Home > Sunday Screening Films > Sunday Screening #30: Ginger Snaps

Sunday Screening #30: Ginger Snaps

This is a rinky-dink video made while cramming for Arrested Development trivia. Not so ambitious, but incredibly silly and poorly thought out (and executed!).

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  1. August 2, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Ginger Snaps cookies make it really hard to talk while you are eating them, perhaps more so than most other foods. They are just so hard and dry.

    Also, that was a soulful werewolf howl.

    • August 2, 2011 at 4:11 PM

      Yeah, it’d been a while since I’d had one and I forgot how dry they are. Tasty, though!

  2. August 7, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    The Austin-ites failed to represent on Tapeheads, so I that’s not signaling the beginning of the end (again). Anyway, onward!

    In doing some very basic research about Ginger Snaps, I saw that some reviewers found the menstruation/werewolf angle to be heavy-handed and obvious, but I thought they worked quite well together. It added to the confusion amongst the characters about what was happening to Ginger (though they pretty quickly overlooked the whole instantly healing wounds thing). I found it a little strange that there was a link between lycanthropy/getting one’s period and becoming instantly sexy and different. Maybe I just don’t understand what getting your period does to a person (side note: this movie made me very happy to be a guy).

    Ginger Snaps also falls into the category of horror films that start as one genre and changes direction going into the second act. I really enjoy this approach to horror movies, but I also struggle with it because they typically start in a genre that I normally have no interest. In this case, it’s a coming-of-age story and high school/family drama (albeit with a dog massacrer afoot [apaw?]) . What this means is that I struggle through a sizable chunk of the movie waiting for the stuff that interests me. Not to say I wasn’t a little engaged in what was happening, but it was all very familiar.

    The film has a different take on werewolves (what modern movie doesn’t have a different take on its subject anymore), even beyond the “forget Hollywood rules” line about silver. Lycanthropy is a disease that slowly takes over the body (so THAT’S why that educational film on viruses was shown!). I was interested in the gradual transformation process, a little confused and annoyed by it. The slow takeover was fun to watch, what with the tail and all and the escalation of the severity of her actions. I was confused at first because I’m used to the complete transformation to come at once and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a permanent metamorphosis (which I now assume it was). The annoying part was that people didn’t seem to notice the growth of fangs or the crazy fingernails or anything. Still, having it happen slowly allowed for one of my favorite moments when Jason is partially turned and attacking (shaking around) a little kid dressed as a dog. That just gets funnier the more I think about it.

    I thought that there was an interesting parallel in Ginger’s assertion that she’s just a lay and Jason will be a hero and that girls will always just be a lay and whores to others and what her mom says about how everyone will blame her for her daughter’s actions. There seems a bit of social criticism that women are viewed as “other” and to be blamed or accused of things that are out of their hands. This idea fits in with the first period and werewolf angle of Ginger Snaps.

    Finally, I thought the horror scenes were handled very well. Ginger was unpredictable and the ending was legitimately tense. I particularly loved the way the closet hideout resolved.

    Observations:
    — I wish the US had a film board that funded independent filmmakers like seemingly every other country in the world does.
    — My DVD was cropped into full screen and had a little flutter at the edges that I assume is due to a bad crop job. Sad face.
    — The death picture stuff reminded me of Harold and Maude, though I can’t convince myself that that’s intentional (but I kind of can).
    — Those bone pens looked like really crappy pens.
    — When the guys were yelling “Bounce” at the field hockey class, what the hell? They were in sweats. Unless Canadians have to take what they can get up in the Great White North.
    — Speaking of Canadians: “Sory.”
    — Big difference between lycanthropy and getting your period: on IS contagious.
    — “So you got bit by a great big hormone?”
    — Did Ginger go on a sexy clothes shopping spree at some point or did she secretly have all of those new clothes?

    • John
      August 7, 2011 at 8:45 PM

      I was also confused by the gradual transformation. I didn’t really realize right away that they were taking the David Cronenberg “The Fly” approach. Once early on I thought that she changed into a werewolf off-screen and back to a human when we saw her again, which of course wouldn’t make sense because her clothes were still on her. But I’ve been so conditioned to think that werewolves change in the traditional way that I just automatically assumed this would be the case. And of course, the gradual transformation approach supports the hormonal changes theme.

