Tag Archives: American Mary

BLOG: YTC Episode XXXIII: Snap!

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The YTC podcast can be found at http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/youtotalcult/

FINAL.2.2

I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but here in the United Kingdom, people with ginger hair tend to get picked on. I have seen this first hand via my own red-headed friends being insulted due to their locks. Of course this is a hate crime with no justification. The fact I *may* have mocked them myself- just a little bit- was always with love and sensitivity hidden inside of the barbed comments… Honest.

 

Mocking the ginger-haired people is not only discriminatory, but it is also downright foolish. For one thing Red hair seems to be associated with Viking and the Celtic genes- neither of whom are known for their social niceties.

In addition, a large source of modern red-heads seems to be the Scots and the Irish, and both of these nationalities have particular cultural reputations for being hard drinking hell raisers. Then of course you get the odd rock star like Josh Homme. Whether you dig his music or not, he’s around 65t 5 and looks like he knows his way around a bar fight.

Queen of the Stone Age indeed!

Tougher than all of these dangerous gingers though would be the character of Ginger. You know, as in ‘Ginger the werewolf’!

SEGUE!!!!

Long time readers (both of ‘em) will know my perchance for a good werewolf fable. My reasons for liking the furry beasts can be found in a previous entry.

One Lupine movie that I have been meaning to revisit again is the low budget Canadian flick, Ginger Snaps.

Taking a less supernatural route than say An American Werewolf In London, The Wolfman or Curse Of The Werewolf, Ginger Snaps treats the Werewolf curse as more like Hepatitis, an infection of the blood that can come from various means.

Uh… Not that I’d know, or anything.

 

Ginger Snaps takes this scientific concept of Lycanthrapy and mixes it with the sexualisation of teenagers. The film is not only about Werewolves, but also a coming-of-age story about a 15 year old girl, Ginger and her 14 year old sister, Brigitte.

Ginger Snaps opens with a dead dog scene, complete with a blood smeared child, a screaming parent and Dutch-Camera Angles. As the camera pushes past the canine corpse, it goes into the darkness of the kennel, and… we’re off!

What follows is a fantastic introductory sequence for the two main characters of the film, Ginger and Brigitte. These two sisters share wonderfully over-the-top teen angst talk to frame the whole film. This is the kind of conversations that are completely heartfelt from an insulated, teen perspective but that will also one day be looked back on through older, gritted teeth at their inane earnestness.

 

Sisters doing it for themselves

Here is some sample dialogue form Ginger and Brigitte from this opening. The sisters are alluding to a suicide pact in lieu of being tired of being misunderstood.

Ginger: Suicide is like… the ultimate ‘fuck you’! …”Out by sixteen or dead on the scene, but together forever”. C’mon! “Together forever…”

Brigitte: “…United against life as we know it”.

 Through just this dialogue, the two sisters are presented as archetype teens that are believable. Their simultaneous mix of sincerity and naivety is horrifyingly spot-on. This brief character set up then leads into the fabulous (yeah, I used that word) credits sequence. These credits present numerous fake suicides staged by the Sisters.

Teens always leave a mess in the bathroom

Ultimately these staged deaths are revealed to be a part of an art project at school, dismissed with their mothers angry line “I told you girls; No more deaths in the house!”

Given the earlier conversation between the two sisters, these credits suggest a much darker scenario has taken place. In effect, not only do the opening credits present a unique title sequence for Ginger Snaps, but they also set up the world of the protagonists, and thus the film, for the audience. Ginger and Brigitte live in a world that is in equal parts playful, misunderstood, creative, morbid and black humoured. Which is a pretty ideal place to be for a horror film audience!

The girls art piece proves to be unpopular with their teacher, and the girls retreat to their PE class. They play Field Hockey, presented as a literal battlefield for the teenage girls of the school.

Despite being despised and mocked as ‘the weirdos’ in their year, Ginger is also starting to become noticed by some of the boys. One of the local jocks, Jason, begins to hit on her. Despite Brigitte knocking Jason for even trying it on with Ginger, Ginger is obviously just a little bit flattered by her first brush with being desirable.

For reasons linked to their bullying, by the evening the girls end up out alone in a woodland. Ginger has just begun to experience menstruation, which rather unluckily for her attracts a giant Wolf. Pff, always the way. Attacked, Ginger is bitten but the two sisters manage to run away from the beast. As the sisters come across an intersection, a local drug dealer, Sam, accidentally runs over the pursuing Wolf I his van, killing it.

