As "Women in Horror" Month Comes to a Close . . .
You might remember my friend's casual dismissal of female werewolves. According to him, men can make hot werewolves, but women can't.
My first reaction was determination never to dignify that insult with a response.
My second reaction was to start compiling a list of female werewolves who were so hot that producers had to cast some real beauties to play them. For when have I ever passed up a good opportunity to create a Top 5 list?
My Top 5 Hot Female Werewolves
1. Julie Delpy as Serafine in An American Werewolf in Paris
Appropriately enough, the viewer's first look at the breathtaking Serafine is by the light of the moon . . . though, obviously, not a full moon. She has just climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower and is clearly about to commit suicide--but the American tourist who has spotted her saves her life in the nick of time.
Most people would be glad to put a werewolf out of his misery, and the rules definitely allow violent force when the person is in werewolf form and endangering lives. But for a werewolf to attempt suicide . . .
If we're serious about saving lives, then such a "final solution" should not be acceptable, even if the price we pay for it is, as the American tourist finds out, having to share the burden of the curse. What separates us from monsters is that we don't eat the hearts of those we love--because we know it's not what sets us free.
Delpy's leading man, Tom Everett Scott, drowns his acting in so much earnestness--which also comes and goes, like a bad accent--that being a werewolf almost improved him. (Really, dude, it's nice that you're so virtuous, but "virtue" has its root in vir--which means man, not puppy.)
2. Katharine Isabelle as Ginger in Ginger Snaps
On the night she gets her period for the first time, sixteen-year-old Ginger Fitzgerald is attacked by a dog-like creature. She begins to change immediately. No one-month grace period for the lycanthropes in this movie--or for the people closest to them: the teenage werewolves in this movie almost immediately feel the insatiable urge to rip innocents apart.
Yes, there is a cure--one that's comically effective--but it's not the point. As in all werewolf movies, choice trumps cure: even if one is never cured, one can choose not to give into the curse.
And so this movie is unusual in the sense that it gives an uncontaminated character the chance to choose (or to reject) lycanthropy: yes, there are proactive ways to become a werewolf.
Soon, Ginger's sister Brigitte, who loves her more than anyone in the world, has to decide whether the bonds of sisterhood are worth the price of becoming a monster. What she learns, at the end of a harrowing climax, is that one thing love doesn't demand is perdition.
3. Paige Moss as Veruca in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Have you ever wondered what Fatal Attraction would be like if the two cheating characters were also werewolves? . . . And I thought I was the only one! =P
Now, anyone even slightly familiar with the Buffy-verse knows that the picture on the left is not of Paige Moss, cast as the other-woman werewolf, but of Alyson Hannigan, who plays the girlfriend Wiccan. That's because, on second look, Veruca was clearly never as hot as Willow. (What was Oz thinking???)
For this Oz-Willow story, Whedon has once again picked the perfect Horror tropes to make his point. This relationship has always been a case of opposites attracting: unwitting werewolf Oz plays lead guitar for a slightly grungy rock band and empowered Wiccan Willow is a straight-laced computer geek. Enter Veruca, who sings lead for her own band and instantly recognises Oz as a fellow werewolf. He is drawn to her despite himself, and she is insistent that their werewolf natures mean they are made for each other. They end up locked together in the same cage on the night of the full moon . . . and guess who finds them that way the next morning while thoughtfully bringing her beloved boyfriend his breakfast?
It's a hard way to learn that being in love does not mean being free to be a beast, but being bound to be a man.
4. Christina Ricci as Ellie in Cursed
In Wes Craven's take on werewolves, anyone who has been bitten bears the "curse" of suddenly being remarkably sexually attractive to potential lovers. (Hey, there's more than one way to transform after a chance encounter with a dark entity in the night . . .) Even ordinary, non-sexy folk start to look hot, a twist driven home by the casting of some not-conventionally-sexy actors.
It doesn't really sound like a bad curse to have, does it? Especially if the only catch is having to spend three nights a month in a reinforced cage. Indeed, the main weakness of this movie is that it doesn't make a compelling case not to be a monster.
If anything, it's a drawn-out fable for "safe sex"--which means that Craven should have gone with vampires. (So is anyone else as insulted as I am?)
Ellie's real transformation is from boring, behind-the-scenes TV producer with shellacked hair to a certifiable hottie who gets hit on by Scott "Charles Conway" Baio. (You go, girl!) Now that I think about it, she should really be #1 on this list, as the keyword is "hot" . . . but you'll have to watch the movie to know why she's down at #4.
5. Holly Marie Combs as Piper in Charmed
From "Cursed" to "Charmed"!
Well, yes, the three Charmed Ones are witches, not werewolves . . . but there is one episode in which they discover that they turn into werewolves whenever there is a blue moon. It's supposed to be a symbol for PMS, you see . . . Oh, okay, I don't see it, either.
Yet the distinctive werewolf convention of the reinforced cage and the monster-as-responsible-moral-agent appears here, and I think it deserves a little tip of the hat.
The Halliwell sisters are all pretty hot, but I chose Holly to represent them because she's also the one who once turned into a wendigo. (Please don't ask.)
Image Sources: a) Julie Delpy, b) Katharine Isabelle, c) Alysson Hannigan, d) Christina Ricci, e) Holly Marie Combs