BARE BONES: GINGER SNAPS on BLU-RAY

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GINGER SNAPS (2000) on BLU-RAY

I’m normally not one for product reviews, but am so very happy that this cult classic (full movie review here) has finally been given the love it deserves by the awesome folks at Scream Factory. This label just keeps delivering these wonderful editions of horror cult classics and giving fan favorites and obscure guilty pleasures the respect they deserve with pristine restored prints and engaging extras. Ginger Snaps is finally presented in it’s Anamorphic Widescreen glory (1.78:1) and has a nice DTS 5.1 sound mix. I don’t have the best sounds system, but it sounded really good to me and the picture was clear and had only some mild graininess in some of the darker scenes, but this is a low budget horror movie and that is just fine. The colors are rich, but not over-saturated, so they look natural and the picture is certainly better quality then any other presentation before it. There are some nice featurettes and deleted scenes along with commentary and new interviews from director and co-writer John Fawcett and Karen Walton as well as leading lady Emily Perkins. Obviously the presence of star Katharine Isabelle is sadly missing, but Scream Factory claims communication with the actress’ representatives went unanswered. Too bad. Otherwise this is a must buy for fans of this Canadian cult classic horror.

… and DAMN! Emily Perkins looks good in those new interviews!

three and one half stars rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: GINGER SNAPS 2 and GINGER SNAPS BACK

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GINGER SNAPS 2: UNLEASHED (2004)

(WARNING!: if you have not seen the original Ginger Snaps, this review contains spoilers for that film.)

Actually a pretty decent sequel, Unleashed finds an infected Bridgette (Emily Perkins) fighting the transformation while being haunted by her dead sister, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and hunted by a male werewolf looking to mate. She first finds herself stuck in a women’s clinic where the staff attributes her claims of lycanthropy as a product of her addiction to the monkshood, which is actually slowing the transformation. But there she meets, Ghost (Tatiana Maslany) a strange, comic book obsessed girl, but the only one who believes her, so she reluctantly bonds with her. As her perspective mate draws near, Bridgette and Ghost escape to Ghost’s home deep in the woods for a final confrontation with a few surprises of it’s own.

Brett Sullivan does a good job of continuing John Fawcett’s saga yet making this flick in his own style. The first half is a little slow, but Bridgette’s plight in the clinic is well done and holds our interest and gives us a little time to catch up with the character since we last saw her and get to know the eccentric Ghost. Sullivan then cranks things up quite a bit once the vicious male finds and invades the clinic and the girls subsequently escape to the cabin to take it on. There is some nice gore and the film has a different visual style then the first film, but not one that alienates fans of that film. There are some likable supporting characters such as clinic director Alice (Janet Kidder) and unlikable ones like jerk orderly Tyler (Eric Johnson) and Sullivan gets serviceable performances out of them all including strong work from his leads especially Maslany who really gives new character, Ghost some interesting quirks and layers. There is some nice suspense and action especially in the last act and overall it’s a sequel that should keep Ginger Snaps fans happy enough and certainly doesn’t dishonor the cult classic original. A better than average sequel.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 sexy she-wolves!

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Ginger Snaps Back The Beginning (2004)

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GINGER SNAPS BACK: THE BEGINNING (2004)

Grant Harvey helms the second sequel which is actually a prequel/retelling set in the 1800s that was shot back to back with Ginger Snaps 2. Frontier set film opens with the Fitzgerald sisters, or their ancestors, it’s never quite clear, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Bridgette (Emily Perkins) lost in the wilderness and finding there way to a remote outpost that is besieged by werewolves who are slowly decimating the occupants. The girls are reluctantly let in, as they don’t trust strangers, but since they were led there by an Indian hunter (Nathaniel Arcand) well known to the men, they gain entrance. Soon after, Ginger is bitten by the lycanthrope infected son of the fort leader, Wallace (Tom McCamus) who hid the boy in a small room to avoid him being destroyed by his men. So now the sisters have to deal with not only the wolves prowling outside, but the distrust of the frightened men inside and a slowly transforming Ginger.

