For those just tuning in, I am going to be blogging every Sunday in February for the Women in Horror Month. So I am reviving my Monster Mavens section I neglected during the holiday season. Every Sunday check out posts on everything from woman portraying powerful female monsters/characters, to interviewing women in the horror genre.
Personally, I made my Monster Mavens section for this reason: To discuss the women that impact horror. And while I do a few interviews and showcases of several talented women in the genre, I also alternate with showcases of monstrous women icons. I’m not one to cheer on the victims in horror, and most times women are portrayed as victims. Nor do I care about the heroines. I’m all about the villains, the monsters, the misunderstood outcasts. They are my people. Always have been, always will be. I think this falls in line with the mission of WIHM. I am empowered by monsters, and woman who portray the darkness in the human heart. I think they are underrated. My goal is to bring more of a spotlight on them.
I thought we'd start things off with a post about one of my favourite Monster Mavens. The lovely and brutal Ginger from the movie Ginger Snaps.
She is to me, the best example of the darkness that can lurk in a woman's heart. Some girls don't fit into society's version of what it means to be a girl. They are too wild. Too primal. Too sexual. Too much of everything. Their very existence mocks the stereotypes of what it means to be female. Ginger is this and more, because the "curse" she is inflicted with is one born deeper than just her "moontime".
I love werewolves. By now you readers have probably realized this. I dig all monsters, but out of all of them I relate to the werewolf. I see my dark side as a kind of werewolf beast, a creature that if I let it loose would devour everything and anything in sight. Some people have more elegant darkness. A darkness that can masquerade better in human flesh, and they have a charm all their own for sure. But I know what I am, and so I embrace the inner werebeast within. Which is why I enjoy the cathartic release I get when I watch Ginger change. Plus, female werewolves tend to be more aggressive than the males. Watching Ginger transform is exhilarating, frightening, and torturous. A dark mirror of the horrors of puberty.
"It feels so... good, Brigitte. It's like touching yourself. You know every move... right on the fucking dot. And after, you see fucking fireworks. Supernovas. I'm a goddamn force of nature. I feel like I could do just about anything."
Her transformation is very moving for me throughout the film. She starts off as a freaky, disturbed teenager, which I was once in my youth. You see her and her sister Brigitte take amazing photos of faked deaths they did for a school project, and you get glimpses of their twisted relationship. Things change once Ginger gets her first period, but the same day she gets her period, she is attacked by a werewolf. So instead of cramps and bloating, she gets "strange hairs" and a hunger to tear living things to pieces.
Katherine Isabelle is an amazing actress. She's beautiful, and has an exotic quality that makes her prefect for a lady werewolf. She plays Ginger with all the intensity of a backdraft, and never lets up. If anything, as things progress and the wolf takes over, Ginger becomes a frightening, sexual creature that is more predator than human. The rage she has just boiling on the surface when she was human explodes out of her in violent, gory torrents. The ending is tragic for her, because as with most werewolf tales, the beast does too much damage and must be put down.
The thing that really moves me about this film is that the werewolf is used as an expression of the repressed wild within women. Ginger is just another monster born from it. She isn't willing to hide her primal side, especially after the change, and it becomes such a destructive force it ruins her. Was there really any other outcome for her once she became fully a wolf? Not likely. But the film isn't about answering such questions. The film, and Ginger herself, are there to make you think about the questions. To make you wonder.
Ginger Snaps is the first of three movies. It's my favourite of the trilogy, but the second movie isn't bad either. Brigitte's struggle with the wolf curse is also very intoxicating. But the third movie is the weaker of the series. Do check them out though. They are good Canadian cinema.