‘Ginger Snaps’ (2000) – The Affect Of Effects

Another great opportunity to write about Ginger Snaps (2000 – read our retro review here), one of my favorite films of all time, came up recently. Even though I love the film for so many different reasons, I have decided to focus what detail I love most about it.

So today, let’s discuss the effects of Ginger Snaps and why, in my opinion, it has one of the top werewolf transformations ever. Let’s also talk about how influential this film was in stringing me in to loving the dark and deadly. Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins are pretty much brilliant as the Fitzgerald sisters. It’s a well done movie for so many reasons, but I am here to discuss just one.

I was only a teenager when this film came out, and I remember being so fascinated with the twisted aspect that the sisters had for life and the talent they had with gore and horror. That is when I became quite intrigued with the special effects in movies and began to analyze them more for specific likes and dislikes. This film has many moments of dark amusement and subtle little details that most would overlook or not notice. But today, I want to talk about the werewolf transformation itself, and why it is so great, especially for the time it came out.

Hollywood has a extremely long list of werewolf movies, and the special effects range from fantastic to decent to “how is that even acceptable?” But regardless, we enjoy watching the transformations because that is where we find the bone cracking, teeth clashing, and skin snapping moments that make us cringe from imaginary pain.

Ginger Snaps and the effects of the transformation are unique for one reason and one reason only; it’s not instant. The transformation takes place over a span of time, so there are many small moments where you see changes, from the subtle change of attitude, to the growing of a tail and a hairy chest, to sprouting talons on the back of a leg. It’s all small at first, until suddenly there is nothing left to change except a complete bodily transformation. The unique aspects of the way Director John Fawcett and SFX Supervisor Brocke Jolliffe portrayed the change from human to monster were never portrayed before as they were in this movie. That is part of what makes this transformation unique. It’s a torturous ride through a teen’s life who is slowly turning into something else entirely.

It can’t be easy to be a teenager or a werewolf, but being a teenaged werewolf would be the worst. I found the way the werewolf looks in Ginger Snaps to be a lot more terrifying than the ones in most werewolf films I have seen, skinny and lithe with a inhuman yet human aspect to its self-control. There is a sense of cognitive recognition when it comes to people that it knows, but at the same time, the humanity is almost completely consumed by animal instinct. Rather than just flat out attack, the werewolf is contemplative and filled with bloodlust. I enjoyed the final transformation so much that the minute I saw it, the scene flew into my top 10 list of transformations.

Writer/Director John Fawcett and Writer Karen Walton deserve so much credit for this film, especially when it comes down to the effects and the effort put in to them. The unique way they were done was quite different from any other werewolf film. This is one of those films that you grow to appreciate for so many reasons, so it’s hard to choose just one favorite aspect, but the transformation in this film is by far my favorite and will continue to be. I always enjoy the strung out, frustrated, confusing transformation of Ginger Snaps. If you have not seen it yet, you should.

About HorrorVision

I am a 35 old avid horror fan with a passion for writing and old movies. I love discussing and viewing movies old and new, everything horror fascinates me its a wonderful work of art that is underestimated by many.

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