A Modern Tale with a Twist
(Illustration by Arthur Rackham, 1909)
The January 2013, The Asylum movie, Hansel and Gretel, directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, written by Jose Prendes, staring Stephanie Greco as Gretel, Brent Lydic as Hansel, and Dee Wallace as Lilith, the evil witch, is based on the original fairy tale first recorded by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, but with a chilling distortion:
This modern-day tale of Hansel and Gretel is a horror take on the original fairy-tale where Hansel and Gretel, two young children, brother and sister, adventurer and adventuress, get lost in the woods, come across a cottage made of candy, and in turn with stuffing themselves, are sought to be eaten by the cottage’s inhabitant: an evil old witch.
Ergo, this version does have Hansel and Gretel, and candy, which is laced with evil medicine; it also has fine feminist antics, supported by the acting of Stephanie Greco as Gretel: her character is not another Tinseltown dumb bimbo about to be chased and massacred, while running through the woods part naked and screaming; no, here is a strong female character. One that has to save her brother who is held down in the dungeon, where teenagers are fattened up on candy (definitely containing corn syrup) (naturally, what else is going to fatten up teenagers in this modern day tale?) and then fired up in the oven along with some nutritious organic looking veggies.
The common fairy-tale rule of three, runs rife throughout: when Hansel is thrown in the dungeon, there are three other prisoners who are all dealt the same fate. This repetition of slaughter, sets the tone for what will happen to Hansel and Gretel if they don’t escape.
Dee Wallace as Lilith, the evil witch steeped in sugary malice, reminding us of Carol Brady—on methamphtamines—cooking up a storm to rival that of Nigella Lawson’s, except with delicious looking candy, home-baked fruit pies, and her special: meat pies, made with human-teenager mince, (As you do.) makes a nightmare of a host, especially when Ken and Bobby Kennedy come along: her personal human butchers.
During Gretel’s gruesome discoveries upstairs, Hansel, while shackled down in the Dungeon, is holding onto his own, saving a damsel in distress, played by Sara Fletcher reminding us of a German backbacker, unloved in her own home, not missed by anyone, finally getting to believe in herself as a worthwhile person: the old *you’re-to-good-for-this-life-baby* line works in a plotline once again!
Gretel, a vegetarian, is forced to eat human flesh, even though it’s cooked the Lilith-special homemade way with roasted garlic and capsicum, she literally can’t stomach it, spitting it in Lilith’s face, putting up a fight worthy of the best of feminine heroes. Thrown into the bowels of the pit of hell, along with her brother, Gretel persuades Hansel to stay and save the damsel in distress, who ends up tied up in typical Hollywood fashion: part naked, booty on display, abs defined to within an inch of a Hollywood career:
Female victimisation scenes involving near naked beautiful woman (the damsel in distress), involving bondage and sadomasochistic antics of the deadly—but the always degrading—kind is the only drawback of this modern-day-horror-intensified version of Hansel and Gretel. Don’t watch this movie alone. A young woman begging for her life and then being punched in the stomach while shackled to a wall, is a scary event to watch. Witnessing a man do that, leaves the viewer feeling icky: like they are guilty by watching such an act take place: the point of the scene I’m sure, but not one Hollywood needs to portray.
And what, with live worms falling in her mouth, as Gretel is forced to hide, along with Hansel; dirty feral psychotic hillbillies, who specialise in carving up a feast out of their young commodities, using chainsaws; bow and arrows flying through the air towards escaping victims, are all part and parcel of this gruesome horror flick.
Young men being drugged into eating their own flesh, proclaiming: “Gee! I taste awesome.” Perhaps, carrying a deeper metaphorical message over our generations’ perceived narcissism and over consumption. Fat girls are eaten first; skinny girls survive longer, an aid old cliché alive in Hollywood and in the modern-day Hansel and Gretel! Even extending the metaphor into society eating it’s youth, right up to the explosive ending where… I won’t ruin it:
I’ll let you see for yourself.
(The allegorical aspect of this story: Don’t take Candy from Strangers! And, Corn Syrup is fattening.)
~ Movie review by Michellina van Loder
(Homepage image source: Freeimages.co.uk)