Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday: Satanic Panic (2019)

Would you look at that? It’s February. Again. I’m pretty sure it’s been a week since it was February last.

In the blink of an eye, we’ve reached Women in Horror Month. A time to celebrate creatives in horror industries.

I’ve been putting off watching Satanic Panic just for the sole purpose to watch it this February. And boy, that’s an awfully long time to build up anticipation.

This 2019 movie, directed by Chelsea Stardust, was co-written by one of my favourite authors – Grady Hendrix. There are all the hallmarks of a Hendrix story here: great female characters in charge, lots of gore, and a heck of a great villain.

Sam is a young woman starting her first day as a pizza delivery girl. And it’s a rough first day in the service industry. After being shortchanged all day, Sam volunteers to make a delivery to a wealthy side of town, hoping for a great tip.

After arriving at a mansion, Sam delivers her pizza. But instead of getting the great tip she hoped for, she gets nothing but an empty take of gas. Stranded, Sam decides to go into the mansion to get her rightfully-deserved tip. Though instead of getting that tip, she gets dragged into a Satanic ritual.

As a virgin, Sam is the ideal replacement for Judi, the daughter of coven leader Danica, who lost her virginity in hopes of saving her life. The two girls team up together, hoping to escape the Satanists. The results are both disgusting and hilarious.

Sam’s fight against the wealthy Satanists is very Eat the Rich, which is a trope I love. There are some solid moments of sisterhood in this between Sam and Judi. I wish it could have been explored and developed more, particularly in the last act. I mean, nothing brings friends together like escaping a demon-raising coven.

I loved that this film had women calling all the shots. It’s a refreshing power dynamic to watch. Sure they’re all trying to kill each other, but hey – better than a man doing it, right?

While I did enjoy Satanic Panic quite a bit, I don’t really think it does much to create a lasting impression. There are moments that will make you laugh and moments that will make you squeamish. But the ending doesn’t quite stick as much as I’m sure it hoped to. Though I’d recommend this for the enjoyment of watching Rebecca Romijn as queen Satanist alone.

Do remember that February is also Black History Month in the US (it’s in October here in the UK). So please practice intersectional feminism this month. Particularly uplift Black creators. I’ll be reading Tananarive Due’s short story collection, Ghost Summer as well as watching as many horror movies/short films as possible made by Black women. I have both Eve’s Bayou and Afterbirth on my list. Please send more suggestions!

I do agree with calls to move WiHM to another month of the year. This isn’t a new issue, but one that was obviously there since the initiative inception. Twelve years is a long time to be blind.

Wicked Wednesday: Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987)

After finishing my viewing of Uninvited last week, I told my husband that there was no way I’d be able to top that delightful film. But by pure chance, I randomly chose the majestic greatness that is Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare. And the mission was accomplished.

A few months back, I watched the 80s satanic panic film Black Roses directed by John Fasano. It was a pretty fun movie. Demonic metal bands? What more could you want? But turns out Fasano helmed an even more crazy (and wonderful) film.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (titled The Edge of Hell here in the UK) is a perfect storm of bad movie tropes: puppets made at a child’s craft time, a lead actor who is both a bodybuilding champion AND a heavy metal singer, great cheesy songs, questionable fake accents, wild twists that make no sense, and lots and lots of man butt. Everything you could ask for.

When metal band Triton and their partners arrive at a Canadian farmhouse in the countryside, they’re less than impressed with that they find. But their manager is insistent that it’s the perfect place to practice and prepare for their next album. It’s the seclusion they need for creativity.

Triton seem to at the farm for a few minutes before they start getting killed off by demons. Some are baby cyclopses others are in the form of ladies who have the special ability to grow a mouthful of fangs. Plus a demon in the oven!

Eventually (spoiler), only lead singer John is left. He’s seemingly the only person immune to the demon’s tricks. But he’s forced to acknowledge it when it appears in its true form of Beelzebub in front of him. But – what’s that? John is INTERCESSORRRRRR! – an archangel. Finally facing each other, a final battle between good and evil ensues.

