Company of Wolves, The

Director: Neil Jordan

The Company of Wolves introduces us to a rich world of fantasy and horror that visually and thematically is the heir to the surreal and sumptuous worlds of the British team Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Like them, Jordan eschews the then dominant mode of realism in favour of a different kind of magical reality. Inspired by Angela Carter’s short story of the same name and others in her collection The Bloody Chamber and co-scripted by her and Jordan, the film tells an adult version of Little Red Riding Hood. It has a portmanteau structure in that it is made up of a series of related fantasy narratives which are punctuated by the dreaming Rosaleen (played by Sarah Paterson). (There’s also a wonderful performance by Angela Lansbury as the superstitious old granny.) The set design (by Anton Furst) and the animatronic transformation effects are remarkable and place this film within the sub-genre of body-horror. However, as with all of Jordan’s films, a single genre never contains or defines the work.
U.K., 1984. Colour. Dolby stereo. 95 mins.

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