“This one comes witha free calender”

And so begins Ginger Snaps study of Ginger as she goes through a difficult physical transformation- no, not becoming a werewolf. Puberty.

The fact that Ginger’s first period led to their attack is the very first link between womanhood and werewolf-ism. In fact throughout the whole movie both Ginger and Brigitte refer to periods as ‘the Curse’. The fact the Wolf was defeated by a speeding van, rather than a silver bullet, also presents the beasts as dangerous but not necesarilly supernatural.

The remainder of Ginger Snaps is a fun mixture of these two aspects, sexualisation and science. Without breaking down the entire movie, as Ginger becomes more animalistic in her daily life she becomes ferocious and sexual. Brigitte, feeling even more alone, withdraws into a world of research with the drug dealer Sam. Together the seek a cure for Werewolf effects via botany.

It is the journey of both characters that allow the film to show the progression of female teens in society. Ginger worries about her looks and reputation (“I can’t have a hairy chest!”) as she begins to embrace her control of men via her looks. Brigitte is dismissed as childlike by Ginger for focusing on books and for net yet having started her own menstrual cycle.

Although both sisters are going down opposite routes in life, they are presented as being equally limited within their own social structure as to ow they are viewed by the rest of the world. As Ginger says;

Ginger:“A girl can only be a slut, a bitch, a tease, or the virgin next door.”

(Sponsorship welcomed!)

Ginger, aside from a few murders here and there, has only really acted like Jason and the jocks so far as her classmates know. Yet she is now burdened with a slutty reputation. Brigitte has done nothing but work hard with Sam, and she is gaining her own reputation somewhere between being a tease and a virgin. Ginger Snaps shows not only the difficulties of women changing physically, but also the emotional toll of new peer groups/judgements caused by how they react to hitting puberty.

Even ignoring sex as a Wereolf-conceit, the Werewolf infection also allows Ginger to express feelings of frustration and powerlessness ripe at a teen age.

Ginger:“I get this ache… And I, I thought it was for sex, but it’s to tear everything to fucking pieces.“

 

Maybe she’s born with it… maybe it’s Maybeleine

Comparing Ginger’s now very present anger and strength to the early scene in the bedroom is quite interesting. Whereas the girls formerly discussed suicide as a form of protest, they have now moved on. They have both grown up enough to go beyond such theatrical melodrama. Ginger is now taking her anger out on the world, but Brigitte is finding a inner will for survival through independence.

The clarim that this is a completely female-centric film is furthered throughout the film by the girls mother completely dismissing her husband. Everything she says or does is ‘for her girls’ and she insists that all men ‘only want one thing’.

In fact all of the male characters are fairly sidelined. The character of Sam is prominent throughout the narrative, but the motive for his attempts to help are questionable, and his effectiveness virtually non-existent. When both Sam and Brigitte square up against an enraged Ginger in Wolf form, Brigitte is the quick thinker who keeps them alive. Sam is…. dead meat, so to speak.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em

Meanwhile Jason, the jock who went after Ginger, has contacted a form of STD from her when she essentially raped him. The men on display are either untrustworthy or at least ineffective.

We’ve al peed blood, right guys…? Right?!?!

Make no mistake regarding the content of the film though, this is all delivered fairly smoothly. Ginger Snaps is not some dry biology study. First and foremost a quick-witted horror-comedy.

Despite its clever appropriation of Werewolf’s as a metaphor for female puberty, it is still an piece of entertainment designed for horror fans- not just feminist theorists. The sharp dialogue alone is proof enough of this. To my mind, Ginger Snaps true success is that is a film largely made by women, about women but for everyone.

Oh, and one final note. Ginger Snaps features a TERRIBLE looking Werewolf. The film was low budget, and it is nearly 15years old. So that is kind of understandable, but really it is craptacular. Even so, as with many special effects these days it is still more engaging to watch this awful prop wobble on camera than any form of CGI. This is of course an old argument in film circles, but it’s still a point worth repeating; there is just no substitute for charm. Particularly in horror comedies.

Hungry like the wolf

Anyhoo, that’s enough about Ginger and Brigitte. Unless I choose to write about the undervalued sequel of course… meh,maybe. But probably not the so-so prequel.

