My Sister is a Werewolf (Ginger Snaps, 2000)


I originally wrote this review back in 2011 when I first saw Ginger Snaps. The Last Drive In prompted me to repost it here.

Even though there are women directors, when it comes the horror genre it has the feel of being largely dominated by men instead. So when a strongly feminist, women oriented movie such as Ginger Snaps comes along, people take notice. In this case the movie is quite possibly one of the best werewolf films ever made, taking some of that particular sub-genre’s mythology and using it to articulate ideas about adolescence, womanhood, and even growing up.

Two sisters who are incredibly close are the main focus here. Bridgette, the younger of the pair, and Ginger, the oldest, do not fit in at all. They are picked on in high school, misunderstood by their parents, and get in constant trouble with their teachers. So when Ginger is attacked by a werewolf, their problems only get considerably worse. Naturally Ginger denies that what tried to take a large chunk out of her arm was actually a person who turns into a hungry wolf creature when the moon is full, but B (as she is known) from the start is unconvinced.

Feeling left behind by Ginger completely turning into a different person, B turns to a fellow student for answers, who also happens to be the guy that made the previous creature roadkill. They quickly discover that the mythology they thought they knew is only half correct, and the girls find out that seeking a cure quickly becomes the least of their worries.

Its remarkable how quick things spin out of control in this movie, and the last act is rather freaky. There is a great deal of blood in this movie, maybe even more so than most horror movies, and despite the creature effects looking a bit fact its rather cool that the movie’s director choose to forgo CGI and roll with practical special effects and actual makeup. The movie’s unflinching use of gore is also quite notable, although not surprising considering that werewolves are usually a rather violent animistic bunch.

Driven by great acting from the two lead actresses Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins, a neverending sense of fear, and its femine take on werewolves, Ginger Snaps is a rather unique movie. Whether or not the film’s sequels are as good remains to be seen. Still, when it comes to the genre this is one of the better horror movies to be released in the past 20 years.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: IT (1990, Tommy Lee Wallace)


All too many Stephen King adoptions don’t work out. Yet still there are ones that manage to at least properly tackle his material, IT being one of those adaptations that works rather well. Such a novel is immense and rather hard to tackle, especially considering the novel’s use of flashbacks, many which intercede with the present setting of the novel in the 1980s. And just like the novel the 1950s flashbacks work the best.

Oh and Tim Curry is wonderfully creepy as Pennywise, the villain of the piece. He has hilarious one liners and manages to even terrify in some parts. Particularly when poor grownup Bill recalls what happened to his brother Georgie. So much teeth…how they bite. Some of the adult versions of the young cast don’t quite fit with the novel’s descriptions of them, however. Especially John Ritter and Richard  Thomas, although both give quality performances. Also while I like Harry Anderson as Ritchie it oddly feels a bit too obvious of a casting pick. That said the rest of the cast is spot on, particularly with all of the young kids (Seth Green and Emily Perkins being notable standouts); also Annette O’ Toole is perfect as Beverly and Tim Reid is a great Mike.

Also they get Eddie right despite changing a few details. The second half isn’t as strong as the first, mostly since the kid actors play their parts with the utmost sincerity. Still I also enjoy the second half and naturally due to budget and length issues certain other aspects of the novel had to be cut. I wonder how the planned new version will work out, and I am hoping that it’s an improvement. Still I rather like and enjoy this slice of 1990s TV miniseries, a reminder of the days when such programs existed.

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