Our resident lycanthropist, Maggie McMuffin, experiences what happens when a franchise lets you down, then moves onto much more important topics such as gravy and the drawbacks of eating werewolf meat.
I’m not entirely sure what happened.
Having enjoyed the first and second installments of the Ginger Snapstrilogy, I was thrilled at a prequel. It was set in the 1800s, filled with fur trappers and featured more wolves than the previous two films combined. But it also featured racist tropes about First Nations people, confusing plot threads, and some incest? Maybe? I’m not as into subtextual incest as I am into subtextual lesbians, even if the two are intersecting as they do here.
When the film popped up to be reviewed I of course took it, having the extensive background in lycanthropy that I do, but when I thought back to my first, second, third viewings of Ginger Snaps Back I realized I could remember very little of it. I knew there were wolves. I knew there were fur trappers. I knew it was essentially a retelling of the first film but without periods.
I watched the film again, this time with compatriots, and found that my mind could make no clearer sense of it. Within a week of viewing, and having taken no notes to guide me, I once again found myself unable to remember more than a few snippets of the film. Flashes of violence and sex here and there. A child half-transformed. Bits of dialogue that were vaguely heightened to give it an historical flair but, like, still rooted in modern speech.
And Katherine Isabelle in a purple dress with a low-cut bodice. The most lasting image of all. It gives me warmth as I stumble through the cold of this review, trying desperately to reach a safe haven just as the proto-Fitzgerald sisters do at the start. In order to make sense of it all, I have sequestered myself away and lit some incense with plans to meditate and hopefully piece the story back together. The room, like this film, is dark and lit by only a few candles. I am terrified and confused, the same blend of emotions I felt watching the film. Dear god, let this work.
They are orphans, I think. Yes, their parents died…somehow. They lose a horse. They end up surrounded by men (the theme of men being mostly terrible continues in this film and this grants my misandrist heart some peace). Most of the men are white but one of First Nations and he is the hottest. He is also the most sexually viable and at one point he and Ginger get to second base. That may have been a dream sequence. There are a lot of fever dream sequences in this film. Am I having a fever dream right now?
Okay the meditation isn’t working and I can only talk like this for so long.
This movie is terrible, you guys. It’s awful. And it pains me to say that. I mean, there are good points but mostly this film is a confusing mish-mashy retread of the first film without the themes that made it so brilliant. It’s schlocky, racist, and I am not lying when I say that after four viewings in my short life I cannot remember most of it. No dialogue, little context for shots I remember, and no names aside from the two that have been used through the whole trilogy. There’s a whole thing about ‘the red and the black,’ meaning Ginger and Brigitte. Ginger, like in the first film, becomes a werewolf and has to deal with it. Her and Brigitte get slut-shamed by the fur trapper camp, mostly by this one preacher who must have a hard on for Lars Von Trier movies with how much he goes on about ‘woman is the root of all sin blah blah blah.’ There’s a werewolf boy who bit Ginger and Ginger is supposed to kill him to cure her lycanthropy but she can’t and then he gets shot anyway and she’s immediately like ‘oh man, I should have killed that kid’ and it’s like, yeah, you should have. This kid doesn’t exist outside of being a werewolf who plays with dolls and is creepy so, yeah, I would feel nothing if you killed him. Just shoot him like the fur trappers do. And there’s also a spirit journey or some other racist nonsense and Brigitte kills the First Nations dude rather than killing Ginger and then they become werewolves together and possibly also lovers because you have to give the fans what they want? (No really, the Ginger Snaps fandom is small, but look up the fanfiction and it’s mostly incest fic. Which is also why Hannibal fans are crossing their fingers for Emily Perkins to show up and play the eventual girlfriend to Katherine Isabelle’s character.)
I just…I do not understand how a film series that had one solid and one nearly solid installation ended up doing this to me. And yes, I do take it personally. I take it very personally that the one time I opened my heart up to an entire trilogy it did this. Though it did give me Katherine Isabelle in a purple dress with a low-cut bodice. Is it wrong to mention that twice in one review? NOT AS WRONG AS THIS FILM IS.
I remember the gravy I had with this film more than the actual film. I watched it with Stevi and Marcus, two other 10YA contributors, and Linda (who if she isn’t a contributor needs to be). Stevi made us poutine* and we sat around making fun of the film. As I cannot accurately describe the film to you, I am going to relay the most memorable part of the day: our discussion on what would happen if you eat werewolf meat.
Now, the fur trappers are shown as killing and skinning wolves (or I may have made that up to make more sense of things). They are also shown to be starving. So if you’re killing wolves, even werewolves, someone had to have eaten it at some point right? But what happens to a human who consumes werewolf? Do they become werewolf themselves? Does it taste good? If a werewolf bites a human, they become a lycanthrope. So it would stand to reason that lycanthropy is transmitted through saliva. This also is in line with the first Ginger Snaps movie where the guy Ginger sleeps with develops a slower developing form of werewolfitis. Even though she bit and scratched him in human form, it would seem that that, plus makeouts, plus not using a condom (Stay safe, kids. Lycanthropy kills.) can still make someone into an ungodly beast.
Wait. So maybe it’s not just saliva. That’s actually a massive exchange of fluids I just listed off. So maybe the saliva or other fluids need to get inside of a person. Because it probably was the biting and sexing more than the makeouts that transmitted lycanthropy to that guy. And it must be the werewolf saliva getting into the bloodstream that transforms a person.
Also, a blood exchange is how Brigitte becomes a werewolf in the first film. (And maybe this one? I don’t remember.) She cuts her hand and Ginger’s and presses them together. So eating a wolf steak, which would have wolf blood in it, could do it.
By all of that logic, consuming werewolf meat could have an effect on people. Perhaps a smaller one as it’s a smaller exchange. Maybe it’ll just make someone more aggressive or sexy or both? Or they might have to eat a lot of the wolf meat to transform. The thing is, each Ginger Snaps film shows transformations being different for different people depending on the extent of their contact with wolves, the sort of contact, and how much the person accepts/denies their lycanthropy. So it is feasible that, within this universe, eating a werewolf could convert someone.
But then we have to consider would wolf meat even taste good? People eat dog so perhaps it would be similar? The werewolves in Ginger Snaps are muscle-y, skinny things though, so honestly they look like their meat would be really tough.
Therefore I feel like starvation or actively wishing to become a werewolf would be the only reasons to eat werewolf in the first place. Unless you’re a werewolf yourself, in which case it’s just cannibalism.
And now that I’ve spoken about cannibalism and Katherine Isabelle, I feel this is a good time to mention that the DVD set for Hannibal: Season 2** will be available for purchase on September 16th and I have a birthday coming up***. Buy me something to wash the taste of werewolf meat out of my mouth.
* Stevi makes some of the best gravy ever.
** Katherine Isabelle does not wear a purple dress with a low-cut bodice in this but she does wear some dapper suits and horse-riding outfits.
*** My birthday is in December but don’t let that stop you.