GINGER SNAPS (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray Review
It’s become obvious to me that the werewolf movie genre is extremely difficult to pull off, considering the werewolf films I consider to be great can be counted on one hand. There’s Universal’s The Wolf Man from 1941, An American Werewolf In London, The Howling, how many was that? In 2000 came a low budget Canadian feature that really stood out in a post-Scream horror movie renaissance that mostly consisted of self-aware teen slasher films that featured young attractive casts and much like Scream, basically mimicked the exact tropes that they were intending to satirize. Ginger Snaps was different, mostly because director John Fawcett wasn’t interested in being influenced by other werewolf films that came before and screenwriter Karen Walton was only interested in collaborating on the project if she could change the horror genre’s reputation of negatively portraying women.
Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins had a chemistry that really draws a connection to their story. The moment that the opening shots of the girls’ fake suicides are revealed, it becomes apparent that Walton’s script not only had a dark sense of humor but it also offered a snarky bite to the sister’s personalities that conjures a tone that’s almost like a blend of Heathers and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. When combined with Fawcett’s Cronenberg-inspired vision, which is evident in everything from the Dead Ringers influence on Brigitte and Ginger’s relationship and the gradual transformation that inhabits the body horror of David Cronenberg’s The Fly, it all forms together into an irresistible concoction.
Ginger Snaps isn’t the first horror film that uses transformation as a metaphor for female puberty. Brian de Palma’s Carrie certainly used it very well, but the execution of all these cinematic ingredients allowed this film to have its own personality and its own voice. These two death-obsessed sisters are both outcasts in their suburban neighborhood and their elitist school, it’s their bond that anchors this film, not the lycanthropy, the complete transformation doesn’t occur until very late in the film. That’s what really makes this film resonate with it’s cult fan-base and really makes this the last solid werewolf movie, with the exception of Dog Soldiers that came out two years later. The most important thing that Ginger Snaps gets right that applies to any film in any genre is that it has it’s own agenda that comes first before the genre tropes come in play.
Scream Factory doesn’t disappoint with this release, there’s a new retrospective documentary that’s very extensive and features mostly everyone you’d want to hear from about the movie but unfortunately excludes Katherine Isabelle. The discussions cover familiar ground but goes into great detail behind the production. There’s also roundtable discussion about puberty in horror films, featuring Rebekah McKendry, Heidi Honeycutt and Axelle Carolyn, moderated by Kristy Jett. The rest of the bonus features were carried over from the Canadian special edition but they were all new to me, as the only disc I had seen previously was the abomination put out by Lionsgate. Let’s cross our fingers that Scream Factory puts out in my opinion the superior sequel Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed a good release in the near future, no need to bother with the crap prequel.