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This is one of those films that you either love or hate.
Depending on your personal taste, you will be either captivated by it or thoroughly bored. I happen to fit into the first category.
I must admit to having seen its video box for years and was completely turned off by it. I had been thinking, "Oh yuck, another 'gross out' werewolf movie."
So after discovering by accident what this movie was truly about (in the margin of a child's fairy tale book in my local Barnes and Noble!!!), I thought "I've got to see this."
And it wasn't easy to find.
But once I did, I was genuinely enthralled by the gorgeous and lovingly detailed backgrounds, the remarkable script and imagery. Think of this as "Little Red Riding Hood" goes "Eraserhead".
A thoroughly weird but wonderful little film that belongs in a secret classification all its own (along with such brilliant projects as "Head", "Eraserhead", "The Blair Witch Project" and the original "Haunting", to name a few) in which surrealistic suggestions, your brain and the power of your imagination rule the night.
In short, if you're looking for a run-of-the-mill 80s slasher flick then this movie is definitely NOT for you. If, on the other hand, you want to see a wonderful dark take on a traditional fairy tale then you will have a hard time making a better choice than this one!
One small note I wish to add: if you know about and/or raise real wolves like I do, you might find the scenes with them chasing others through the forest and bursting through the walls more funny than frightening. I say this because you know perfectly well how shy and gentle real wolves are, how completely opposite they are from European tradition as flesh and blood devils. But even so, you will enjoy watching those scenes anyway simply because its still fun to watch the cinematography of those gorgeous, fluffy little wolves running about all over the place with those huge smiles on their faces (they're obviously in a great mood and don't look the least bit vicious--I don't think I ever saw one of them actually snarl anywhere, just howl and smile).
Oh, and the "He Wolf" who ends up beating our red-hooded heroine home gives a genuinely stunning (but brief) performance. He's both disturbing and amusing to watch. He snarls. He writhes. He tempts and glares in the most sinister of ways, and he even sticks his tounge out to lick himself all over his own face doggy-style in ways that even Gene Simmons would envy----here's hoping the actor went on to receive acclaim in his career!
Okay, so I liked this one better than THE BEAST MUST DIE. It does have some nice dark, crisp visuals and a sense of scary illusions that any author of 18th-century novels would have been famous for. One humongous detail I must gripe about, though. Those "man-to-wolf" transformations look horrible. They appeared as if a taxidermist was involved in studio props, making this ruiningly unrealistic. Angela Lansbury offers a fine performance as an old woman telling the wolf story to the young girl (LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, anyone?). Feeling more as a "family" drama than a blood-curled horror film, it looks like it's suitable for just about everybody, which would make better sense. An ugly face tearing scene unfortunately gave it the "R" rating (and why??). Less focus on cheap special effects could've made THE COMPANY OF WOLVES worth a perfectly pleasant and chilling night beside the fire. Still not too bad, though.
electrifying,disturbing yet beautiful.OK, there are fantasy movies made
recently , and sure lots of special effects and all are made
wonderfully but they lack something that company of wolves have at
this movie so clever and dreamy at the same time. you feel like you enter a world of childhood dreams yet so scary. it is not a typical werewolf movie, not that i hate werewolf movies but this masterpiece( definitely!) has a lot to offer.
for those of you that had a lot nightmares during your childhood years will enjoy ultimately but anyone who has read or listened little red riding hood will feel joy and fear at the same time.
i really don't want to give any plot details more than i wrote above , it is clear that you can never define your nightmare correctly to other people. and yes, there are beautiful nightmares if you look into them deeply.
Neil Jordan's company of wolves is a very stylish and classy werewolf tale.and a kind of an adult version of little red riding hood,don't get the wrong idea not an adult porno version but an adult fairytale.much like Jordan's latter interview with the vampire(94)and this boasts a great cast as well..., Angela lansbury,David warner,Stephen Rea,and Terence stamp in a small part.the special effects are bizarre and original.no cheap gore effects.a great soundtrack.and great photography. don't expect the overdone werewolf stuff,this is done more elaborate. this came out after American werewolf in London and the howling.i found company of wolves to be a great fantasy werewolf movie.and a personal favorite.watch this around Halloween.Angela lansbury is great as the wise old grandmother of red riding hood warning her of the wolves in the forest.i recommend company of wolves.10 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Neil Jordan is known by most of his fans as someone who makes dark films
that sometimes like to mix hidden eroticism into their plots[witness 'The
Crying Game' and 'Interview with a Vampire']. 'The Company of Wolves'
though, is probably the most obvious example in his entire work. Jordan
himself describes the film as a 'menstrual film' as it is really about a
young girl's sexual awakening. Beware horror fans, this isn't just another
gory werewolf flick.