      During the opening credits, I actually thought for a moment they were undead werewolves or something, and those pictures meant they kept on killing themselves for fun. Kind of crazy, but still…the characters seriously had some really impressive gore and makeup effects going on for a school project.

      I enjoyed whenever the Canadian accents came out.

      Just remembered the scene when Brigitte tries to drink Sam’s blood and show it to werewolf-Ginger. Again, another example of how dark and intense this movie can be.

      • August 7, 2011 at 11:28 PM

        I thought she changed in the car at first, too, but I think it was just her back arching emphasizing the new spine situation. The scene also led us to believe she gored Jason, too, so I think we were supposed to infer a change.

        I like the idea of the undead “killing” themselves for fun. It seems vaguely familiar, but I don’t know from what. Even so, there’s probably room for more of that.

        • August 8, 2011 at 11:55 AM

          I think I agree with you both about the transformation…it felt like they “hid” her being the wolf-creature (by it happening off-screen) from the audience the first few times, seemingly because of budget constraints. I was ok with that, I don’t have to see Ginger being a beast to know that when she says “I ripped something apart” she did it as a beast. I also question what happens after transformation, is the transformed always a hideous beast once they go through the whole “ripped all my skin off and because a hideous ugly beast”?

          I also enjoy a girl with a Canuck accent…

    • August 8, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      One Austinite brought it…so there…punk…

      I thought that using the whole period thing was kind of a nice/easy way to mask the changes that were taking place within Ginger. It was a little weird that they made it as big of a connection as they did, when they could have just dropped it. (basically I agree with what you say). As someone who has YET to get their period, I don’t think that there is necessarily a connection with being promiscuous…I could be TOTALLY wrong though and the reception of a menstrual cycle might just make girls sex-crazed. IN regards to Ginger’s “sexy clothes” I think that she is wearing the same clothes, but the lycanthropy (lycanthrope) changes her body goes through makes her much more comfortable with her body and she doesn’t hid them under the coats that her and Bridgette wear.

      I don’t know that I agree on the Genre-swapping you imply takes place in the film. I guess it had some aspects of the “coming-of-age” story in the movie, but I didn’t feel like it was really enough to consider the film to switch genres. Most slasher films have a “family drama” aspect to them.

      The tail was kinda cute at first…ok…maybe not…

      I also LOL’ed at the kid in the dog costume scene.

      “I wish the US had a film board that funded independent filmmakers like seemingly every other country in the world does.”

      There are grant available, not sure that they are quite the same thing, but they are out there and available.

      Also: Think of the outrage if the US really did have a film board. Those idiot Tea Partiers would have a field day.

      Also, Also: Texas’ Film Commission has rescinded some of their funding for Machete because it “paints texas in a negative light” http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/risky-business/texas-film-commission-denies-incentives-58008 This isn’t the only case of Texas doing this…while I think Art needs governmental funding, I don’t think the government should be deciding what is/isn’t art in this manner.

      • August 10, 2011 at 2:39 AM

        It takes a good 30 minutes to get to any sort of horror action. The rest of the time is spent at high school with two outcast girls and all the popular kids running around making fun of them and beating them up on the field hockey field. You even say yourself that it starts out “as a poorly made after-school special,” so you agree that it doesn’t feel like a horror movie. It didn’t even really have any foreboding music. If you didn’t already know it was a werewolf movie, I don’t think you’d ever see it coming. I don’t know what else you could call it other than genre-hopping.

  3. John
    August 7, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    When I used to frequent video stores (always fun times, but now in retrospect it seems so quaint), I would always see this flick for some reason. I remember being unimpressed simply based on the title, which struck me as so awkward (maybe they don’t have Ginger Snaps cookies in Canada?) and corny. Now that I’ve seen the film, I can definitely say I have a much better appreciation of it, although I still wish they picked a different title.

