Horror cinema has been around since the late 19th century. That gives us 130+ years of thousands of individuals who have laid some cement on the foundation of the genre that we have today. From the performers who were drenched in blood and screamed their way through countless films, to the writers and directors who created the causes for those screams, to the makeup artists and costume designers who brought the horrors to life.
It’s been an internet hobby of mine since the internet was a thing to research those involved with the genre. The most interesting part of the research is the arrival of the present and seeing where these individuals from past films are at now. With this monthly column, I will be sharing with you bits of information that I find out on these pioneers of horror past, answering the question, Where [Sc]are They Now?
There are a number of individuals that I could have focused on for Leap Fear Month here at Nightmare on Film Street. There was one who recently reentered my own timeline, and I had to know more about where they’ve been, and where they’re going. That individual is Emily Perkins. Perkins never portrayed an actual time traveler, but there are a few of her credits that either takes her through time, or places her character in a different timeline. We’ll begin near the beginning of her screen career with a little gem that you may have heard of. A gem in which she portrays a young girl who faces an evil traveler of space and time. Perkins was a part of the Losers’ Club from the 1990 miniseries, Stephen King’s IT.
This is a role of her’s that always catches me off guard. The time span between my rewatches of IT (1990) are very broad. Every time Beverly Marsh first appears on the screen, a light goes off inside of my head. Those lights have led to an evolution of exclamations ranging from, “That’s the girl from Ginger Snaps!” to “That’s Brigitte!” to “That’s Emily Perkins!”
After a handful of TV movies and appearances, 1998 saw Perkins guest-starring in an episode of well-known horror/sci-fi hybrid, The X-Files. In the seventeenth episode of the fifth season, All Souls, Perkins portrays four different girls, all sisters, who all have a connection. They are all a part of a prophecy of sorts, born as handicapped individuals with polydactyly (the addition of an extra finger or toe). The girls, dubbed as Nephilim, are being hunted by the devil who wants to claim their souls. There was a bit of excitement when the devil came for the soul of the first sister when the clock struck midnight. There’s going to be a time involvement! But alas, the next two sisters were chosen at random times. Perkins had barely any lines throughout the episode. Her performance was all physical, and her emotions were shown through her soulful, dark eyes.
In 2000, Perkins’ most memorable character came to life in the coming of age werewolf film, Ginger Snaps. No one needs a rundown of her character, Brigitte, as she is one of the most memorable female characters in werewolf horror. Katherine Isabelle (Ginger) and she brought to life a tale of a bond between sisters that could not be broken. Hormones and lycanthrope, be damned!
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During an interview with Ain’t It Cool News, Perkins said that she had never actually seen a werewolf film. “. . . I never really saw a bunch of werewolf movies. Actually, I had never seen American Werewolf in London ‘til I did Ginger Snaps, and I finally rented it. I thought it was OK. It’s about guys. I like movies about girls.” Heck yeah, Emily Perkins. She is a huge part of THE perfect werewolf film for girls. Brigitte’s story didn’t end with Ginger Snaps. After a guest spot on the early aughts’ revision of The Twilight Zone (season 2’s 6th episode, Night Route), Perkins returned to the world of Brigitte for back to back sequels.
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed released on January 30th of 2004. Perkins was the focal point of the sequel as we saw Brigitte struggle with her newfound lycanthropy. Within the confines of a wayward home, she tries to defeat the wolf inside while trying not to defeat those who surround her. The focus on female empowerment and the trials that girls go through carries over from the first film as she befriends a girl named Ghost (Tatiana Maslany). Brigitte becomes the Ginger of this story while Ghost steps in the little sister role. The ante is upped in Unleashed, and so is Perkins’ performance. We see more of that drive that led her to attempt to save Ginger in the first film, but this time around, that drive is to save her own life as well as the lives around her.
Later in 2004, the third and final film of the Ginger Snaps trilogy was released. Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning takes the Fitzgerald sisters, and places them in the 19th century. They aren’t exactly the sisters that we came to know in the first two films. Instead, The Beginning tells a new story that continues to showcase the power of a sisterly bond, and presents new patriarchal threats that the sisters must overcome.
“We’re explaining things and making the story come full circle. I just think it’s a really nice completion and I really like the ending. I know a lot of fans didn’t like the ending of the second one, since it left Brigitte in such a bad place, but the end of third one is a more triumphant ending. It’s still kind of sad…” Perkins told JoBlo.com. She’s right. Brigitte’s story ended so abruptly in the second film, but the final moments of the third film between Ginger and Brigitte bring all of the struggles from the entire trilogy together in one quiet and chill-inducing scene.
Following the power showcase that was Brigitte, Perkins portrayed a character within another universe that carried on throughout this year. The universe was that of Supernatural. The character was that of Becky Rosen. Becky was an obsessed fan of the Winchester brothers who knew their stories inside and out (thanks to meta storyline that began within the 5th season), and who happened to write her own stories of the brothers in the form of – eh – incestual homoerotic fanfic.
Becky’s first appearance came in the first episode of the fifth season, Sympathy for the Devil (2009), and followed that with another appearance that same season in the ninth episode, The Real Ghostbusters (2009). Becky is the total opposite of what we’d seen Perkins portray. She wasn’t a dark and tortured soul, but instead an energetic individual with tons to say and no filter to stop it. That plus her obsession with the Winchesters, specifically Sam, lead to some pretty giggle inducing scenes. Perkins handled comedic timing wonderfully, and Becky became a fan favorite.
2010 saw her have a small role in an indie horror titled Blood: A Butcher’s Tale. She would soon after return to the role of Becky in 2011 within Supernatural’s 8th episode of the 7th season, Season Seven, Time for a Wedding. More hilarity came about from Becky as she has a demon assist her in brainwashing Sam into marrying her. The episode gives off so many Misery nods, and in turn, Perkins gives off the best Annie Wilkes vibes, but more so in an innocent, clueless kind of way.
In 2014, Perkins was the opening kill, or should I say abduction, in the visually satisfying yet character lacking film, Extraterrestrial. It’s a quick opening, but effective, thanks to the eyes of directors, The Vicious Brothers, and the franticness of Perkins. 2019 saw the return of Becky to Supernatural within the show’s final season’s fourth episode, Atomic Monsters. I won’t go into too much detail as it’s still fresh on the scene, but things end up not so well for Becky. Yet, there’s still a chance that she could show up within the show’s final episodes so there’s no hope lost … yet.
Other notable appearances of Perkins includes portraying Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley in the time-traveling (!) educational show, Mentors (2002). She’s had parts in critically acclaimed films such as Prozac Nation (2001) and Juno (2007), and appeared in the teen comedy, She’s the Man (2006).Gaps in between projects founds Perkins completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of British Columbia where she also delved into women’s studies. She also has two sons that she loves, dearly.
Emily Perkins will forever be in my and other horror lovers’ hearts. If not for the lasting impression that she’s made upon us as the heartfelt and ferocious Brigitte, it is for the strong and determined sense of life that she exudes within any character that she portrays whether it be dark or lighthearted. It is within my heart that she finds the time to return to the genre with a spectacular, woman-centric project that will blow us away. Perhaps a continuation of the Ginger Snaps storyline … if that is even possible given the fate of Brigitte.
What’s your favorite film that Emily Perkins has been in? Or what did I happen to miss that is worthy of being noted? Let us know over on our Twitter, reddit, Instagram, or on The Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook!