Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Shelby Fenner, Shawn Ashmore, Tony Denman, Nate Dushku, Dov Tiefenbach
Director: Thom Fitzgerald
Genres: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Mystery & Suspense
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Good, solid film from out of nowhere-- a real suprise!
Joe Niedbala | Watertown, MA USA | 06/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I rented this film solely on a chance and found myself really, really suprised at just how well done it was. Since, as of this writing, there is no plot synopsis here, I will include a brief one. A travelling sideshow, run by Tim Curry, pulls into a small town. It's star attraction is a young girl born covered in hair and billed as The Wolfgirl. She encounters taunts and threats from a group of young townie teenagers, as well as the posibility for a cure for her malady from the local misfit. The cure seems to work, but with the side effect that the previously gentle girl begins to experience more animalistic urges even as she physically becomes more "human".This film seems to have come out of nowhere. It actually saw life on the USA Network as "Wolfgirl". I hadn't heard of it under either title. Neither name is particularly good, but hey, it's nit picking. The film far outshines such a stuff for a number of reasons.The cast: Tim Curry is a perfect choice for Harley. He balances a desire for the financial survival of his show with a paternal love and respect for his performers. His is a colorful, yet flawed character, one whom you can easily both like and be angry with, and he makes it very believable. Grace Jones shows far more range than usual and makes great use of her androgeny in playing a half man/half woman. Darlene Cates, the mother from "Gilbert Grape" again amazes as Athena The Fat Lady. One wishes she could grace the screen more often. And Victoria Sanchez, as Tara The Wolfgirl, manages to truly seem beautiful beneath a full hairy make-up job. She is really phenomenal in a brave role for such a lovely looking young lady.The rest of the cast is equally talented, and I would speak more of them, but for the desire to compliment some very special members. The performers of the freak show are anything but freaks. With the exception of Sanchez and Jones, almost every other sideshow performer is the real deal, and they shine. We are given a chance to see these people in everyday mode, not just as part of the show. The family they portray is believable and breathtaking. Never are they shown in anything but the most repectful light and when they get individual chances to act within character, they are, to a one, believable. Of particular note is Jordan Prentice as Finger Finnian, Harley's right hand man. Not a single false note whenever he is on screen.The production: What an amazing-looking film! Marvelous production design gives the sideshow scenes an almost other-worldly quality. That the film was shot in Romania only adds to this old world feel within contemporary society. And Paul Jones' JoJo the Dog-Faced Boy make up design for Sanchez as the Wolfgirl is completely convincing. Really. Thom Fitzgerald's direction is biased towards the actors, as it should be here, but he also keeps the pace going and the details clear.The songs: The sideshow performances themselves are often in musical form with some delightfully bawdy and clever tunes by John Roby. It really gives the film a special touch. It's also great to hear Curry get to sing with the broadness that we remember from Rocky Horror. If there is a CD out there with these songs, I want it! There is also a great Ani DiFranco tune ofver the end credits.So, why does this film only get four stars after all this laudatory talk? The screenplay, while hitting the mark on the human end of things, seems to go slightly awry when it comes to the horror end of things. When there is violence or the like, it seems somwhat out of place, as if there was a story to tell, but that it was felt that it would only be marketable as a horror flick. It's too bad, because the emotional root is so strong (with the added idea that the "freaks", who are so obviously different, are not the ones with something to be ashamed of). Also, where are the police in this town? With all the delinquint juvvie activity, fearsome wolf attacks, etc., there's nary a cop in sight! Still, I would not hesitate to recommend this film. The four stars is relative to all other films, but that lack of a fifth should not be counted against it.One final note: This film was suprising in how little it held back in a number of areas, particularly nudity, which is sometimes used for a truly appropriate "shock". I didn't have a problem with it, but it was so unexpected (and I'm not spoiling anything here) and unique that I was a bit taken aback. It's not what we're used to seeing in any mainstream film and some more prickly folk should be made aware.With "Ginger Snaps" a short while ago, the fem-Werewolf themed film is having a suprising little uprising of quality cinema!"
Not What I Expected & Pleasantly Surprised!
Sheila Chilcote-Collins | Collinswood, Van Wert, OH USA | 04/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this movie "blind", just because it had the great Tim Curry in it. I was expecting another werewolf film in the style of American Werewolf In London/Paris, Wolfen, Howling etc., but what I got was a nice, little surprise! Tim Curry, is of course, excellent as always but there are some really nice performances by the whole cast. The freak show participants and their marvelous acts/dances/songs/tricks are mesmerizing to watch. Even Tim Curry sings a song along with the he/she character played by Grace Jones. The mother from "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" plays the "fat lady" and there is, of course, the geek, the sword-swallower, the fire eater, the impaler, midgets, contortionists and LOTS MORE! The story, however, centers around the "wolf girl", Tara. Tara has trichno-something or other which causes hair to grow all over her body. She starts taking an experimental drug to become "normal" and that's when the bloodshed starts.There are some really great scenes in this movie plus a couple of REALLY DOOZY SURPRISES!!!If you liked the film, Freaks, like the TV show Ripley's Believe It Or Not, or just love and adore Tim Curry, you will enjoy this odd and strange movie! Happy Watching!"
Complex and Satisfying Mix
C_Marlowe13 | 10/27/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An exceedingly well-done piece, with fine performances all around. Tim Curry is allowed to play a three-dimensional character, for a change, and does sterling work. Victoria Sanchez's multi-faceted Tara emerges as the focal character from a fascinating tapestry of freak show entertainers. The most freakish characters are the so-called "normal" teenage tormentors. Though the movie's finale tends toward formula, the overall mix of genres, depth of performances (even in minor characters), and original choice of settings make it a complex and satisfying experience. WARNING: if your taste is for fast MTV-style cutting, simplistic caricatures, and/or a movie ruled by flashy special effects work, this film is not for you. All others thirsting for a plot/character-driven "horror" film (or who have ever felt themselves to be "outsiders") will find this piece to be well worth while. (As a previous review noted, it's also rare [for an American production] in its use of nudity to comment on and inform the characters and their actions.)"
A.k.a Wolf Girl
B. M. Dorton | Lex, KY | 09/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don't be fooled by the silly cover art or the lame title.. this is a really good movie! After watching the movie I realized that the alternative title "Wolf Girl" which this film is (also known as) ..is a much more suitable title. The movie is more about her than any of the other side show entertainers. Everything revolves around her. There are many sights to see in the movie from Grace Jones as a half man half woman, Darlene Cates as a 600 pound + + size woman, midgets, deformed people plus, others that are harder to explain. Tim Curry plays a father figure to the young girl born wolf-like. He is sorta the same with the others in the freakshow but, more so with her. I think the movie kinda teaches a few valuable lessons that I will just let you experience for yourself. Each viewer will take away different things from the message the film holds but, I think I will stop judging people based on whats on the outside. "3 1/2 stars""