is a 2000
Canadian werewolf film
. The film
focuses on two close teenage sisters, Ginger and Brigitte
Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle
and Emily Perkins
), who are obsessed with death
. The title is a
on the biscuit of the
. "Snap" also relates to losing one's self-control, or
a quick, aggressive bite. During the film's production, the Columbine High
School massacre and the W. R. Myers High School shooting
took place, causing public controversy over the film's horror
themes and the funding it received from Telefilm
was well received by critics, and compared
favourably with auteur David
's work. Critics also praised the lead actresses
performances and the film's use of lycanthropy
as a metaphor for puberty.
Snaps won the Special Jury Citation award at the Toronto
International Film Festival.
Based on successful DVD sales, both a sequel, Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed
and a prequel, Ginger Snaps Back: The
, were filmed back to back in 2003
. Though Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed
had a limited, yet wider, release than the original, it failed
dismally at the box office. Consequently Ginger Snaps Back
A mother finds her dog's mutilated body strung across the lawn. She
runs into her front yard, sobbing uncontrollably, "It got our dog!
It got our Baxter!" Meanwhile a slideshow of Brigitte (Emily Perkins
) and Ginger Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle
) creating staged
deaths for a school project plays in their classroom. Their teacher
and the school's guidance conselor, Mr. Wayne, (Peter Keleghan
) demands to see them after
class.Later, they smoke and play: "Search and Destroy", dissing the
reputation of people they dislike, and imagining how they may die.
Trina Sinclair's (Danielle Hampton
friend overhears Brigitte describing Trina's character and death,
and tells Trina. The sisters notice this, and Ginger tells Brigitte
she will "cover her". However, as Ginger is distracted, Trina
pushes Brigitte into the remains of a dog, a victim of the Beast of
Bailey Downs, a wild animal which has been killing pets. Together,
Brigitte and Ginger decide to kidnap Trina's dog that night, and
imply the Beast of Bailey Downs killed it.
They set out, and find the mutilated corpse of another dog. They
decide to take it with them to convince Trina it is actually her
dog, but, as they pick it up, a leg comes off in Brigitte's hand.
Brigitte notices blood on Ginger thinking it is from the dog, but
the blood proves to be from Ginger's first period. The Beast of
Bailey Downs attacks, and drags her into the woods screaming.
Brigitte rescues Ginger. As the sisters flee, they narrowly escape
being hit by an approaching van (driven by Sam (Kris Lemche
), which hits and kills the Beast.
Brigitte finds Ginger's wounds are already healing and begs her to
go to a hospital. Ginger refuses, as she does not want their mother
) to find out. After a few
days, Ginger begins to grow hair from the sites of her wounds,
sprouts a tail and menstruates heavily. A rift forms between the
sisters after Ginger smokes marijuana with Jason, and aggressively
pursues him. Ignoring Brigitte's warnings, she has unprotected sex
with Jason, then kills her neighbor's dog. Ginger explains to
Brigitte: "I get this ache, and I thought it was for sex; but it's
to tear everything to fucking pieces!".
Frightened by what is happening to Ginger, Brigitte turns to Sam.
Agreeing the Beast of Bailey Downs is a lycanthrope
, he suggests a pure silver ring may
cure Ginger. Brigitte persuades Ginger to have her navel pierced
using the ring, but this proves
Later, Trina goes to the Fitzgerald house, unannounced, claiming
Ginger kidnapped her dog. As Ginger and Trina fight, Trina slips,
hits her head, and dies. The sisters panic, narrowly avoiding their
parents seeing them as they put the body in the freezer. Brigitte
later accidentally hacks off two fingers trying to get the corpse
from the freezer. As they take Trina's body to bury it, they lose
the fingers. Brigitte tells Ginger she cannot go out anymore, but
Ginger proves defiant.
On the pretence that Brigitte is the one "changing" instead of
Ginger, they visit Sam, who suggests a monkshood
solution for Ginger's illness; and says
"It grows everywhere, but only in spring". Ginger angrily replies
they have no time and accuses him of just wanting to have sex with
Brigitte, before storming out.
On Halloween, Brigitte takes her mother's monkshood (from a craft
store), and asks Sam to make the "cure". Sam warns her she
"Shouldn't let her use it alone; it's for Ginger, isn't it?".
Brigitte admits the truth, and promises to go to the "Greenhouse
Bash". Unfortunately, on the way home, she is forced to use it on
Jason (whom Ginger infected through sex).
Ginger returns to school looking for Jason. As Brigitte arrives, a
message on the PA, which is really Ginger, asks her to go to the
Guidance office. She knocks, and is dragged inside by Ginger who
has killed the counselor. Brigitte calms Ginger down. Brigitte goes
to find cleaning supplies, but returns to see the janitor with his
throat torn open.
