Here we have another nearly forgotten gem, burned into my memory from my days of exploring the VHS aisles. Long before I would be allowed to rent such a film, I was fascinated by the incredible image on the cover. Was this person turning into a Werewolf? Or was a wolf literally trying to escape from within? How did it get there? I didn’t pick up on metaphors very easily as a young lad, it seems…I didn’t even make the Little Red Riding Hood connection that was staring me right in the face. Young me must have had ADD. Since it’s gone so long untreated, i think it’s only proper to give me all the drugs for it now. I’ll catch up.
Everyone knows the cutesy version of fairytales, Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, etc… and most of us have heard the bloody original versions which seemed to be told to scare children out of harms way. Boil away everything but the subtext of Grimms tales and the message is mostly “Kids, don’t do dumb shit, or associate with sketchy people, because you will get raped and die, MAYBE in that order.” Despite this we tend to hold these tales in a special place in our mind. They are instantly familiar, yet so often forgotten. This film is a perfect example of those qualities. Equal parts anthology film, graphic fantastical retelling, fever dream, and erotic nightmare. The film unfolds within a dream where the characters tell various stories, which in turn unfold for the audience, all for the dreamer to wake to see her dream come to life. It’s a bit strange, and not the most easily accessible, but well worth the ride.
Angela Lansbury plays “Granny”, who knits the Red Riding Hood, and tells the majority of the tales, and she is just a fucking joy to watch. Anytime she is on screen I can’t help but hum the “Murder She Wrote” theme to myself. Also a joy are the FX work and transformation sequences. Clearly the filmmakers paid careful attention to folklore when dreaming up the visuals. Unibrows and salves, and such abound! The telling of these classic fables through the mesh of human sexuality is somewhat jarring yet oddly fitting. So much imagery in the film doesn’t make sense and is totally wrong, such as Pythons and Reptiles chilling in a French Forrest, but they work within the dreamlike-fairy tale atmosphere
Released several years after the trifecta of Wolfen, An American Werewolf in London and The Howling, I totally understand how this film went a bit under the radar. For Horror fans young and old, The Company of Wolves should be considered Must-See cinema, but is best viewed with an open mind. Lacking in Gore and Gratuitous Nudity, as well as the usual cheap thrills, the film more than makes up for it by positively dripping with Nightmarish atmosphere.
Well Hot Damn! It feels good to be back! It’s been nearly a full year, but I promise I’m coming back with a new bag of tricks! Well, actually none of this shit is new…just stuff I haven’t used before.
This year’s #31DaysOfHorror will take a look at the works of two of the Masters: John Carpenter and Rob Zombie. Various entries will examine their films, and I’ll be taking a look at their recent “Feud”…and believe me…I have some fucking Venom to unleash on you fuckers.
You can also look forward to seeing original video content being included in a select few posts, as well as special guests. Welcome back, and enjoy the ride!