    The main thing I liked about the movie was the character-driven approach it took with Brigitte and Ginger. Despite the disturbing actions and things they say to each other initially, they are really portrayed as characters you care about. Emily Perkins was incredible. She’s a great actress and the character she plays makes for a great protagonist. I daresay she makes the movie. As Ginger’s character drifted further away from sanity I lost interest in her, but Brigitte’s intense determination kept me riveted.

    I do think that the menstruation/lycanthropy parallel was a little too overt, but hormonal changes do end up being a perfect cover for what is happening to Ginger in terms of her lycanthropy, so maybe it just could’ve been handled differently. For example, maybe she doesn’t get attacked nearly the moment she gets her period, which just happens to be when she’s with her sister outside in the dark handling the dead dog.

    Sam was a cool character. I liked the role he played and his relationship with Brigitte.

    I don’t know if I really liked the “Final Destination”-ish way that Trina died, but loved the dark humor that was used for her character, particularly after she died. A great part to the story, given the conflicted feelings we have toward her (the protagonists don’t like her, so we don’t like her, but obviously we don’t want her dead, either).

    One definite complaint I have, though, is with Mimi Rogers. She had this odd approach where she made strange wide-eyed faces and expressions that gave me the impression she thought she was in some goofy comedy. I understand that the roles the adults play in this movie are mainly for humor (the nurse being the prime example), but the mother ended up playing a fairly pivotal role toward the end. She seemed to undermine most scenes she was in.

    I loved that last shot with Brigitte and dead werewolf-Ginger. Summed up the dark, tragic nature of the film perfectly. Just shows the balls the film had. The film ends up being pretty heavy, despite the fair amount of humor. I think the filmmakers achieved a really interesting mix of drama, horror, comedy, and teen film genre elements, with a nice emphasis on the characters.

    As a last random thought: The people in this town really need to take better care of their dogs! Once it’s obvious that the dogs are being targeted by some ravenous creature…why continue to keep them outside and unsupervised?! The constant dog deaths actually became humorous after a while, which for me is a big deal to say because I really hate it when dogs die in movies.

    • August 7, 2011 at 11:40 PM

      I fully agree that the actress playing Ginger wasn’t up for the role as more was demanded of her. She gave off the right attitude, but her line readings were pretty stilted, though it by no means ruined the movie for me.

      I think they were trying to use the menstruation right before attack as a reason for why the wolf chose her, but that could be bull shit.

      I really dug Sam and felt bad for him when he got in over his head for no fault of his own. I also appreciated that he knew that Brigitte wasn’t the werewolf because you’d have to be stupid not to notice.

      As far as Trisha’s death, I was into it. The scene is really amped up and you don’t know what’s going to happen as Ginger is losing her grip on herself. Then, all of a sudden Trisha is dead through no fault of the girls, but it traps them. Had they not been in a heightened emotional state, maybe they could have explained it away, but it would be tough.

      Yeah… I’m not a big fan of Mimi Rogers in general though I started coming around on her character towards the end, but then they left that thread dangling. Her willingness to use her girls’ cover up as an excuse to run away and leave her husband behind is very interesting to me. I at least wish she had a chance to see what was really happening to Ginger. But you’re right, the parents weren’t handled well at all.

      Totally agree about the dogs, though I got a kick out of the hockey kid’s relationship with his dog and the resolution.

    • August 8, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      When I worked at a video store, I used to give so many customers so much crap…it was fun (and I was lucky that I was an Asst Manager and my Store Manager LOVED me). If a guy who looks like me said something about liking the way Twilight handled the werewolves (like I did to the clerk at I Luv Video) I would have given him a hard time.

      After seeing the movie I think I might like the name of the film less. I get it that Ginger snaps…and goes crazy and all werewolf…but…does that title really fit the film. I’m not saying I have a better name for it, but I just can’t think that the name of the film is really crappy.

      • August 8, 2011 at 5:26 PM

        I once applied to work at Blockbuster while unemployed and looking for full-time work, but the store manager could tell it was just going to be a temporary thing and pretty much said she didn’t want me to work there. Pretty hardcore.

