Thursday, May 12, 2016

When Aunt Flo is a Werewolf, or Thoughts on Ginger Snaps

 Canada has all the elements for a perfect werewolf movie.  They have the vast expanses of unexplored forests up north that could be full of all sorts of mysterious creatures, an inherent Native American mythology and cities with closer ties to Europe and the old country than their loud cousins to the south.  Add all that up and you come up with Ginger Snaps (2000) from Writer/Director John Fawcett of Xena Warrior Princess and Orphan Black.
Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle play Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald, a pair of morbidly goth teen sisters with no reason to make friends outside of their twin-like sibling bond.  Fascinated with death, suicide, murder and producing a series of crime scene photos, they lurk on the edges of their high school in matching bird skull necklaces and slouchy sweaters.  They are living, or surviving in Bailey Downs, a suffocating suburb outside of Toronto when one night Ginger, the older sister is attacked by a mysterious wolf-like creature in the park.
Ginger comes out of her shell, develops an animal attraction that the boys at school notice (you can’t have a decent werewolf movie without a doomed romance) along with wild hair and some new fangs.  Her newfound status separate the sisters; lycanthropy comes between them and threatens their bond.  The girls ask the school nurse for help with the weird hair growth and all the blood and get an awkward health lecture and a free condom for all their troubles.
Ginger’s final beast mode transforms her into An American Werewolf in London-style analog werewolf crafted out of good old-fashioned animatronics, latex and yak hair.  There are themes of destiny, curses and tragedy in all good werewolf movies and Ginger Snaps completes the triptych admirably in a final scene that is both horrifying and heartbreaking.
Much like Heathers (1988), the movie deals the outsider experience in high school and the frustrations of being misunderstood and the tyranny of the group.  These are tricky subjects that run the risk of pundits and social justice warriors accusing the filmmakers of promoting or glamorizing suicide and violence in schools, and Ginger Snaps also came out the same year as the Columbine Shooting.  But you can’t deny the emotional satisfaction of watching bullies get beat down.

Ginger Snaps spawned 2 sequels, Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004) and Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004).  With Mimi Rogers, the first Mrs. Tom Cruise as the clueless mom and be sure to listen for Lucy Lawless  as the voice on the school PA.


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.