Directed by: Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire)
Starring: Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Graham Crowden, Stephen Rea
The Company of Wolves (1985) is the film that brought filmmaker Neil Jordan to fame. It was—and is—a very odd film. (What better calling card could there be for Jordan?) On one level, it’s a horror movie reimagining of “Red Riding Hood” in more clearly werewolf terms. However, it’s also an allegory for a young girl coming of age into her sexual awakening—complete with all manner of adult warnings and misinformation and fears. At the same time, there are aspects of the film that are so surrealistic that they don’t really fit much of anything—and yet these things fit very smoothly within the nightmarish fabric of the movie. This is a film set—apart from a modern framing story that bleeds over into the fairy tale (or vice-versa)—in some distant past and yet it seems not at all out of place when the devil (played by an unbilled Terence Stamp) drives up in a Rolls Royce in the middle of the woods. All this plays better than it sounds in cold print. It’s the sort of movie that only Jordan—perhaps the most underrated filmmaker of our age—could make, and if it’s occasionally hampered by budgetary constraints, it more than makes up for it in sheer invention.
The Thursday Horror Picture Show will screen The Company of Wolves Thursday, Oct. 24, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.
In Brief: Calling The Company of Wolves (1985) a horror movie does it a disservice. It’s not inaccurate, but this magical, allegorical fairy tale — that catapulted its filmmaker to international fame — is considerably more than a horror picture. In fact, it’s more art film than horror flick, and some aspects of it are just plain inexplicable and surreal. Whatever you call it, though, it’s unique, and it established Jordan as a major fantasist.