From a Stephen King adaptation to a Western cannibal story, the Wendigo has been a part of several iconic horrors.
Even though the Wendigo has appeared in a variety of TV shows and movies, the creature started out as a mythical spirit from Algonquian folklore. Wendigos were originally seen as humanoid spirits that possess humans and induce feelings of greed and cannibalism within them. Over the years, their pop culture representations have added some new alterations.
Usually, the Wendigo is depicted with ram horns, glowing eyes pushed back into the sockets, emaciated skin, and yellowed fangs. Films like The Wendigo and Pet Semetary make use of such popular depictions which are in turn influenced more by Algernon Blackwood’s 1910 short story The Wendigo instead of the original myths.
The Last Winter (2006)
Barring the third act, the Wendigo never appears in The Last Winter. But it is the fear of its existence that contributes to an eerie atmosphere throughout its duration. The plot involves a team of environmentalists protesting the construction of a pipeline in the Arctic. With fatal accidents and gas leaks, the team begins to hallucinate and die one by one. The desolate setting only makes it worse for the characters.
Towards the end, the Wendigos make an appearance as nature spirits leaving a lot of space for interpretation. Essentially, the film is a tale of humans changing the flow of nature. So, in this sense, the Wendigos can be nature’s guardians instead of the monstrosities they are usually seen as. As director Larry Fessenden said in an interview with RogerEbert.com, “When the world falls out of balance as it has, there is hell to pay. The wendigo is a way to discuss that. It’s manifested in different ways.”
After a city-dweller accidentally hits a deer in the woods, he believes that he’s haunted by the Wendigo as revenge in Wendigo. The protagonist also gets a Wendigo figurine at a local souvenir shop that adds further to his scares.
The visions of the Wendigo as well as the recurring motif of the figurine add a sense of mystery to the creature. The blurry hallucinations are stress-inducing and feature the character in night-vision-like lighting. This goes beyond the formulaic depictions making the titular monster more ominous. For most of the movie’s duration, viewers keep on guessing whether the cannibalistic spirit is real or not.
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