The werewolf has been one of the staples of horror cinema and 1981’s, ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and its transformation scene had set a bench mark for the advancement in practical make up effects that saw the Academy re-introduce an Award for Best Make-up for which its recipient Rick Baker would make his own going on to win it seven times in all until he retired. But Ginger Snaps was something different. Released in 2000 Ginger Snaps set in the fictional suburban Canadian town of Bailey Downs, where a series of dog killings piques the interest of a pair of outcast teens; sisters Brigitte (Emily Perkins, Supernatural) and Ginger (Katharine Isabelle, Freddy v Jason) Fitzgerald. Then on the night of Ginger’s first period, she is savagely attacked by a wild creature but even though her injuries miraculously heal, she’s left with a newfound desire to devour… Brigitte must find a way to save her sister from her werewolf ways and with only 28 days to do so, can she stop the creature her sister has become in its tracks, or will they both succumb to the animalistic instincts?
But Ginger Snaps, though undoubtedly gory was more than just a horror film was a something of a feminist allegory about female puberty. It wasn’t the first horror film to do this. Stephen King’s Carrie was the film that many remember which, right from its very first scene, equated female puberty with empowerment and Carrie developed her extraordinary powers and let’s not forget rage too. Ginger Snaps subtext about teenage adolescence and coming of age underpinned the story of Ginger transforming into a raging snarling angry beast and the analogy was obvious. Not the box office hit that it should have been it nonetheless garnered a growing audience and cult appeal especially among a female audience finding its subject matter easy to identify with.
Starring Katherine Isabelle who was 18 at the time of filming and was already well established with 10 years of film and TV credits and co-starred with Emily Perkins as her sister and 22 years old when filming began and also with an extensive list of credits. They were ideally cast and this collector’s edition of the trilogy of films includes their audition amongst the discs many bonus features.
2004 saw a sequel Ginger Snaps 2 : Unleashed with Ginger’s sister Brigitte, now a werewolf herself, must try to find a cure for her blood lust before the next full moon while hiding out in a rehab clinic from a relentless werewolf and in keeping with sequels it was not quite up to the original but got pretty close
Unleashed was shot back to back with Ginger Snaps Back : The Beginning which this time was set in 19th Century Canada, where Brigette and her sister Ginger take refuge in a Traders’ Fort which later becomes under siege by some savage werewolves and was, by the law of trilogies inevitably the weakest of the three films.
From Second Sight who have again lavished on the three films a number of decent bonus features :
- New audio commentary by Mary Beth McAndrews and Terry Mesnard
- Audio commentary with director John Fawcett
- Audio commentary with writer Karen Walton
- Canadian Uncanny: Stacey Abbott on Ginger Snaps
- A Blood Red Moon: a new interview with director John Fawcett
- What Are You Wereing?: a new interview with producer Steve Hoban
- The Art of Horror: a new interview with Storyboard Artist Vincenzo Natali
- Ginger Snaps: Blood, Teeth and Fur
- Growing Pains: Puberty in Horror Films
- The Making of Ginger Snaps
- Cast Auditions and Rehearsals
- Deleted scenes with optional director and writer commentaries
- Production design work
- Creation of the Beast
- Trailers and TV Spots
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed
- Audio commentary with director Brett Sullivan
- Girl, Interrupted: a new interview with director Brett Sullivan
- The Bloody Lunar Cycle: a new interview with writer Megan Martin
- Behind the Scenes
- Deleted scenes with optional director commentary
- Audition tapes
Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning
- Audio commentary with director Grant Harvey
- Snap!: A new interview with director Grant Harvey
- Girls on Film: a new interview with producer Paula Devonshire
- The Making of Ginger Snaps Back
- Deleted scenes with optional director commentary
- Grant Harvey’s Video Diaries
Limited Edition Contents
- Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Michael Dunbabin
- 112-page book with new essays by Meredith Borders, Kat Hughes, Dr Rachel Knightley, Mikel J Koven, Jolene Richardson, Zoë Rose Smith and Caelum Vatnsdal
- 5 collectors’ art cards
The bonus features on the first Ginger Snaps disc are extensive with commentaries from director John Fawcett and Karen Walton especially insightful but as a package the bonus features leave little uncovered making it an excellent addition for new and old fans of the film. The directors commentary on all three films, each of which had a different helmer starting with John Fawcett then Brett Sullivan and finally Grant Harvey are all well worth a listen although each discs ‘making of’ is less satisfactory. But that aside the Ginger Snaps films remain an important entry to the horror parable genre and are as relevant today as they were twenty years ago.
related feature : The story behind the shot……. Carrie (1976)
related feature : The story behind the shot – An American Werewolf in London
Here’s the Ginger Snaps trailer…..
Ginger Snaps Trilogy Limited Edition Blu-Ray is released on 30th October 2023