Oh, and second plot twist: John’s bandmates were just visions of people. Because why not? You’d think demons would be able to tell the difference, but I guess I never thought to ask one.

This movie tickled me so much. No, this is not a well-made movie. The plot is fairly nonsensical and was seemingly written in a stream of conciseness. But it is wildly entertaining and great for a laugh. It might have one of the best ending fight scenes ever for a movie that I wasn’t expecting should have an ending fight scene. This is the type of movie that I will be telling everyone to watch.

In fact, I was so taken with this movie that I immediately watched the documentary I am Thor, which follows actor/bodybuilder/screenwriter/musician/cult hero Jon Milk Thor’s comeback in the mid-2010s. Admittedly, I thought the documentary lost steam about halfway through, but it was fascinating to learn about this magnetic frontman.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare was such a bright spot this week. If you adore cheesy movies, you must watch (or rewatch) it soon.

Wicked Wednesday: Uninvited (1987)

Is there anything more majestic than what a B-movie really just leans into its gimmick? Sometimes low-budget films almost act embarrassed of what they are. They’re boring. What we need are more movies that are enthusiastic, as enthusiastic as 1987’s Uninvited.

If I had to describe this utterly bonkers movie in one sentence it would be: Trump-meets-Epstine millionaire gets on a boat with a bunch of kids only to get picked off by a cat…with a demon in its mouth.

And yet, it’s so much more than that.

At a research facility, a cat-experiment escapes and kills its handlers. Out on the run, the cat finds safety in the hands of two girls on Spring Break, Suzanne and Bobbi. When the two girls find themselves without a hotel to stay at, they’re saved by creep extraordinaire, Walter Graham.

Walter invites the girls to join him on his yacht the following day. He plans to go to the Cayman Islands with his associates to evade prosecution for…something (honestly, I couldn’t follow and didn’t really care). But before the girls head off, they invite a trio of random boys to join them.

The whole gang, cat included, board Walter’s yacht. In exchange for joining the journey, the boys must work as the captain’s crew. The captain, Rachel, is not thrilled. Only, she’s trying to buy back the yacht from Walter, who managed to take it from her father when he owed money (or something – again, it was about money, and I didn’t really care).

A cat aboard should bring good luck. Maybe it does. But the demon in its mouth is probably cancelling out anything good the cat brought along. It begins killing everyone off starting on the first night with its poison. It also messes with the boat, stranding everyone at sea. It’s honestly the worst pet you could ever ask for, and it’s amazing! 

As the group is stranded longer and longer, they begin to make increasingly desperate decisions. Sure everyone seems to be an idiot. But it’s an 80s slasher, it’s not too below the standard of the genre. Plus it makes it all the more rewarding when they die!

Is Uninvited good? No. Is it fun as hell? Hell yeah!

The cat puppet is easily my favourite part of this movie. The beast is so hellbent on destruction. Why? Well, we don’t really know why other than ~scientsits~ but it’s easy enough to go along with things. Especially since the death scenes are pretty excellent. There’s splurting blood, knawed-off fingers, and poisoned food. Could you ask for more?

This is certainly not high quality. But I do think it’s worth popping on if you want to have a laugh. And it’s unique. How many other demon-in-cat mouth movies can you name?

Wicked Wednesday: Amityville Dollhouse (1996)

I have quite the confession to make: I don’t watch horror movie franchises. This is sort of happened organically instead of intentionally. But something I’m slightly embarrassed about nevertheless.

One of my goals for this year (because in 2021 we no longer believe in resolutions) is to watch at least one franchise in its entirety. For example, there are 12 movies in the Friday the 13th series. I could watch one a month!

