Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Company of Wolves (1984)

“The Company of Wolves. They're all the company we keep. Even in our dreams.”
Always listen to your Grandma because she knows best! If you was little Rosaleen you should too. The film is based upon a short gothic story by Angela Carter about folklore, werewolves and their sexual connotations. Young naive Rosaleen listens to tales from Grandma about innocent women falling in love with men whom eye brows meet in the middle, mysterious disappearances around the time of a full moon and other forewarned stories. A darker side to little red riding hood lies at the heart of this film bringing all the tales together reducing them down to a meaning of loss of innocence. The Company of Wolves is defiantly not your typical werewolf horror film. If you’re expecting this you will be greatly disappointed.
“Generally, werewolf movies made by European film-makers tend to have more substance and more familiarity with actual werewolf folklore -- it is part of our history after all, while Hollywood has had to create its own werewolf myth over the years. “ - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087075/    
Unlike the Hollywood werewolf horrors the film looks into the sexual ideas of werewolves and exerting masculinity rather than it being a straight forward monster, this film sees the meaning beyond that.

Childern Hatching in a Stalks Nest
There are several more hidden references to tales referred to through symbolism like the stone children hatching out of eggs in the stalks nest, the frequent appearance of frogs (the Frog Prince), the spider on the window (Little Miss Muffet), also the telling she-wolf story referring to another one of Angela Carter’s stories Wolf-Alice that features in The Bloody Chamber.

The settings and the imagery is beautifully surreal, which gives the film a fantasy fairytale and dreamlike quality; however some scenes are deeply darkened by bloody events. In the opening scene during Rosaleen’s dream we see her sister feeling for her life from in the wood bumping into giant child hood toys which appear quite sinister in the dark lighting.

 What stands out in this film is the gruesomely cleaver transformation sequences. The image of the wolf ripping its way out of the man’s mouth is one that won’t leave your mind in a hurry! A painfully slow transformation process of ripping flesh and cracking bones showing deep thought to every detail. The transformation appears from the inside out in reference to one of Granny’s warnings about men: “the worst ones are hairy on the inside.” 

Snap Shot of First Transformation Sequence
    “Let's all thank god for Neil Jordan. Not only did he bring Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire to the screen in an uncompromising, superb adaptation, but way back at the start of his career he also brought us this mini-masterpiece about werewolves.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087075/usercomments
Neil Jordan appears to have a love for gothic novels Ann Rice and Angela Carter’s work appearing in his work. The Gothic genre can be seen in The Company of Wolves in dimly lit scenes in nothing but candle light or fire light. The artistic warmth of the light gives the scenes a fairly tale glow that makes it almost dream like, especially in the story sequences told by Grandma.

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