Third Ginger Snaps took an interesting route and it works well enough. The film has a nice visual style to complement the setting and story with a lot of scenes lit by fire and filled with menacing shadows. There is a lot of gory action especially during it’s last act that involves touches of hallucinations from Indian practices and a siege on the fort by the wolves led by Ginger. It’s an entertaining addition to the series that, while not fully explaining itself, does seem to set up the curse and the possible bloodline to connect to the original Ginger Snaps, if you want to view the girls here as ancestors. It has it’s flaws such as some very stereotypical characters and basically a replay of Ginger’s infection from the original, but the girls carry the movie once again and it gets points for going a different route. There is also a lot of blood soaked carnage and some nice atmosphere, so when all is said and done, this third Ginger Snaps flick is still bloody fun and fits into the series well.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 sexy she-wolves!

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Check out my review of the original Ginger Snaps!

Also check out what I thought about Katherine Isabelle’s latest movie, the 2013 original horror thriller American Mary and my Halloween Hotties profile of this talented actress…

 

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: GINGER SNAPS (2000)

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GINGER SNAPS (2000)

Canadian horror opens in the prefab suburban neighborhood of Bailey Downs where some kind of wild animal dubbed the “Beast Of Bailey Downs”  is killing the local dogs. But Bailey Downs is also home to the emotionally troubled teenage Fitzgerald sisters, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins). The two sisters have a bizarre fascination with death, they recreate death scenes and photograph themselves in different methods of demise, as well as have a suicide pact. But the older Ginger is starting her menstrual cycle and when the sisters are out one night looking to kidnap the dog of local mean girl, Trina (Danielle Hampton), Ginger has her period and the blood attracts The Beast, a wolf-like creature that attacks and savages her before it’s run over in pursuit of the girls by local drug dealer, Sam (Kris Lemche). But Ginger’s wounds start to heal soon after and within days her behavior starts to become more and more aggressive and the anti-social Ginger starts transforming into a flirtatious high school vamp. But an increased sexual libido and interest in boys isn’t the only thing growing as she is also starting to sprout thick hair in interesting places and a tail…not to mention she’s developed an appetite for the neighborhood dogs. Now Brigitte fears for her sister and turns to Sam, the only other witness to have seen the Beast, to try to help her save Ginger from becoming a monster. But as Ginger’s behavior becomes more and more dangerous and her nails and teeth are starting to grow and sharpen, will it be Brigitte and Sam that need saving?

Director John Fawcett, who co-wrote along with Karen Walton, creates a moody and sometimes gruesome tale that uses lycanthropy as an obvious metaphor for coming of age and the development of sexual urges, but despite the obviousness, he works it quite well into his horror flick that not only reminds us of the confusion of our teens, but provides plenty of chills and thrills as well. He populates his flick with characters that come across as real teens and not caricatures and only the sisters’ parents (Mimi Rogers and John Bourgeois) seem to be more your stereotypical, clueless adults, but it serves the story to have them oblivious to Ginger’s changes with mom happily babbling about how her daughter is a woman now and dad not wanting to hear about all the ‘bloody’ details.

Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins both really come through and give good performances as they basically carry the movie. Both women portray their respective transformations appropriately with Isabelle going from angry Goth girl to sexual predator to monster quite well, giving Ginger both an air of danger ready to explode and a sympathetic sadness of a young girl who’s becoming something that’s beyond her control. Perkins takes the shy girl used to hiding behind her more protective big sister, and turns her into a strong willed young woman ready to both fight the monster her sister is becoming, but at the same time, save her as she’s not willing to give up on her despite Ginger’s increasing homicidal tendencies. A major part of why the film works is because of the performances Fawcett gets out of his leading ladies. Add to that his mix of teen angst movie and bloody horror flick with a dash of satiric humor and you get a very underrated flick that is considered a cult classic by many…myself included.

Ginger Snaps is not perfect, it’s slow paced at times and while that gives time for character development, it also takes it a while to get to it’s tense and bloody last act. The make-up FX are a little rubbery, but I still prefer the practical approach over CGI any day.

A sadly overlooked and underrated horror flick that deserves better attention and a proper blu-ray release. UPDATE: The awesome folks at Scream Factory are releasing this on blu-ray on 7/22/14! Here’s my review of this great disc!

Also check out my look at the sequels and Katherine Isabelle in her latest role as the title character in the 2013 original horror thriller American Mary! and click on her name above for our Halloween Hotties focus on this beautiful and talented actress!

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 sexy she-wolves!

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