But I wasn’t expecting to get a start on this goal with Amityville Dollhouse. To be completely honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I chose this to watch. It wasn’t until I started reading up on the movie that I learned that this was just one in a series of movies not based on the Lutz family’s experiences or the DeFeo murders, but rather haunted objects linked to the house.

While they’re certainly stand-alone stories, this still felt like being dropped into the deep end of a cold pool.

Amityville Dollhouse follows newlyweds Bill and Claire as they move into a new home that Bill built in the desert. Their children and stepchildren are all reluctant about their new home and families. Strained relationships abound from the start.

A series of unexplained experiences begin for the Martin family when Bill finds a dollhouse in a shed on the lot. Bill and Claire decide to give the dollhouse (an exact replica of 112 Ocean Avenue) to the young kid, Jessica, for her birthday.

Once the dollhouse makes its home in Jessica’s room, she begins to notice strange things about it. Her aunt Marla, a New Age hippie of sorts, makes Jessica take notes about everything that happens. Marla and her husband, Tobias, both have suspicions about the house, particularly the house’s creepy dolls.

And suspicious they should be. The dollhouse is up to something, and it certainly isn’t nice.

I think a large part of why I felt so confused was that much of the “whys” and “hows” here aren’t explained. The family see visions, have awful dreams, are visited by decomposing husbands. It’s all linked to the dollhouse, but we’re never really sure how. Demons? Why not! And why is no one recognise that this dollhouse looks just like one of the most famous murder houses in American history? I don’t demand everything make sense in my horror movies, but a line or two of guidance would be nice!

Putting my thoughts together for this one is difficult. Learning that it was the eighth (and final) in the original series sort of messed with my perception of the film. That begs the question: does someone need to watch all seven previous movies in order to have an opinion on something?

There are some really cool moments in this movie. It looks great in parts. It even gets a bit twisted in a V.C. Andrews sort of way. And yet, I found it impossible to engage with. I might have even dozed off for a minute (though that says more about my sleeping habits than the film) judging by the fact that when I rewatched the trailer, I didn’t recognise some of the footage from the movie.

Are people fans of the Amityville franchise? Is it worth revisiting the other six I’ve missed in order to appreciate this one? Or is it really the film’s fault for just this once? I can’t even recall the 1979 movie and Margot Kidder was in that one for goodness’ sake!

Wicked Wednesday: Better Watch Out (2016)

Has this year turned me into a grinch? Because I’ve disliked all three ‘Christmas’ horror movies I’ve watched this year.

Better Watch Out was recommended to me many times over the past couple of years. This was the year I finally got around to watching it after another co-worker told me to watch it (and it was on Amazon’s £1.99 sale). But unfortunately, this one…really made me angry.

It’s difficult to watch Better Watch Out without spoiling any of its plot twists. But the premise is essentially this: creepy prev 12-year-old has a crush on his babysitter and movie seeks to make the audience as uncomfortable as possible for 90 minutes. There is a home invasion of sorts. Though anyone who tells you this is a horror movie version of Home Alone is completely lying (though if anyone would like to make one, please do).

I love a movie villain that you love to hate. You certainly get that here. Though I’m not sure I loved to hate the villain, as much as I really couldn’t bare them. The young actor was incredibly good at making me feel both disgusted and angry.

My main issue with this movie is that it didn’t develop its characters beyond their basic tropes nor did it establish a strong motive. Even a simple additional line or two of dialogue could have sorted this. If the villain was really a psychopath, there really needed to be a final act to cement whatever it was we were supposed to believe about them. And no I don’t think the last bit was good enough.

Unfortunately, I also think this movie was a great disservice to our final girl. I wouldn’t even call her that. You know nothing about her, but still have to root for her. She’s never given an opportunity to take control beyond the first 20 minutes or so. Actually, I don’t think Ashley’s character at all fits the formula of the Final Girl.

Basically, if you enjoy watching a young woman get tortured for 90 minutes – this is for you! But Krista, you may hypothetically ask me, isn’t that what all horror movies do? Terrorise women?

