Werewolf stories have always been a popular subject matter in cinema, with their remakes and re-imaginings of their template in the last few years. So here are some more or less modern interpretations of the story of a man/woman turning into one of those beasts:
An American Werewolf in London (UK, USA 1981)
The morphing sequences are still interesting to watch, and together with the black humor the former victims provide when they vsitit the would-be wolf man, it works most of the time. But then again maybe the story has lost some of its fascination and appeal over the years as well. When I watched it in the early 90ies I could only remember some interesting sequences (like the Nazi-monsters killing the guy’s family which always freaked me out, or his attempt to cut his wrists), but thought the rest was a bit boring. Now re-watching it 15 or 20 years later, there is still the lack of real suspense in it. Sure there are more humorous and gross-out moments, but I never felt like this is a true classic I could watch again and again.
Ginger Snaps (Canada 2001)
I barely remember watching “Teen Wolf” with Michael J. Fox in the 80ies, but this was a bit too silly for my taste. Here we have more like a drama of two sisters who also have to deal with maturity, in a way I can’t remember any other werewolf horror movie did it before. The characters are convincing, the setting is just right and there are some really gory scenes (not even to mention the weird, bloody disgusting photo shootings of the sister’s suicides and the whole humor in general), especially the ending is brilliant. One of my favorite werewolf movies, period. Especially if a song by GlassJaw is in it, as good as sold.
Ginger Snaps – Unleashed (Canada 2004)
If the first part had a bit too much highschool humor in it, this one is one of the darkest werewolves movies I’ve seen. The whole concept of the surviving sister having to deal with her “disease” by injecting poison into her veins and being visited by her sister’s ghost… and slowly turning into a werewolf in a psychiatric ward, still gives me shivers. There is a bit of humor in it, especially with the other female inmates who obviously didn’t turn out that well with the “Happier Place”-rehabilitation-treatment, but it’s darker than in the first part, which felt more like a teenage-coming-of-age movie. Definitely the best movie in the series.
Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (Canada 2004)
Oh well, a traditional werewolf movie as a prequel with the same main actresses? What’s the point? Ginger Snaps was always about a reworking of the traditional ideas of what werewolf movies were about. It had a realism to it and on a psychological level, there were some interesting developments of the characters and their relationships to each other. Unfortunately the third entry of the series doesn’t work at all. Except for a little boy who was bitten and turned into a freak of nature, there are no scary moments, the storytelling is pretty lame as well, and the acting (except for the two sisters) is at best mediocre. And let’s not even talk about the werewolves themselves. They’ve never been animated that well, but here they look even worse, and what’s that all about with the weird Indian and prophecies? “Ginger Snaps Back” never feels remotely connected to the other parts, the only “modern” thing about it being that you get the “f”-word at some point. A disappointing affair (except for the cinematography in some dream sequences) all the way through.