Launchpad is back and this time we’re going for something with a little more bite. “Growing Fangs” depicts a Mexican-American half human/half vampire teen called Val Garcia. Sunlight sort of burns her and she’s half invisible in front of the mirror. The whole family are vampires too (except her Father who’s a human) and there’s a tinge of comedy to the whole affair.
Val’s big drama stems from telling her best friend Jimmy the truth about being a vampire. They go to different schools and are drifting apart. In fact, Val is actually at monster school, complete with magic, werewolves… and fellow vampire Elsie Fang who’s the star of the basketball team.
This struggle between vampire and human eventually comes to a head when Val learns that she’s not half and half but actually both. Which, I guess is different?
Anyway, the movie basically plays on this idea of cultural identity and embracing who you really are. There’s some sharp narration and a nice tone that leans into this being specifically for a younger audience despite some light frights at the dinner table early on. In terms of tone though, this one feels quite similar to The Little Vampire in the way that it’s presented.
The film does suffer from a lack of clarity around the world-building and numerous questions could be raised around exactly how this all slots together in the real world.
This isn’t meant to be taken literally though and in a way, the picture serves as an allegory.
The Ending Explained
The film closes out with Val showing her true self, stopping Elsie from taking out Jimmy by admitting that she’s a vampire and a human. Garlic is thrown in Elsie face, leading to Jimmy embracing her and accepting that she’s a vamp.
In fact, it even inspires a new friend who’s half-werewolf to step up too. It turns out she was worried what others would think of her as a “half breed” and now she’s embracing her identity because of Val’s courage.
Of course, this whole monster deal feeds back into that idea of this being an allegory for those born between two cultures.
Whether that be a British-born Indian or an American Asian, this chapter actually does quite a good job showcasing what it’s like to be caught in the middle between two conflicting ideas.
The ending proves as much, with the family finally accepting that Val has made a new friend and also telling Jimmy the truth. There are hints though that Val may actually be bisexual but it’s left up to debate instead, which is a nice ambiguous way to end this story.
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