Rosaline[Sarah Patterson]is a young girl of thirteen or fourteen living in a village in a forest that looks like it was designed by H.R. Giger.Her grandmother[Angela Lansbury] passes on fables and 'moral' stories to her granddaughter to teach her 'The laws of the wood.'Some of these stories speak of men whose 'eyebrows meet in the middle' and often turn into wolves. The film itself encompases these stories and they make up quite a large amount of the film. The stories are used to explain, in a subliminal manner, what is going on in the main story. Most of the stories have some sort of sexual undertone and flesh out the sexuality in the main story as Rosaline starts to hang around with a boy in the village[with an especially high-pitched voice]. A wolf begins to haunt the village and kills some of the cattle while Rosaline embarks on a journey through the woods to visit her grandmother...
The movie makes obvious references to 'Little Red Riding Hood': Rosaline wears a bright-red hood, she is walking through the woods to visit her grandmother, she meets a huntsmen in the woods whose eyebrows meet in the middle....The film is an example of what would happen if you added eroticism to 'Little Red Riding Hood' and made it 'R-Rated'. The wolf is really just a metaphor for her sexual awakening. The boy's high-pitched voice, and, for lack of a better word, 'randy' libido are a metaphor for 'The Lawlessnesws of men'' and the woods have a very sexual design, with womb-like portals and potholes. At the end, when Rosaline joins the 'Company of Wolves', it is like her acceptance of her sexuality. All this sensuality is mixed with very hypnotic atmosphere and visuals. The film is like a journey through puberty...
The first time I watched this film, I didn't like it. I thought it was muddled and didn't make sense. I caught it again on late-night t.v. I was captured in it's spell and surprisingly, even though the ending still wasn't crystal clear, I liked it. I think it is very hypnotic and the ways the stories are told are spellbinding. I especially like the last one:''Out of the depths of the earth, a she-wolf came...'' Jordan is now one of my favorite directors and I look forward when he returns to this territory.
''And that's all I'll tell you, because that's all I know.....''
Don't you just love it when you re-watch a childhood favorite and it
turns out the film still has the exact same mesmerizing and enchanting
effect on you that it had all those years ago? More than usually, it's
the other way around. The movies you loved as a child too often become
disappointing when seen through adult eyes, but luckily enough there
are certain exceptions. Neil Jordan's "The Company of Wolves", for
example, is a timeless masterpiece and truly expedient for all type of
audiences, regardless of their age category. When I first watched this
movie (admittedly when I was a little TOO young), I was disturbed,
fascinated, overwhelmed and deeply impressed for life. Remembering the
unique plot concept, the macabre and haunting set pieces, the
continuously ominous atmosphere, the petrifying
werewolf-transformations and last but not least the cherubic
appearance of lead girl Sarah Patterson (she might even been my first
crush), "The Company of Wolves" was the greatest cinematic experience I
ever had and even now, approximately 15 years later, I like it possibly
"The Company of Wolves" is much more than just a horror movie about werewolves. It's a totally unique and nearly unclassifiable fantasy event that requires your full attention and the fully operational activity of all your sensory perceptions in order to absorb and process all the little details like creators Neil Jordan and Angela Carter intended them. This is quite possibly the most uniquely structured film of the 80's, with stories within stories and flashbacks within dream sequences; characters leaping through different time eras or even universes and the content effortlessly blends contemplative metaphors with old-fashioned and simplistic fright elements. The storyline involves a re-enactment of the famous "Little Red Riding Hood" tale, but the script regularly strays off from this main theme (ironically, since granny frequently advises never to stray off from the main paths) and narrates other, smaller stories. They're all connected, however, since they all revolve on wolves. Rosaleen's granny teaches her to be wary of men whose eyebrows meet and who are hairy on the inside, yet somehow she always encounters them; whether during her walks through the woods or in tell-tales. The primal plot is outstanding, but the secondary stories are actually even better.
Apart from a profound and allegoric effort, "The Company of Wolves" is definitely also a rudimentary unsettling and disturbing movie. The moody landscapes (dark forests, fog-enshrouded swamps ) and nightmarish scenery (dolls and toys coming to life) all contribute in making this British folklore movie creepier than 99% of all horror movies. The make-up effects, and then of course the man-into-werewolf transformations in particular, are stupendous and easily among the greatest ever conveyed in British cinema. I know the transformation in "An American Werewolf in London" is legendary and deservedly so but the make up art here comes darn close. Neil Jordan's style is pretty much flawless and surefooted at all times, regardless of how complex the narrative structure sometimes becomes. He also had a great cast at his disposal, including Angela Lansburry (a marvelous role), David Warner and Stephen Rea. Lead girl Sarah Patterson is breathtaking in every way, and it's truly incomprehensible she didn't (want to?) become one the most successful actresses of her generation. There are probably a few shortcomings to be found in "The Company of Wolves", but personally I didn't notice any of them. According to me, this is simply put - a bona fide masterwork.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What am I doing giving a horror film 10/10. I must be out of my mind.
