Monday, May 2, 2016

Over the River and Through the Woods, or Thoughts on The Company of Wolves

Neil Jordan, director of Interview With the Vampire (1994), The Crying Game (1992), and Byzantium (2012), made The Company of Wolves in 1984, updating the classic Little Red Riding Hood fairytale with werewolves.  It seems an obvious fit now but in the 80’s the idea was innovative and non-traditional.  With gorgeous production design by Anton Furst (most famous for Tim Burton’s Batman, 1989) and Angela Lansbury as the Grandmother, The Company of Wolves is a series of stories within a dream, but it works far better than Sucker Punch (2011), possibly because it’s a variation of a familiar fairy tale.
There are 4 tales presented, like Kwaidan (1964), with state of the art (I mean, for the 80’s) animatronic transformations where they tear off the skin to reveal the wolf underneath.  The movie has elements of surrealism mixed with horror, including a wedding party banquet where everyone turns into actual wolves still decked out in their powdered wigs and lace collars.  It’s always nice to see animals dressed up as people.  Terrence Stamp has a cameo as the Devil in an Art Deco Rolls Royce with a hot 80’s blonde chauffer.  The Company of Wolves is very much a product of its decade; an 80’s fantasy film that dovetails nicely with Tony Scott’s Legend (1985) and David Bowie’s Labyrinth (1986) but of course, far darker and bloodier.

From a modern perspective, a movie about the dangers of young girls walking alone in the woods can seem like a heavy-handed metaphor for rape or at the very least, the dangers of premarital sex.  But even if you chose to accept that interpretation it shouldn’t diminish your appreciation for the movie and how groundbreaking it was for its time.  I mean, who doesn’t love a good werewolf story?


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.