The sisters' mother discovers Trina's corpse, goes to look for her
daughters, sees Brigitte and picks her up. As she drives Brigitte
to the Greenhouse Bash, she tells her that she will "let the house
fill up with gas, and light a match" to erase evidence of Trina's
death, and their escape. Brigitte arrives to find Sam nursing a
broken arm. In despair, she infects herself as Sam pleads with her
not to. Her mother decides there is no chance to get away and tells
the police she killed Trina Sinclair. As the sisters leave, Sam
knocks Ginger out with a shovel. Brigitte and Sam then take her
back to the Fitzgerald house in his van, and prepare more of the
cure for Ginger.
However, Ginger fully transforms into a werewolf on the way and
escapes the van. Afraid, and unaware she has transformed, Sam and
Brigitte hide in the pantry, and he makes the solution. As he goes
to find Ginger, Ginger-Wolf mutilates Sam. Brigitte picks up the
dropped syringe and a knife, and follows the blood trail
downstairs. She tries to drink Sam's blood in an attempt to calm
Ginger-Wolf, but chokes on it. Ginger-Wolf senses Brigitte's
insincerity and kills Sam in front of her, then leaps at Brigitte,
only to be impaled on her knife. Brigitte then lays upon
Ginger-Wolf, sobbing, listening until its breathing finally
Katharine Isabelle as Ginger
In January 1995 John Fawcett "... knew that [he] wanted to make a
metamorphosis movie and a horror film. [He] also knew that [he]
wanted to work with young girls." He talked to screenwriter
, who was initially
reluctant to write the script due to the horror genre's reputation
for weak characters, poor storytelling, and a negative portrayal of
women. However, Fawcett convinced Walton this film would
re-interpret the genre.
The two encountered trouble financing the film. They approached
producer Steve Hoban, with whom they had worked before, and he
agreed to produce the film. Hoban employed Ken Chubb to edit and
polish the story, and after two years they were ready to seek
Motion International committed to financing and distributing the
film in Canada, and Trimark agreed to be the American distributor
and financier. The film seemed ready to go into production by fall
of 1998, however negotiations with Trimark made the producers miss
the budgeting deadline for Telefilm
, the Canadian federal film funding agency. Rather than
go ahead with only 60% of the funding, Hoban decided to wait a year
for Telefilm's funding. During this interval Trimark dropped the
film. Lions Gate Films took Trimark's place, and Unapix
Entertainment agreed to distribute the DVD. The film's budget was
less than $5,000,000 Canadian
Actually casting the two leads met with substantial difficulty.
Whilst a casting director was easily found for Los Angeles,
Canadian casting directors proved to be appalled by the horror,
gore, and language. When one finally agreed to pick up the film,
the Columbine shooting and another school shooting in
Alberta suddenly thrust the public spotlight on violent
The Toronto Star
announcement that Telefilm was funding a "teen slasher movie" met
with a flurry of debate and outrage in the media, which generated a
remarkable amount of (adverse) publicity for such a small,
Casting took place in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Montreal, and
Vancouver. Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle auditioned on the
same day at their agency in Vancouver, reading to one-another
off-camera. When their taped auditions arrived, screenwriter Karen
Walton said that they were exactly as she had pictured the
Interestingly, both actresses were born in the same hospital,
attended the same pre-school, elementary and private schools, and
are at the same agency. Perkins was twenty-two at the time and
Isabelle four years younger, but it was Perkins who would be cast
as the younger sister.
Thus, after six months of fruitless searching, the two leads were
found on the same day. Attention then turned to the next most
important characters: the drug dealer and the mother roles. Mimi
Rogers readily agreed to play the mother, Pamela
that she liked the black humour and comic relief in the role. Robin
Cook, the Canadian casting director, put forward one of her
favourites, Kris Lemche
, for the role of
drug dealer Sam
. After seeing Kris's audition, Fawcett
The film was shot between October 25, 1999 and December 6, 1999,
lasting six weeks and two days. Three of Toronto's suburbs,
Etobicoke, Brampton (Kris Lemche's home town), and Scarborough
served as the suburb of Bailey Downs. Shooting outside during
Toronto's winter for sixteen hours a day, six days a week meant
that sicknesses would make their rounds through the cast and crew
every few weeks.
On the first day of principal photography in the suburbs, all the
stills photographs for the title sequence were created. The bloody,
staged deaths drew a crowd and Fawcett worried about upsetting the
neighbours. The girls were covered in fake blood for the shots and,
at the time, a homeowner's basement served as their changing room.
Each time they needed to change, someone had to distract the
homeowner's four-year-old child.
The schedule was quickly so off kilter that cast and crew were
turning up to shoot day scenes at 11pm at night, and shooting for a
day scene in the greenhouse began at midnight. The Director of Photography
problem by using diffusion gel
four eighteen kilowatt lamps which generated enough light to be
seen a mile high in the sky.
