By Sean Axmaker
Special to MSN Movies
As anyone who has ever read the original, unadulterated Brothers Grimm can
tell you, real fairy tales are not sweet. They are dark, dangerous and primal.
They reach into the darkest corners of our imagination and threaten us with our
most basic fears. We've since sanitized them in storybooks and movies, the
better to protect the fragile little minds of our modern wee ones from
nightmares. Just compare Disney's treatments of "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty" with the strange and weird Brothers Grimm
originals, where the villains are punished with violence and mutilation in the
vengeance-filled happily ever-afters. What parent wouldn't want to soften those
It's been left to directors like Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam to dredge up those forgotten shadows, and they
show no signs of ending their romp through the dark corners of fantasy and
imagination. "The Brothers Grimm," Gilliam's latest genre-trampling
fantasy is a slapstick thriller with nightmarish edges, while Burton follows up
his eccentric remake "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" with the innocently
macabre "Corpse Bride," an animated storybook romance by way of
Charles Addams and Edward Gorey.
Yes, those primal instincts still occur, but usually with a grown-up audience
in mind. Here are the best of those fairy tale movies for big kids.
10. "Snow White: A Tale of Terror" (1997)
memories of Disney behind. This revisionist take features a gang of outcasts
standing in for the dwarves, a tarnished Prince Charming and a stepmother (Sigourney Weaver) who turns wicked with insanity. Monica
Keena plays the headstrong heroine as a defiant adolescent on the verge of
adulthood, a whirl of hormones and romantic fantasy. But Weaver steals the film
with her witchy portrait of hysterical narcissism and medieval madness. Though
it never quite delivers on its promise, the landscape of this darkly handsome
production (it was shot in Czech Republic) casts a spell over the film, as if
bringing it to the folkloric roots of the original fairy tale in all its
grotesque and grim (or, if you will, Grimm) dimensions.