Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors.
Fairy tales seem to be undergoing a modern-day revival, but with a twist: they’re almost never alone, but rather crossed-over and re-mixed with other tales. Into the Woods, an upcoming feature film from Disney, puts characters from four fairy tales—“Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel,” and “Cinderella”—into a single world in which a baker and his wife have been cursed into a childless marriage by an evil witch.
The television series Once Upon a Time features a cast of fairy-tale characters—such as Snow White, Prince Charming, Rumpelstiltskin, and even Captain Hook—living in the fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine, after being transported there by a curse. The show begins at the end to a typical Snow White-esque fairy tale, but with a twist—the Evil Queen succeeds in her curse, and destroys everyone’s memory. The show’s creators say the idea behind “mashing-up” so many different tales is to think up “ways these different characters can interact in ways they never have before.” The next entry might have something to say about that…
In the comic book series Fables, characters from dozens of old fairy tales and fables have yet again found themselves in a single place—this time, in a New York City community called Fabletown. In fact, the idea is familiar enough that after Once Upon a Time was broadcast, some began accusing the show of plagiarism. Seems that audiences do want fairy-tale mash-ups, but are also eager for genuinely new connections and scenarios—things that Fables continues to be well-known for, such as Goldilocks going homicidal, Prince Charming running for mayor, and the Big Bad Wolf (known here as “Bigby”) going off to fight in World War II.
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by Fairy Tale Review prose editor Joel Hans.