Movie: She-Wolf of the Woods
Source: online streaming
Content: NSFW, nudity, violence
Summary: Our short film, SHE-WOLF OF THE WOODS is an extraction from one of the story strands in our feature film of the same name. In it, we take a glimpse into the world of Amy Shields, a beautiful and unlikely forest ranger. Amy is a She-Wolf’s apprentice and has a taste for flesh. She likes her women for fun and her men for food. Bound to her master through an ancient curse, Amy spends her days scouting the Scottish Highlands for loners and fulfilling her ritualistic duties in the ways of the hunt.
She-Wolf of the Woods was the talk of the werewolf sites I regularly haunt (e.g.g, Werewolf News, Howl Out Cast), and I’ve been excited to watch it since the first time I heard about it. A Scottish indie horror comedy about queer women werewolves? SOLD. A woman filmmaker spent her own money to create an “homage to horror films and popular culture from the 70s, 80s, and 90s”? SOLD OMG JUST GIVE IT TO ME ALREADY.
No, really, look at that tagline: She’ll huff and she’ll puff – then she’ll eat you.
HOW COULD I NOT LOVE THAT?
Since this is a short film easily available streaming online, I’m going to do a review instead of a direct recap.
I love this movie. It’s ridiculous and cheesy and delightful, with the feel of an old school sexploitation horror movie with a werewolf story at the heart of it that makes me want more. (I have hope that we’ll get more, too; I want the full length film to exist. No, I need. More queer women werewolves being monsters in Scotland, PLEASE.) I can’t believe how awesome this film looks considering its low, low, low budget.
The main character, Amy Shields, is played to perfection by Toni Benedetti. In just over thirty minutes, she manages to convince me of the line she’s walking between human and monster, and her hunger for violence and transformation is a wonderful, nuanced thing. Even when she’s licking and stabbing trees as a substitute for men, I believe there’s a dark hunger driving her on, and rules she’s desperate to follow but wishing she can break.
One of the moments I love best is when Amy is in a pub and tries to order a sour mash bourbon on the rocks. When the bartender won’t give it to her, there’s a dramatic back and forth where it looks like she tries to control him, force him to do her bidding — and completely fails. She’s a temptress and a danger, but she’s not the true supernatural power here.
Tyne Roberts plays Lucille, the titular werewolf, and she is a delight. From a simple special effects budget consideration, her transformation is amazing, far better than many I’ve seen with bigger budgets. The transformation itself is weird, though. I love the sex transformation as a concept, but some of the visual choices (the patchy fur and the appearance of the spin cracking and changing) didn’t work for me. (Particularly the patchy fur on the face and the play-doh looking prosthetics in a couple scenes.) That spine arch seemed like a fantastic nod to The Howling, though.
Overall, I freaking loved She-Wolf of the Woods, and I want the full length movie immediately.
One thing I do want to touch on is the way the movie plays into the treatment of a female werewolf as a monster with uncontrollable sexual urges. So often in stories of lone werewolves (or, as here, a werewolf with an apprentice), male werewolves are treated as sad creatures turned against their will who should be pitied, even if they need to be put down because they are monsters (e.g., American Werewolf in London, Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), while female werewolves embrace their hungers, sexual and supernatural, and therefore are dangerous predators as humans and as beasts (e.g., She-Wolf of the Woods, Veruca from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Women who embrace their sexuality and sexual desires, who admit they want sex and they want it now and they want it this way not that, are treated as dangerous, not to be trusted, destruction wearing sexy flesh. The monster in the woman isn’t the werewolf so much as it is her love of sex, and that metaphor sucks.