But this year, put The Howling back on the shelf, don’t go to London, and stand up Lon Chaney Jr. for the night – and feast your eyes upon the Canadian cult classic independent horror drama Ginger Snaps.
Ginger Snaps is a coming-of-age tale with bite, about the death-obsessed Fitzgerald sisters, Ginger (Canadian scream queen Katharine Isabelle, American Mary) and Brigette (Emily Perkins, Stephen King’s It), who spend their time avoiding social interactions at school, daydreaming the best way to commit suicide, and staging and photographing death scenes for a school project.
While out late one night for another death scene photo shoot, Ginger is attacked by an animal that has been going around the community and killing all the neighborhood dogs, dubbed “the Beast of Bailey Downs.”
But when Ginger begins to find herself changing into something more than a young woman, the titular character’s sister, Brigitte, will stop at nothing to save her influential older sibling.
The underlining theme of the film is metamorphoses, as Ginger’s transformation into a lycanthrope parallels with the commencement of her menstruation – both coinciding by a lunar cycle. As her hormones take over, so does her taste for flesh and blood, and there is also a reference on sexually transmitted infections, as the shewolf spreads the contagion after a one-night-stand with a fellow high school student (wrap it up, kids!).
Ginger Snaps is much more than your typical teen horror. It’s tone is deep and the humor is dark. It’s also smart, edgy, and it’s a bloody good time for anybody who remembers the experiences of the trek from adolescence to teen territory.
So if you’re looking for change this Halloween season, check out this film, or the entire trilogy (including Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed and Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning), because this is the werewolf film you can really sink your teeth into.
~ Malevolent Matthew McPhee