Fellow filmmaker and friend Jake hit me up in search of a film this weekend. The brief: Coming of Age. I rattled through a handful of films off the top of my head - he’d seen all of them, tricky customer, and so I was forced to dig a little deeper in the mental archive, back to a film I’d not seen since college.
I know Jake pretty well, he’s a fan of marvel films, horror and monster movies too. Monster films and coming of age themes have gone hand in hand for years. Beastly changes are an apt and oft-used allegory for puberty. While in the Marvel-era, superpowers have become the new and more popular metaphor, these older ideas can still be found in abundance, from Netflix popular animation Big Mouth to films like Twilight and before it Carrie. Puberty, we’re told, is a strange and frightening time full of changes and urges…
Ginger Snaps, a Canadian teen/horror film from John Fawcett, captures this idea perfectly, focusing on the Fitzgerald sisters; two ‘loser’ teenage girls from a small suburban community who shun everything around them and whose lives are turned upside down when Ginger, the older of the two, gets ‘The Curse’ (her period), an event which coincides with her being mauled by a werewolf.
Hair (and other body parts) sprout in all the wrong places and, coupled with a newfound lust for others, Ginger slowly transforms in front of her sister, from someone who hates school, boys and most of all; her loving mother, into a sultry and seductive femme fatale.
Her mother, by the way, deserves a special mention - played by Mimi Rogers as the wonderfully caring, menstruation-cake baking embarrassment to her girls (they refer to her as Pam). It makes me want to hunt out Ms Rogers back catalogue for a few hidden gems - although apparently critics were less keen.
If the title didn’t give it away, the film is strongly satirical, with themes of virginity, STDs and the struggles of femininity that lends itself to a feminist critique. It’s a cult classic that will be popular with teenage girls, horror and coming of age fans alike, so long as you don’t mind your films on the cheaper side.
After a rash of dog killings in her suburban neighbourhood, awkward teenager Bea Fitzgerald watches with horror as her sister Ginger is attacked by an unknown creature and slowly begins a physical and mental transforms. Can she get her sister back or is it too late?
Jake’s a fan of films with a fantastical twist so I’m confident this will hit the mark, but if not, I have a backup - see my next post.
At the time of writing, this film is available to stream from Amazon for £2.49 SD (£3.49 HD).
Running Time: 112 minutes.