jack's Back. A serial killer in Los Angeles celebrates Jack the Ripper's 100th birthday by committing similar murders.

Dracula 2000

Christopher Plummer starred as Abraham Van Helsing in Dracula 2000. A group of thieves break into a chamber expecting to find paintings, but instead they release the count himself, who travels to New Orleans to find his nemesis' daughter, Mary Van Helsing.

Cape Fear

Wesley Strick co-wrote Wolf as well as Cape Fear. A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a 14 year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Horror Moie Review Preview: Wolf

Coming Soon...Wolf. Worn down and out of luck, aging publisher Will Randall (Jack Nicholson) is at the end of his rope when a younger co-worker snatches both his job and wife out from under his nose. But after being bit by a wolf, Will suddenly finds himself energized, more competitive than ever, and possessed with amazingly heightened senses. Meanwhile, the beautiful daughter of his shrewd boss begins to fall for him - without realizing that the man she's begun to love is gradually turning into the creature by which he was bit.


Inside every man there are two people-one good, one beast.

The Animal Is Out


Starring: Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Plummer, and James Spader

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Written by: Jim Harrison and Wesley Strick

Awards: 1995 ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films from the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards, 1995 Saturn Award for Best Writing from Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films

Production Company: Columbia Pictures

Release Date: June 17, 1994

Join us soon to see if Wolf is...fierce or tame...