Next Time I’ll be writing about Rooby Rooby Roo.

Thanks for reading,

MJ

BLOG:YTC EpisodeXXX: I Love (Bloodied) Lucy!

FINAL.2.2Hold onto your hats, coz’ from out of nowhere comes a bonus edition of the You Total Cult blog!

Having found myself with a spare hour, and having recently Freddy in Space’s blog, (http://www.freddyinspace.com/2013/08/the-30-question-horror-lover-challenge.html) I found John Squires over at F.I.S. had tackled a Horror Quiz.

In the spirit of a recent blogger who lost a book deal, I’m re-cycling other people’s ideas as my own. Unlike that mystery blogger- who frankly does not deserve to be named as they clearly want attention for nothing- I am citing my sources. (In addition, also unlike that mysterious blogger, I wouldn’t get involved romantically with a Quentin Tarrantino since I’m too lazy to get a pedicure). According to John’s blog, he obtained the quiz via Facebook courtesy of a link from Twitter’s @LiZZYizTWIZTid.

So, until You Total Cult’s next proper blog entry, here is my take on @LiZZYizTWIZTid‘s Horror Love Challenge!

 

      1.  SCARIEST KID CHARACTER IN A HORROR MOVIE- Esther form Orphan. Sure there are far scarier films featuring killer kids, but towards the end of the movie Esther’s antics involve making sexual moves towards her adopted father. This sexualisation of a small girl just gives her such a creepier aspect overall to any other child in a horror film that I can think of. (NB:If you’ve seen the film then you know all is not as it seems, but even so it’s a freaky concept)
      2. BEST SEX SCENE MURDER- As I recall, Delamore Dellamorte involves sex, impressively heaving bosoms and zombies getting shot all during the same sex scene. And if I remembering wrong and this sex scene never happened then I don’t apologise as it proves my brain is a wondrous place.
      3. CREEPIEST DEAD BODY- John Carpenter’s The Thing features a torched corpse that was roasted as it was mid-way through changing up its many different types of DNA. So. Damn. Creepy.
      4. A HORROR MUSICAL YOU ENJOY- There’s really only 1 option and it involves a shameless plug. http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/hollyweird/hollyweird-episode-xxiii-between-a-rocky-and-a-horror-place/
      5. FUNNIEST HORROR MOVIE CHARACTER- Whoa, this is tough. Obviously Evil Dead’s Ash, Big Trouble In Little China’s Jack Burton or Braindead’s Lionel are all hilarious. But in an act of balance, I’ll actually pick Leslie Vernon, the killer from Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon. Frankly, Ash, Burton and Lionel are too evenly matched. Besides which Vernon’s comedic charisma carries the entire film which is harder to pull of when he’s aiming to slaughter people, rather than save the day.
      6. FAVORITE WOMAN IN THE WORLD OF HORROR?- If only there were a women who had written definitive books on Zombies and Cult movies… oh wait, my girlfriend has!! Seriously though, she’s uber-smart and a tough cookie, so she could easily survive a Slasher Franchise. Plus we even met a Horror Festival!
      7. A HORROR YOU’D BE IN- Let me paint you a quick picture. A few months back I was in Japan. At many restaurants you have to remove your shoes, stow them away and proceed in your socks. At one such place, I was putting my size 12 Dr marten’s back on post-meal and I was met by a squealing waitress. She kept pointing and exclaiming “BIGFOOT-OU! BIGFOOT-OU!”. So I ‘d best be in a Sasquatch movie.
      8. FAVORITE ALIEN-RELATED HORROR MOVIE- John Carpenter’s The Thing is the best straight up alien horror that I know of, Predator is the most action packed alien-film and Killer Klowns From Outer Space is the most fun. So it depends if I’m in the mood for terror, machismo or popcorn.
      9. BEST HORROR TV SERIES- Gravity Falls, which is basically Eerie Indiana in an animated form but somehow even better! I’m also giving a shout out to American Gothic, an often forgotten TV show brought forth by Sam Raimi and one episode even cameos Bruce Campbell.
