There are scribes scrabbling for the attention of geeks in the modern age: from JK to JJ, there are visionaries writing across all mediums that bring dreams and gorgeously realised fantasies to boys and girls everywhere, those kids (of all ages) who have always been more interested in the make-believe to the drab and all-too-real mundane. But what would these writers be without fairytales? Indeed, what would we all be without fairytales?
2013 marks 200 years since the Grimm’s Fairy Tales were first published (find out more here) and, as we celebrate the original purveyors of these frightful fables, there seems to be no escaping the trend for new tellings of the same old stories. These are stories that continue to speak to us and to new generations, and we have the German Grimm brothers to thank for this.
Or not thank, if you’ve seen ‘Beastly’ or ‘Red Riding’. There have been a fair few casualties along the way, Kristen Stewart out-boring even Walt’s purer-than-pure rendering of Snow White last year, but the tales themselves continue to be evergreen – and, when the adaptations take a darker approach in keeping with the black base of the original stories, the tales are complemented by renderings as thrilling as if we were young children again, being frightened by our first meetings with the big bad wolf or a creepy chap by the name of Rumpelstiltskin.
‘Pans Labyrinth’ is a case in point, Guillermo Del Toro taking some of the most chilling and iconic aspects of Grimm storytelling and weaving them into an expressionistic tale specific to his own personal experience, history and nationality. Have you read Philip Pullman’s own ‘Grimm Tales’ yet? You should, for it captures the macabre spirit and memorable moral lessons in a way that might have you running back to your Disney DVDs for comfort. And, lest not forget, video games these days are enjoying more credit than ever for storytelling nous – and what’s better than running around as Alice with a big ol’ knife in a bloody Wonderland?! You can do just that in American McGee’s delightfully twisted ‘Alice’ and its recent sequel, ‘Madness Returns’.
So, in this year that celebrates the influential work of brothers Jacob and Wilhelm, it’s inspiring to ponder just how powerfully some ‘simple’ tales continue to ring on through history. Granted, I’m a sucker for ABC’s fairytale mash-up ‘Once Upon a Time’ (not so much ‘Grimm’, despite the topic of this post!) but I look forward to the next dark-as-hell creation that has the Grimm tales to thank for giving birth to it in some writer’s terrifying nightmare. Sweet dreams.