Yes and no.

Usually, women have more agency in these movies. If anything, they’re at least given a chance to face their attacker for a final time. But here we have to settle for a half-hearted ‘twist’ that goes out like a fart. I mean, if we want her to lose, at least commit to it Omen style!

I do appreciate the film trying to tackle the “simp” trope (according to Dictionary.com, “slang insult for men who are seen as too attentive and submissive to women, especially out of a failed hope of winning some entitled sexual attention or activity from them”). It really had the groundwork to be great and satisfying. With a few tweaks, I think Better Watch Out could have been the classic it’s being presented as. Imagine if a woman would have been involved in the screenwriting or directing process. Lord almighty could that have changed things for the better. This could have been a really clever way of addressing the sinister side of women having to deal with ‘nice guys’ would have been really clever. But this film attempts none of that.

Anyway. My husband liked this. Not sure what that’s saying. Many people really like this one. So I really, really think I’m in a very small minority here. As I said before, I’m such a grinch this Christmas I just can’t wait to watch regular movies again.

If anything, there are two very bright points here that make this worth watching: the actors and those really tall door knobs.

Wicked Wednesday: Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)

I love a horror-comedy. When my husband and I started dating, we watched Dale and Tucker vs Evil together on a date. Krampus is one of my favourite Christmas horror movies. And of course, classics like Night of the Creeps and Gremlins are among some of my favourite movies full stop.

So I was intrigued to watch Anna and the Apocalypse from the moment I first learnt about it back in 2018. Throw in some musical numbers and it sounded like a recipe for something really fun and new.

Now that it’s 2020, I finally sucked it up and bought the movie to watch it. I promised my husband we’d watch it together once I finished watching it for this post.

Yeah. That’s just not going to happen.

Anna and the Apocalypse follows, unsurprisingly, a girl called Anna. She lives with her widower father in a small Scottish town. Around them, the zombie apocalypse is happening. But Anna and her friends seem oblivious as they prepare for the Christmas festivities.

The night of the Christmas show at Anna’s school, the pandemic spirals (and still everyone is oblivious). When Anna wakes in the morning for school, she meets her friend John in the cemetery. It’s there where they meet (and behead) their first zombie.

They head to the bowling alley where they work to find their friend Chris there with exchange-student Steph. The group of kids decide to hunker down until they can go to the school, where Anna’s dad and Chris’s girlfriend are.

The rest of the film focuses on the students’ journey to the school and the inevitable climax when they arrive there. An additional villain pops up along the way, but it’s handled so haphazardly that I didn’t understand it a bit.

The tone in the last third is especially uneven. That’s kind of to be expected when you get a horror-comedy. Rarely is it be pulled off. Shaun of the Dead, the movie which this is constantly compared to, is the prime example of this. And I don’t think this musical holds a torch to that, to be honest.

I unfairly had high expectations for this movie. Disclaimer here: I’m not huge on musicals. So why did I think I’d like this one? I always root for a movie that subverts the norm. Everything about this could have been everything I hoped for. My favourite movie is Phantom of the Paradise and my favourite musical is Toxic Avenger (god that says too much about me). So horror and musicals together are not something I’m new to.

Since I’m pretty biased, I broke my golden rule and read some reviews on Letterboxd. Quite a few people really enjoyed the songs. Personally, I can’t recall a single one, and a lot of them made me physically cringe as I watched. So I think it really comes down to taste preferences. That being said, I think the songs shined best when they were more tailored to the movie. Some numbers like “Hollywood Ending” felt pointless. They could easily be slotted into any other teen film.

Sometimes when we watch movies, we need to remind ourselves that we aren’t always the target audience. Not everything is for us! This is clearly meant for 14-year-olds. Hell, I was at the height of my zombie obsession at that age. I would have loved this to bits back in 2005. And this is exactly how this movie feels: 2005. It’s not really doing anything new here that wasn’t done over a decade ago.