      10. A SERIAL KILLER YOU HATE- Yeeeeeah, this is too tasteless to answer as they’re all scum. So I’ll change it to ‘A Fictional Horror Film Serial Killer You Hate’ which goes to The Leprechaun. Because he has yet to get a decent kill even across 6 films. Keep chasin’ the dream lil’ buddy.
      11. MOST DITZY CHARACTER- Any human in Prometheus. They’re all morons with zero character-logic to them.
      12. FAVORITE HORROR MOVIE FROM THE PAST YEAR- It’s a Marmite choice, but I liked Resolution.
      13. BEST IMPALEMENT- Phantasm features a flying, spiked sphere ramming into a dude’s cranium- and just when it can’t get any worse a drill starts to burrow on into his forehead. It’s certainly creative.
      14. KILLER WHO HAS THE BEST WEAPON- Although it’s a one-off stabbing, Sleepwalkers has a cop get gets stabbed to death by a corn on the cob. How could I not pick it?!?!
      15. A HORROR LOVE-STORY- Every Slasher film concerns the love between a maniac and their blade…
      16. BEST THROAT SLICING- The Undertaker when he’s calling for the Tombstone.
      17. FAVOURTE SEQUEL TO A HORROR- To my mind Evil Dead 2 just may be the greatest film of all time.
      18. BEST HORROR MOVIE IN THE WOODS- See above.
      19. AN ACTOR YOU ENJOY WATCHING GET MURDERED- Paul Reiser in Aliens. Damn yuppies!!!
      20. MOST ATTRACTIVE HORROR MOVIE KILLER- Katharine Isabelle in American Mary- Grrrrr!
      21. BEST FAMILY IN HORROR- Aw, I’ll just name check the horror community as a whole! We’re all one big happy family! No, wait that’s a bit twee for this quiz. Matt Cordell and Turkell in Maniac Cop 2 seem like the horror equivalent of the film Step-Brothers. I’ll give them a shout out just so that Maniac Cop 2 gets a mention in here.
      22. WORST RECENT HORROR MOVIE YOU’VE SEEN- There are so many I can’t pick. I guess Texas Chainsaw 3D as it’s too lazily written to even work out a year to set the film in.
      23. FAVOURITE 1970’S HORROR- I don’t want to keep referring to a particular film beginning with P, so the absolute classic that is Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead.
      24. FAVORITE HORROR THEME SONG- Oddly enough I was whistling the Cannibal Holocaust theme earlier today. So that’s my answer for today.
      25. BEST VERSIO OF JASON VORHEES- Screw it, I’ll risk Kane Hodder’s ire and go with the Jason from Freddy vs Jason. Dude was a decaying bulldozer, which to me seemed a bit more threatening than a mentally handicapped guy in a boiler suit and some protective sports gear. In fact come to think of it, why does Jason wear a safety mask? Pfff- pansy!
      26. A HORROR MOVIE YOU CAN’T WAIT TO SEE- Whatever it is, I can wait.
      27. BEST BEHEADING- Adam Buxton in Hot Fuzz. Admittedly it’s more of a squishing, but the body ends up headless in a spectacular fashion.
      28. MOST RIGHTEOUS KILLER (FOR GOOD)- Shaun (Of The Dead) uses a cricket bat and hides out in a pub. That’s as righteous as an Englishman can get.
      29. FAVORITE B-MOVIE HORROR- Almost all horror films start out as B-Movies, so I can’t even begin to pick.
      30. HORROR WITH AN ENDING YOU DIDN’T EXPECT TO HAPPEN- Puppet Master 6: Retro Puppet Master. Yep, that’s my pick and here’s why. This terrible film had the lone ‘selling point’ of explaining the origins of some of the killer toys. After a horrendously dull film, the character recounting the tale still has not cleared up the toys origins and he ends by pretty much saying “Oh, I got distracted! I’ll tell you another time”. I never expected Puppet Master 6to be good, but when the one thing you are expecting from the entire concept is ignored that’s pretty unexpected!

 

Bye for now and thanks for reading. Next time I really will be back with some bits and bobs from behind the scenes at Frightfest. Probably.

-MJ

 

You Total Cult Ep.7: FrightFest The 13th

You Total C*nt?!?

Craig and Mike break their FrightFest cherries working for FrightFest TV. Here’s a behind the scenes look at what went on featuring contributions from Chris, Phil, Stuart Barr, Steve Blackwell and the inimitable Billy Chainsaw as well as a few directors and film makers who clearly didn’t know what a shambles this podcast truly is.

 

ff

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