The special effects proved to be a major hardship as Fawcett
and preferred to use more traditional means of prosthetics and
make-up. Consequently Isabelle had to spend up to seven hours in
the makeup chair to create Ginger's transformation and a further
two hours to remove them. Often covered in sticky fake blood that
and household detergent
to remove, she further endured wearing
contacts that hindered her vision and teeth that meant she couldn't
speak without a lisp
. The most aggravating
thing was the full facial
which gave her a permanently runny nose that she had
to stop up with Q-tips.
Beginning in December 1999, Brett Sullivan, the editor, worked with
John Fawcett for eight weeks to create the final cut of the film.
Despite the short time for editing the film was nominated for a
in editing. Sound designer David
McCallum of Tattersall Despite a similarly tight schedule in the
sound department, the film would also be nominated for a Genie in
The film was "seemingly left for dead" upon its 2000 primier at the
Toronto Film Festival but is now considered a cult film. The film
was well received by critics, boasting an 89% freshness rating on
praise was centred on the quality of acting by the two leads, the
horrific transformation reminiscent of Cronenberg
, the use of lycanthropy as a
metaphor for puberty, and the dark humour.
Critics who panned the film thought the puberty metaphor too
obvious, the characters too over the top (especially the mother),
and the dark humour and horror elements unbalanced. However, they
did credit it as a worthy attempt and often gave it half marks on
their star scales.
In terms of public opinion, the film earned Cdn$
425,753 domestically, making it the
fifth highest-grossing Canadian film between December 2000 and
November 2001. Owing to a cult following, it has managed to post
significant video and DVD sales. These earnings combined with
moderate theatrical success abroad have translated into the
creation of a trilogy.
Because the film links lycanthropy to menstruation and features two
sisters, Ginger Snaps
lends itself to a feminist critique.
"By simultaneously depicting female bonds as important and fraught
with difficulties, Ginger Snaps
portrays the double-binds
teenage girls face." and "Ginger is an embodiment of these
impossible binaries: she is at once sexually attractive and
monstrous, 'natural' and 'supernatural,' human and animal,
'feminine' and transgressive, a sister and a rival."
Nominations & awards
The International Horror Guild named Ginger Snaps
film of 2001. Málaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema awarded
it best film, best special effects, and best actress Emily Perkins
. The Toronto International Film
Festival gave it a Special Jury Citation. Ginger Snaps
the first Saturn Award for best DVD release of 2002 from the
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA. Karen
Walton won a Canadian Comedy
for Pretty Funny Writing.
was nominated for Genie awards
in cinematography, editing, and
released on Roadrunner Records
, a producer on both the
second and third films, thought a TV series probably the best way
to extend the franchise, citing the idea of tracing a character
"from story to story, setting to setting, telling stories about
werewolves," inspired by Brendan
having appeared in both the sequel and prequel (as
different characters). But such decisions rest with Steve Hoban
, senior producer of the trilogy, who
made it clear there were no plans for more Ginger Snaps
films, pointing to the failure of the sequels to secure theatrical
releases as the reason. Though he gave some hope to fans, stating
that were there enough interest in the sequels, and the DVDs did
well enough, there "was a good chance of some kind of Ginger Snaps
project in the future". He went on to say that, whether it be in
film or TV series form, he favoured taking it forward with the
character of "Ghost" from the sequel (played by Tatiana Maslany
). As of 2008, no further
information has developed, and it remains to be seen if a TV series
- Kehr, David (2001). " She Was a Teenage Werewolf". New York Times.
Retrieved November 18, 2006.
- Lim, David. " Vicious Cycles Ginger Snaps; A Chronicle of Corpses; Kill
by Inches" (2001). Village Voice. Retrieved November 18,
- Nusair, David. " Ginger Snaps (2001)". reelfilm.com.
Retrieved November 19, 2006.
- Allan, Keri. " Katharine Isabelle" (2001).
sci-fi-online.com. Retrieved November 19, 2006.
- The A.V. Club - "The New Cult Canon - Ginger
- " Blood Sisters"(2000). Sight and Sound.
Retrieved November 28, 2006.
- Waldron-Mangani, Ian. " Ginger
Snaps" (2001). ukcritic.com. Retrieved November 19,
- Axmaker, Sean. " 'Ginger Snaps' is a teen werewolf film with real
bite". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Retrieved November 19, 2006.
- Gonzalez, Ed. " Ginger Snaps" (2000). Slant Magazine.
Retrieved November 19, 2006.
- Chambers, Bill. " Ginger Snaps" (2001). filmfreakcentral.net.
Retrieved November 19, 2006.
- Bracken, Laura. " Monsters make move on Edmonton" (2003).
Playback Magazine. Retrieved November 19, 2006.
- IMDB is used because the official site repeats the television
winners as the film winners.
- Grove, David. " Ginger Snaps - The Series" (2004).
creaturecorner.com. Retrieved November 18, 2006.