Ultimately, though, I was hoping for a horror musical. But Anna and the Apocalypse is a musical first and foremost. The horror and comedy are a very distant afterthought. While I didn’t like it, I do think there’s a niche for it out there. It certainly has the ability to become a cult film for many.

Wicked Wednesday: Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

I make it no secret that I hate Silent Night, Deadly Night. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it, but the movie makes my hackles rise. But it’s a classic of the holiday genre. Nearly every horror fan puts this series on their list of “must watches” of the season. (Though I did enjoy the 2012 ‘remake’, somehow!)

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve watched Silent Night, Deadly Night. Tastes and opinions can change a lot in that amount of time. But there was no way I was going to sit through the first film again. There are five films in the franchise, and they can’t all be the same, right? Brian Yuzan directed part 4, for goodness’ sake! It took until 2020 for me to finally admit to myself that I should join the rest of the world and just watch the next instalment.

But boy, was that a mistake.

In order to dive into part two, I read through the plot summary of the first movie. It was amazing how quickly the plot came back to me, so I guess that’s saying something.

Though it turns out that was an absolute waste of time. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 does us a ‘favour’ by giving us nearly 40 minutes of archive footage of the first movie. Never has a film been so insistent that we remember everything from the first film. Is this actually important to any plot later in the movie? Absolutely not.

Indeed, we have to sit through the torture of watching Ricky, younger brother of Billy, talk to a psychologist about what happened when he was younger. After a torturous first half of the film, we finally get into why Ricky is in the sanitorium!

Turns out Ricky is also triggered by Santa-related naughtiness. No explanation why other than his brother and that he really hates nuns. After being adopted, the boy thought he would get a happier life. Only the nuns really freak him out. Instead of studying him and getting him help, his adoptive parents seemingly do nothing about his trauma.

It’s when he’s a teen that he finally makes his first kill. He begins more like a vigilante, killing off criminals and creeps. But when he begins dating Jeniffer, his impulses get a bit out of control. Might be the killer Santa movie that does it, but who’s to say?

Ricky gets his own murderous rampage. But since we only have 30 minutes left the movie, the boy really needs to cram in all the action he can! This is where the iconic “Garbage Day!” scene comes in. And while it was worth a chuckle, I think the scene is much funnier out of context than in the movie itself. That’s absolutely the fault of the movie for not letting any moment here have a breath before the next one.

Pretty safe to say that I hated Part 2 more than the first movie. I had to live through Silent Night, Deadly Night again and deal with a bizarre, jumbled mess. For me, it’s well beyond being “so bad it’s good”. This is just bad. Though I probably only have myself to blame for watching the sequel to a movie I hated.

According to the film’s Wiki, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 was made for $100,000. It really shows. Couldn’t even spring for a string of Christmas lights to make this movie even look remotely like it takes place at Christmas. I do hate when a movie tries to capitalise on being a holiday movie without putting in any effort to set a mood. At least part 1 was superior in that respect.

I can see why this is a cult movie. Everything about this movie is utterly bizarre. But for me, it’s unbearable. When it comes to killer Santas, I’ll stick to Harry Stadling.

Wicked Wednesday: The Scooby-Doo Show S3E3 “A Scary Night with a Snow Beast Fright”

By golly, it’s December already. Time for cozy scarves, hot chocolate and warm fires… Wait. What’s that? It’s still in the upper 40s in London? I’m still sweating in my light autumn jacket? Well. It might not be winter in weather, but it can winter in spirit, right?

Even at the best of times, I struggle with Christmases and ‘winter’ in Britain. Living the first decades of my life in Wisconsin prepared me for brutal months of endless, horrible weather. So in a place where the weather never seems to change, my body is constantly confused.

This year I’m trying desperately to get into the mood for Christmas. It seems more important than ever to care about this month. So despite the incredibly mild weather: a very snowy episode of Scooby-Doo was needed.

