The werewolf film is a strange thing. You’d think, being such a well-known movie monster, that there would be millions of examples of the type. However, there is not. I’m not even saying that there aren’t a ton of examples of great werewolf films, I’m saying there are barely any werewolf films at all. A long time ago, we did an article on this site to coincide with the theatrical release of one of the Twilight sequels. It was a list of 30 films, 15 of which were werewolf films, and 15 of them were vampire films, to watch instead of seeing the new Twilight. The hardest part about finding 15 worthy vampire films, was narrowing it down to 15. The hardest part of putting together a list of 15 sold werewolf films was a different beast entirely. It was hard to put together even a list of 15 mediocre werewolf films. Sure, you have the obvious classics like American Werewolf and The Howling, but what after that? Werewolves are a criminally under-utilized movie monster, and that makes me sad. Thankfully, we have innovative, quirky little films like Ginger Snaps, that bothered to not only capture everything that makes a werewolf movie great, but expand upon the mythology, and do so in an intelligent way that had never been done before. Yes, there were films that came before Ginger Snaps that featured female puberty as a plot device, but none of them really infused them as deep into the folklore of an already-existing creature, and for that reason, Ginger Snaps is sitting comfortably at the top of the list, next to the two greatest, and most notable werewolf films.
“This isn’t just a good horror movie, it’s a good movie. Period.” – Time Out
Fifteen-year-old Brigitte Fitzgerald (Emily Perkins, Insomnia, Juno) and her nearly-sixteen-year-old sister Ginger (Katharine Isabelle, Freddy vs. Jason, See No Evil 2) are both best friends and outcasts. Obsessed with dying and bound by a childhood pact to stay together forever, they loathe their mind-numbing existence in the suburbs of Bailey Downs. One night the two girls are heading through the woods when Ginger is savagely attacked by a wild creature.
Ginger’s horrible wounds miraculously heal over, but something is not quite right about her. Ginger is irritable and in denial. But to Brigitte, it is obvious that a terrifying force has taken hold of her sister. She’s convinced that the insatiable craving her sister is experiencing can mean only one thing – Ginger is becoming something unspeakably evil and monstrous.
Also starring Mimi Rogers (Penny Dreadful), Kris Lemche (Final Destination 3) and Jesse Moss (Tucker & Dale vs. Evil), this riveting funfest was directed by John Fawcett (Orphan Black) and written by Karen Walton (Orphan Black).
There’s something special about Ginger Snaps, even beyond being one of the few great werewolf movies. It’s such an intelligent film, and that type of thing is a rarity these days. Even films that some fans prop up as being smart, are only smart in a commercialized, accessible way. Ginger Snaps dared to be legitimately smart, but also managed to maintain a level of accessibility, so that even the more casual viewers that are only watching for the obvious qualities of the film can get enjoyment from it. That’s a fine line to walk, but this movie does it so well. Okay, I’m not a woman, and I’ve never had a period, but I know all-too-well what it’s like to feel like an outsider, like you’re the only sane person, and you’re surrounded by pod-people. I grew up in Eastern Kentucky, and suffice it to say, when I was growing up, there weren’t a lot of weird kids, that liked coloring their hair, listening to punk rock and industrial music, and obsess about horror movies. It has become more acceptable at this point in time, which I certainly resent. I had to literally fight for the right to be who I wanted to be when I was growing up, and the kids today have it so much easier, but, I digress.
It’s hard to believe at first, that this film was directed by a male. Once you dig a little further, though, you learn that it was written by a female, and not only that, a female that hated the concept of the film, and horror film in general. One might think to themselves that it is a little odd for somebody that hates a particular type of film to write it, but in a lot of ways it is the best way to tackle it. If a film is written by somebody that is a huge fan of that particular type of movie, then you will be bombarded nonstop, with references and nods to the films from the genre that they personally love. It also has an impact on the contents of the film itself, because they’ll work really hard to squeeze the popular lore behind the story, elements that every other film of its type features prominently. Somebody that dislikes the genre, and dislikes the particular sub-genre, will tweak, and in some cases change entirely, the elements that do not appeal to them personally and, as in the case of Ginger Snaps, result in a finished product that stands out prominently in comparison to the more generic entries into the same category. Director John Fawcet may have come up with the basic idea for the film, but Karen Walton turned it into what it is. Even Fawcet will admit that he had very little to do with the actual writing process, other than offering suggestions.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo release of Ginger Snaps is the best home video incarnation of the film yet, and probably the definitive edition. It features a gorgeous 1080p transfer of the film, in AVC encoding, and framed in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Detail level is great, grain is consistent, never venturing into overly-saturated territory, and the colors pop. All of the practical effects shine in this Blu-ray presentation. The color levels are perfect, which means any scenes of gore are extremely pretty to look at. Some films – ones that feature mostly practical effects – don’t age quite as well as the others, which becomes even more evident as films of the ilk make the transition onto the Blu-ray format. Ginger Snaps suffers from nothing of the such. The practical effects of this film are extremely well made, and continue to hold up, even under high-definition scrutiny. You have a couple of different audio options on the disc, one of which being a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, and the other being a DTS-HD MA Stereo track. I watched the film with the 5.1 track, and found myself impressed with the clarity of the presentation. It may be a little more front-channel-centered than some new surround tracks, but it sounds fantastic. On top of being almost perfect in video and audio presentation, this package comes filled to brim with bonus content. Some new, some old, compiled to make this one of the most extras-heavy releases of the summer. I won’t go into intimate detail for every extra on the disc, because we would be here all day. I will list them in-full below, though. One of the most important and informative special features is a fairly lengthy documentary, featuring all-new interviews with the director, the writer, Emily, who plays Bridget in the film, and the special effects crew involved in both the latex work, as well as the creation of the beast itself. It’s an impressive, inside look into the production of the film, and fans of the film will find it to be worth the cost of the disc by itself. This phenomenal Blu-ray release of one of my top 3 werewolf films is available today from Scream Factory. Head over to their website to purchase your copy. Last I heard, they still had some of the exclusive posters left, so perhaps if you get your order in soon, you can snag one as well.
Please note: Screenshots have been captured directly from the Blu-ray. All images are property of Scream Factory. They have been scaled to fit the page, and compressed to the JPG format. In doing so, images will lose clarity and sharpness.
- NEW interviews with director John Fawcett, writer Karen Walton, actors Emily Perkins and Jesse Moss, Producer Steve Hoban, Make-up Effects artist Paul Jones, Composer Mike Shields and Editor Brett Sullivan
- NEW Women in Horror panel discussing GINGER SNAPS
- Audio Commentary with Director John Fawcett
- Audio Commentary with Writer Karen Walton
- Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by John Fawcett and Karen Walton
- The Making of GINGER SNAPS – Vintage Featurette
- Creation of the Beast – Vintage Featurette
- Being John Fawcett- Vintage Featurette
- Cast Auditions and Rehearsals
- Theatrical Trailers
- TV Spots
- Production Design Artwork Photo Gallery