I’ve been recommending a lot of cross-genre media that isn’t too gory or scary, but I’d like to recommend a film for the classic monster-movie fans: Ginger Snaps, a werewolf film from 2000.
Mild spoilers for the beginning of the film.
Ginger (Katharine Isabelle – who plays Margot Verger in S2 of NBC’s Hannibal) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) are late-blooming sisters obsessed with death and stuck in the suburbs. When Ginger is bitten by a werewolf, Brigitte tries to find a cure for her sister–and cover up the string of murders.
I watched this film because it was recommended on Bitch as party of Lindsay Baltus’s 2010 article on feminist horror films. While the werewolf theme is a metaphor for sexuality, puberty, and the way young women are treated, the horror is not in site of the female body or the feminine. The film passes the Bechdel test and focuses on the relationship between the sisters, their classmates, and their mother. The film avoids the male gaze and challenges stereotypes about movie monsters and women, which I appreciated. I also like the relationship between the sisters as they grow apart but still cling to each other in their own ways.
While the movie itself didn’t feel revelatory to me as a watched it, I think it was because the film treats the girls like normal three-dimensional characters instead of victims or “strong horror film heroines.” They aren’t Final Girls or slasher-film fodder or, despite the theme of puberty/sexuality being concurrent with lycanthropy, sexualized female monsters. This is what equality in monster movies could look like.
Content warning: This movie has that goopy, slimy, Cronenberg-esque body-horror for the special effects of the werewolf makeup and the general gore. I’m personally not a fan of that style, but if you are, you can have all the goopy gore without having to watch Jeff Goldblum protect his precious manly fly-whiskers from pesky girlfriends with tweezers. Also, there are a lot of dead animals, suicidal ideation, bullying, violence, near-assault, monster-chase scenes, needles, drugs, and really awful sweaters. Did I mention the corn-syrup blood? SO MUCH BLOOD. Unrated, but would probably rate about an R for gore, violence, and language.