Now. I adore Scooby-Doo, but one thing I’ve noticed the more I’ve watched these older episodes, the more I realise that this show was definitely, 100% created for kids in mind. Each episode follows the same exact formula to a T – “A Scary Night With a Snow Beast Fright” is absolutely no exception.

The gang are called by Professor Kruger to go to the North Pole. But when they arrive, they discover that the village the professor was staying in was destroyed by something. Something big.

During their initial sweep of the place, the gang meets the chief of the village’s tribe. He tells them that a snow beast has been terrorising the village. It supposedly came to life when the tribe built on sacred land, according to their legends.

The chief then points them into the direction of the professor’s hut, where they meet the prof’s disgruntled assistant. This guy is clearly the culprit because he’s the only crabby person in the episode. But you know, just pretend to be amazed later on. (This is what I deserve for watching shows for small children.)

While searching the professor’s hut, they discover drawings of the totem poles they had seen earlier. They go to check out the totem poles where they are attacked by the titular ‘snow beast’. They track it to an ice cave where they discover submarines and a couple of dudes locked in a room.

It’s no surprise when the assistant is revealed to be the mastermind behind the ‘snow beast’. The very-advanced engineer had built himself a robotic beast suit to wear. And something something oil.

The episode is pretty cute. Certainly not iconic by any means. For one, it’s a bit racist. The chief has that accent and the episode uses the term Eskimo. So. There’s that trash.

But Scoob is cute. His crush on the sled dog is adorable (she melts the ice around him with a kiss). I certainly don’t think anything here is revolutionary, perhaps that’s why this episode’s original season was cancelled halfway through. But there was snow, and that ticked my only box. Perhaps next year I need to try one of the more modern movies, as there seems to be a cult following for the early ones (I spy Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!).

Believe it or not, it’s time to begin watching Christmas movies starting next week. I applaud anyone who has already started.

Wicked Wednesday: The Cleansing Hour (2019)

Exorcisms. We love them. Horror loves them. They probably exist more on our screens than they ever have in real life. The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Last Exorcism, Chi sei?. The list is seemingly endless.

The Cleansing Hour (which I will probably accidentally misspell as “The Cleaning House” on one or more occasions in the post) is one of the latest in a long legacy. But when a subgenre is as well-travelled as this one, what can you do? Well, make it as modern as possible.

Friends Max and Drew are a couple of charlatans. Each week they broadcast a live stream of an exorcism on their show, The Cleansing Hour. Led by ‘Father Max’, every week a new person is freed from the demon within them. It’s pretty handy that they always find someone new that’s possessed and always in time for a new show!

My initial thought was that modern audiences would never go for something like this as truth. Then I remembered how successful ghost hunting shows are and quietly stayed in my place.

But one night, the friends run into some trouble: their guest doesn’t arrive. So at the last minute, Drew’s fiance Lane steps in as the possessed. But once the show gets going, the cast and crew soon realise that Lane is a little bit too good at being possessed. When she goes off script, spews blood and sets a man on fire, everyone on set realises that Lane is actually possessed.

The demon gives the two men until the end of the stream to “lift the veil” otherwise Lane and seemingly everyone else is doomed.

As the viewer count rises, Drew and Max must outwit an actual demon. Only the demon gives them an incredibly difficult time. They must admit their sins to the world, watch their friends die and go through intolerable pain.

Each revelation brings Max’s lies to the surface. But he and Drew are finally able to keep the demon at bay enough to begin exorcism rites. Though is that all the demon wants? Or are the men truly playing with something they should have never dug up?

It wasn’t too surprising to me when I discovered that this was initially a short film. It has the right amount of story to fill 20 minutes. Here, things feel a bit padded. I see no reason why this needed a 90-minute run-time. (Dear filmmakers, studio execs and everyone else in between: we don’t need long movies.)

I didn’t really see anything wrong with The Cleansing Hour but I certainly didn’t enjoy it. There were some fun, gimmicky bits, but I found my mind wandering more often than I’d like to admit.