Well if you thought that, you couldn't be more wrong. Just watch the
film if you haven't already done so. This is no ordinary horror film.
In fact it's not a horror film, it's an allegory, it's the British
"Seventh seal". The seventh seal is an allegory about man's search for
the meaning of life and his continuous preoccupation with questions
there is no way (at least from my angle) he can answer, the company of
wolves is about realizing who you are, your sexuality, your desires and
most importantly the transition from adolescence to adulthood or the
"end of innocence".
Every bit of the movie is a symbol and to be precise, a Freudian symbol. The Freudian concept of unconscious motives is evident throughout the film. Rosaleen's large toys in the forest represent her innocence and a desire to remain that way, in other words the desire to regress back to the safe period of childhood, and not be an adult with urges.
Rosaleen's red cloak might seem like little red riding hood, and it is true it's taken from there but in this case it represents menstruation and not being a girl anymore but a woman. When the eggs hatch up on the birds nest, Rosalyn becomes acquainted for the first time with birth and the creation of life. The replacement of bird babies with human figurines is ingenious.
Finally the menacing wolves represent men and their domineering nature and predatory desire which Rosaleen will have to deal with now that she is a woman and a powerful creature herself. Therefore by fully developing into a sexual being she becomes a beast herself and that's what we are shown by her turning into a wolf.
All this is integrated brilliantly into the film ending with the wolves knocking down her toys thus ruining childhood. That's a thing of the past. Time passes inevitably as the clock shows us and it is time to change.
God bless Neil Jordan and Angela Carter for bringing this masterpiece to the big screen. If you haven't seen it I suggest you do so and even if you have watch it again! Just to remind yourselves what it was like making good movies. Remember "Never stray from the path!".
This movie is not realistic enough to be of good horror. The life in the village in the woods does not give a background for the story-telling. You don't have the folk-loric atmosphere of Grimm or the Irish or Flemish tales. The wolve-men are in between the humans and the beast and do not frighten us. The scene with the banquet is ridiculous. The young girl (Sarah Patterson) is good but I don't like her position, does she like the wolves or not. How her grandmother (Angela Lansbury) is killed is not believable. The fairy-tale of Angela Carter is not brought well, and the live in the wood with the animals is not frightening at all. Give me an old fairy-tale!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Company of Wolves is not one of the better werewolf horrors I have
seen, and certainly not the worst, but falls somewhere in between. The
movie is a very cheap British horror movie borrowing on several of the
old fairy tales (i.e. Little Red Riding Hood, The Boy Who Cried Wolf,
etc) to illustrate stories told by a grandmother (Angela Lansbury) to
her last surviving teen granddaughter. The dialogue is more like prose
rather than a regular story of demons living in the woods preying on
the villagers and such, though werewolf movie fans may appreciate the
originality and some of the special effects (the initial transformation
scenes are great), if nothing else.
The movie is told through a sequence of stories that grandmother tells her granddaughter. Things like how the werewolves are identified, tales of women unknowingly marrying them, and so forth. Stories that the granddaughter takes to heart as she experiences similar courtships, first with the idiotic blacksmith boy, and then moving on to a scene in the woods where she is wooed by a stranger. The ultimate question: does she give in to the wolves? It is more like Old English literature, so there is a particular audience for this movie.
**SPOiLERS** Locked in her room and asleep Rosaleen, Sarah
Patterson,has a sting of dreams about "Old Wolves Tales" that culminate
at the end of the movie "The Company of Wolves" in the Brothers Grimm
story of "Little Red Riding Hood".
Roaleen's sequence of dreams start with her older sister Alice,Georgia Slowe, becoming trapped in the woods and attacked and killed by a wolf pack. After ALice's funeral Rosaleen goes with her Granny, Angela Lansbury, home and is told a number of wolf stories by her that shapes her mind about the evil and cunning of those wild and deadly creatures of the forest. Granny tells Rosaleen of how wolves can turn into human beings and trick young girls like herself to fall in love with them and breed new generations of wolf-men. Humans who can go from being wolves to being human and not be recognized and end up being killed by the townspeople.
Told to watch out for these wolf-men by being able to spot them, their eyebrows meet, Rosaleen develops a sense of ease when in the company of wolves or persons who are wolves in human disguise.This may be the reason she was not terrified of the wolf man who eventually killed and ate granny at the end of the movie.
In the dream that Rosaleen had it become evident that she herself was, or became, a wolf. The final sequence has her and a pack of wolves storm out of the woods and out of her dream as her unconscious fantasy becomes a shocking and awakened reality at the conclusion of the movie.
Eerie and surrealistic film that has some of the best wolf transformation, as well as real wolves pack, sequences ever put on film. "Company of Wolves" has all the fears and horrors, many that have been proved over the years to be totally unfounded, that man has associated with those wild and mysterious animals. It's theses horror stories that lead to the extinction of the wolf in most of the places where man and wolf lived together for centuries.
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