Canadian Gothic

Katharine Isabelle as 'Ginger'When I first rented Ginger Snaps, many years ago, I was unlucky enough to get a disc that was scratched to buggery. I was drawn in by the characters, but once the story kicked in, weird coloured blocks began to dance across my screen, the player threw up its tiny digital hands, and the final showdown was little more than a frustrating flicker of stop-eject-play confusion. Gah! Ever since then I’ve been wary of buying any second-hand copies locally, for fear that I’ll end up with the same accursed disc… but annoyingly the flick, and its sequels, have long since gone “out of print”, so buying a new copy was out of the question. Regardless of my less than auspicious introduction to the series, at the back of my mind there was always the nagging desire to spend more time with the Fitzgerald sisters. Finally that desire has been sated, thanks to eBay and my recently purchased trilogy boxset!

Interestingly, the first film’s disc is the most “well worn” of the set, while the third is near mint. Although I’d agree that the original is by far the best and the smartest of the trilogy, with its brilliant lycanthropy-as-a-metaphor-for-puberty theme, and “suburban-gothic” backdrop, the sequels are still a lot of fun… and you have to give the various writers credit for making each film so distinct and self-contained, while staying “true” to the sisters’ mythology. Rather like the Aliens quadrilogy (and unlike several other horror franchises), you never feel like you’re watching the same story over again, even though the central characters remain fairly consistent. I thought they handled Brigitte’s deterioration very well in Unleashed, and ended her story on a very bizarre, if slightly unlikely, high. Where to go from there? Well, taking us back in time to meet their identical 19th Century counterparts could have been a terrible misstep, but somehow it works… probably because they play it relatively straight, as a period horror piece in the classic “small band of survivors holding the fort, but not very well” vein.

Generally speaking sequels are looked down upon as evidence of a lack of intelligence and creativity, but personally I’d love to see the series continue. Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle make a great double-act, and I’m still itching to see more of their work… plus I’d really like to see the sisters redeem themselves somehow. There’s the rather Moorcockian suggestion in Back that the sisters are doomed to relive their fates over and over again, and that the choices they make effect the overall cosmic standing of Good vs. Evil. They are like Eternal Champions… sort of… except that they haven’t quite grasped the “Champion” part yet. It would be interesting to find out what other previous incarnations got up to… or even follow the adventures of their future incarnations! Hmmm…

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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