This movie is getting mostly good reviews. Which brings me to the same conclusion I almost always come to with contemporary movies I don’t like: aesthetically I hated everything about this. For a movie released in 2019, it feels so dated. It looks dated. The dialogue is dated. The way the characters are handled is beyond dated. And as someone who likes movies to look nice, I just couldn’t get my mind engaged.

I am sorry. But I never claimed to be anything other than shallow!

The Cleansing Hour was brought to my attention when I saw someone discussing it on Twitter. Their argument at the time was unlike most horror movies these days, The Cleansing Hour actually had a solid ending. According to the discussion, it’s “lazy” to have ambiguous endings.

And yeah. When I read the thread I thought “Oh definitely! I love when things happen in movies!” But upon watching this, I realised I just love ambiguity in an ending. Things left up to the imagination is often what I love best about horror (prime examples of this: Black ChristmasIt FollowsThe Thing). I don’t think leaving things up in the air is lazy at all. Or perhaps the original reviewer and I had two very different things in mind.

Unfortunately, I did find a lot of The Cleansing Hour ambiguous despite its “concrete” ending. I found myself constantly referring back to the incredibly-detailed summary on Wikipedia to help me. There’s no shame in needing help, and I certainly needed it here.

Exorcisms movies are really difficult to make unique and special. At its core, you’ll always have the same elements. Despite the daunting battle to stand out, The Cleansing Hour certainly makes a valiant effort.

Wicked Wednesday: The Company of Wolves (1984)

For years Angela Carter’s work has tempted me. Her mixture of feminist themes and fairytales seem so appealing… and yet, I haven’t gotten around to a single story yet.

But after watching The Company of Wolves, I feel even more intrigued by her work.

This movie could only exist in the dreamy corners of 1980s Britain. It’s bleak, for one, with nearly all the colours being drained from the screen. The one colour that stands out? Red. Red lips and a red cloak.

Rosaleen is a stroppy child. When her parents return home from a trip, she refuses to leave her room to see them or her sister. Her mother puts it down to being “that age”.

That night Rosaleen begins to dream, and we enter a fairytale world filled with wolves. In her dream, her sister Alice is killed off by a wolf. Thankfully, a wolf that is, has Granny puts it, “hairy on the outside” not the inside.

In some ways, The Company of Wolves plays out like an anthology movie. Only here the framing story dominates and the short stories in between are fleeting. Following Alice’s funeral, Granny warns Rosaleen about men whose eyebrows meeting the middle (also known as a unibrow, Gran). She then tells her grandaughter a story about a woman, her two husbands and a werewolf.

As Rosaleen’s village is terrorised by wolves and werewolves, the fairytales march in and out of her dream – sometimes unannounced. As she draws closer to a sexual awakening (of sorts – actress Sarah Patterson was only a very young teenager here), hands and heads begin to fly.

It’s quite clear that The Company of Wolves was made on a budget. But I think that only adds to the fairytale ambience. It feels like we’re looking into an imaginary world, one that exists in dreams and is most definitely not real.

The special effects also impressed me. The movie doesn’t shy away from showing its werewolf transformations. For the most part, they look excellent (though fairly dated).

Now, I’m not saying this movie should be remade, but I could see A24 doing incredible things with the framework. I think a modern take could be more daring with both messaging and imagery. The film seems to be holding back at times. I think that’s due to a few things: 1) the age of the main actress and 2) censorship in British cinema at this time. Without either of those restrictions, I think this film could have really flown.

But Angela Lansbury would have to reprise her role as Granny, obviously.

The Company of Wolves is definitely the type of film you revisit. It’s filled with enough imagery and symbolism that you could take something away from it each viewing. It’s beautiful and soft yet dangerous and pretty disturbing at times.

Everything said – this movie was partially produced by Cannon, which both pleases and amuses me to no end. We love you, Cannon.