A Curse Reversed: Into the Woods and Favorite Tales Reimagined

Even though the movie of Into the Woods is currently topping the box office, the musical itself has been around since 1987.   

It's great that moviegoers are experiencing James Lapine's story and hearing Stephen Sondheim's witty music, but Into the Woods is really part of a larger trend of reimagining children's stories and fairy tales often into something darker and more mature.

If you enjoyed the changed fairy tales of Into the Woods, here are some other altered tales for you to check out.
Maleficent (SD DVD Version)
Blu Ray Version

From Disney's 1959 full length animated version of Sleeping Beauty, comes this reworking told from the point of view of Maleficent, the fairy who doomed the princess to be put to sleep by the spinning wheel.  This visually sumptuous film creates a more sympathetic Maleficent who now has a very different motivation for casting her dire spell.
Once Upon a Time

A modern day American town seems normal except for the young boy who dreams that all the townspeople are really fairy tale characters living under a spell.  No one believes him until he runs away to find his real mother who holds the key to unraveling the mystery.  Like Into the Woods this is a satisfying interweaving of various fairy tale characters who have different motivations than we might remember.

The Company of Wolves

Author Angela Carter is well known for her adult retellings of classic fairy tales.  Director Neil Jordan successfully adapted one of her Little Red Riding Hood retellings into film.  Into the Woods approach to the story is clearly influenced by this much more adult retelling.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

In this novel, Maguire creates an alternate Wizard of Oz.  In this Oz, the wizard is a tyrant and the "wicked" witch is rebelling against his power.  The novel launched a full series of sequels  and inspired a popular Broadway musical.
Fables by Bill Willingham

Much like the television series Once Upon a Time, this graphic novel is about fairy tale characters surviving in our own contemporary, mundane world.  In this story, all the magical characters are forced into exile by the "Adversary" and must fight for survival.

Additionally, there are many Teen novels that reimagine fairy tales.

Classics Retold & Fractured Fairy Tales @ SCCLD

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The Sisters Grimm ARE awesome. There is a lot to cover in this subject. I could probably write a few blog posts about Red Riding Hood adaptations alone. Perhaps this needs a follow up post.
1/10/2015 10:25:47 AM

Great list! There's also a ton more literature that's fractured fairy tales. My favorite series of fractured fairy tales is the Sisters Grimm.
1/9/2015 12:00:04 PM

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