        • August 9, 2011 at 6:56 PM

          I was a college student, and sort of a Mallrat who would annoy one of the Assistant Managers, and ended up being hired as “Christmas Help” which turned into Assistant Manager. Even with all the retail B.S. I would say it was probably one of my favourite jobs. Just getting to talk to people about movies was pretty awesome.

      • August 10, 2011 at 2:41 AM

        I think the film would have been better off with a less on-the-nose title. Hmmm… how about “Bite Me.”

        • August 10, 2011 at 7:35 AM

          I was thinking something more B-Movie like “Werewolf Slut”

          • August 10, 2011 at 11:41 AM

            Yeah, mine’s a little Diablo Cody.

  4. August 7, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    According to the clerk at I Luv Video here in Austin, TX all three of the Ginger Snaps films are supposed to be good. He also mentioned that no one’s done a good Werewolf film in awhile and didn’t get that I was joking when I told him that I like the way Twilight handled the werewolves. Sorry that I haven’t quite had the time to contribute to Tapeheads, which as I mentioned is a film I really love, but it’s been busy around here this week. So on to Ginger Snaps…

    The movie started out pretty much like a poorly made made-for-tv after school special. I really started to give it a hard time on Twitter, because it really has some pretty amateur cliches right from the start of the film. But then I saw the kids playing street hockey…and said to myself “wait a minute, this film was made in Canada…” and I decided to give it a break and overlook some of the cheesyness. Overall I thought this was a pretty decent film. It provided a reminder of the angstiness of the 90s (Canada is a bit behind the times, as this film was released in 2000). The movie was a pretty decent romp, although I was expecting the whole Teen Wolf ending pretty much the entire movie. Not sure if it was intentional misdirection or not, but the continual inclusion of the girls parents made me really think they would play a much bigger part of the climax. Especially when Bridgette returns to the house at the end of the film and calls out for her Dad. Like I mentioned I expected one of the parents to break it to the girls that the Werewolfism was a part of their family heritage (seeing as the onset happened when Ginger received her first “monthly visitor”), not merely because Ginger was mauled.

    The film was pretty enjoyable, probably not enough to get me to pick up the sequels (or sequel/prequel).

    • August 7, 2011 at 11:45 PM

      Everyone on Twitter seems to be discovering Tapeheads on Instant View. We were a week ahead of the game! Where’s our credit?

      Paul, I guess you’re right about the parents, too. Didn’t want to leave you out from my comment to John.

      Regarding the ending, I was kind of hoping we’d get a little bit of a massacre at the green house. All those kids waiting to be mauled. Then, the sequel could have had a town of roving werewolves. Incidentally, I think it’s Sam who mentions that they can obviously be killed or there would be more of them, so I’m interested to know the reason why there aren’t. Perhaps the sequel addresses this…

      But seriously, Sam getting ripped out of the closet was amazing. Hero moment subverted.

      • August 8, 2011 at 11:46 AM

        I try to live on the edge…sometimes I live a little too far ahead of it (I SWEAR these Jams are going to catch on again http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jams ).

        I wasn’t really that disappointed at the lack of a huge massacre, I don’t think their budget would have allowed for that and I don’t know that it would have added anything to the story.

      • August 8, 2011 at 5:32 PM

        A town of roving werewolves would’ve been a cool sequel…an actual progression of the story rather than rehashing the plot of the first.

        When Sam gets attacked from the closet, I nearly jumped. I agree it was a really well done surprise.

  5. August 8, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Has anyone seen The Craft? I’d wonder what you thought of the two films next to each other comparing the big budget American version of the angsty-teen-girl-superhuman-being film to the small budget Canadian Ginger Snaps.

    • August 8, 2011 at 5:30 PM

      I’ve never seen The Craft, but I’d imagine it would make for interesting viewing due to its vintage mid-90s feel.

    • August 10, 2011 at 2:42 AM

      I haven’t seen it, but I remember trivia before movies at the time saying that it used more animals than any other movie ever.

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