(Continued from part 1)
In part one, we discussed films based on Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel that have taken similar dark twists. We can see that the idea of making fairy tale films scarier has been done before. Let us look at some other Grimm stories that have been adapted to the dark side for film. In the Snow White film Mirror, Mirror, starring Julia Robert, as the wicked queen/stepmother who is determined to stay young. She actually puts a love spell on Snow White's love interest to keep him for herself. Of course, she is determined to kill Snow White in order to stay the most beautiful and young. Coincidentally in the theaters about the same time, is the film Snow White and the Huntsman, following the same template of the evil queen obsessed with staying young. In this film, she originally sends the huntsman to kill Snow White, but he cannot after he develops implicit feelings for her. Then, there is Snow White: A Tale of Terror, starring Sigourney Weaver as the stepmother. This film, from the horror film genre, focuses on the stepmother/stepdaughter relationship. It paints Snow White as a difficult, rebellious stepchild, not as a sweet innocent girl. The stepmother takes a dark turn after a confrontation with Snow White leads to the miscarriage of her child. The incident then provokes feelings of resentment and jealously for Snow White as she learns she cannot have anymore children. This film has an interesting storyline and is worth checking out.
There have also been several takes on the Little Red Riding Hood story. Although Hollywood kind of missed the mark with the period piece Red Riding Hood (starring Amanda Seyfried), it obviously has not swayed them from making more fairy tale films. Prior to this film, is the film Freeway, starring Reese Witherspoon. It takes a metaphoric twist on the Little Red Riding Hood tale. Witherspoon portrays Vanessa (aka Red), who is a juvenile delinquent. She is abused by her stepfather and chooses to travel to her grandma’s house to avoid being placed in foster care. On her way she encounters a charming man, Bob Wolverton (Kieffer Sutherland), who is actually a serial killer/ pedophile (aka a wolf in sheep’s clothing). One of Witherspoon's early films, but she does an excellent job portraying the trail trash girl. It is a very interesting take on the story complemented by dark comedy.
Film makers like to tell us how the fairy tale has taken a darker turn, but weren't they always on the dark side? Although Disney adds it charm of singing and cuddly characters, even they have their share of villains. For that matter, the stories that were read to us as children were indeed dark, but that is probably not what we remember. When we read Rumpelstiltskin as children it probably did not sink in that the maiden had to promise him her first born child in exchange for the gold. So, they are not really adding any darkness to they tales, but they are still reminiscent and entertaining to watch.
Where to find these locally: Video 1