Fairy Tale Adaptations Perfect for Halloween Viewing

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As a companion to the post I did yesterday, I thought I’d share some Halloween appropriate movies for the less horror-inclined. There are many to choose from, but to narrow it down, I choose only fairy-tale adaptations. However, I have lots of suggestions, so I’ll have to do another one (maybe a musical post?) next year too.

Here they are, in no particular order (synopses from IMDB)

  • Mirror, Mirror (2012): This is one of my favorite Snow White adaptations because it’s colorful, lighter-hearted, and witty. I yearn for the nectar of your skin… Anyway, I think this version is underrated.

Synopsis: An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.

  • The Thief and the Cobbler (1993): One of my favorite animated films growing up, this film has plenty of wit and some really great artwork. A spin on the Arabian Nights, this movie is, as Paul says, “weird,” but it’s also so, so great.

Synopsis (there were two, but I liked this one best): Designed in the ’60s, this Arabian Nights fantasy uses expressive animation to detail the story of a shy, near-silent cobbler who tries to win the affections of a distant princess. Meanwhile, the entertainingly evil, rhyme-speaking Grand Vizier Zig-zag tries to win the Princess’s hand, and wages war on the peaceful Golden City. It’s up to a rather odd, unspeaking local thief to set things right by accident.

  • The Red Shoes (1948): A classic! If you haven’t seen this movie, you really should. It’s a great movie at any time, but it’s just the right amount of creepy for Halloween.

Synopsis: A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.

  • Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998): Probably the best film adaptation of Cinderella–at least in my opinion. I mean that adorable Leonardo da Vinci, Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston and those gorgeous costumes…what more could you ask for?

Synopsis: not even worth pasting here. Just think Cinderella, but better, and you’ve got it.

  • Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre (1982): Another holdover from my childhood, these are great if you’re having company, because there are enough bad effects to laugh at, with enough good actors and humor to keep it interesting. They’re also short, so there’s plenty of time to eat and talk in between. Some of my favorites are “The Princess and the Pea,” with Liza Minelli and “Sleeping Beauty,” starring Bernadette Peters. I think you can check these out from libraries, and apparently you can watch them on Hulu.

Synopsis: At a time when most other shows for children were either low-budget productions or product-inspired cartoons that were little more than half-hour commercials, this program set out to produce high-quality classic entertainment that children would enjoy. Much inspired by an earlier children’s program, Shirley Temple’s Storybook (1958) (also known as “Shirley Temple Theatre”), Shelley Duvall hosts this program featuring some of the best-known in Hollywood performing adaptations of traditional stories.

  • Willow (1988): Okay, so this one isn’t exactly a fairy-tale adaptation, but it’s got all the good fairy-tale ingredients and it’s one of my mom’s favorites.

Synopsis: A reluctant dwarf must play a critical role in protecting a special baby from an evil queen.

  • Stardust (2007): Again, not an adaptation of a specific fairy-tale, but just think of it as a fairy-tale for grown ups based on Neil Gaiman’s enchanting book.

My synopsis: A young man will gain more than a present for his beloved when he ventures over the Wall to retrieve a fallen star.

  • Princess Bride (1987): I don’t even know how to describe how much I love this film. It’s inconceivable. Side note: the book is great and worth reading too.

Synopsis: While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

  • Labyrinth (1986): Three words. David. Bowie’s. Pants.

Synopsis: A selfish 16-year old girl is given 13 hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King.

  • Penelope (2006): Okay, so it’s more of a modern-day take on a fairy-tale concept. There’s still a curse. And self-discovery. And a masquerade.

Synopsis: A modern romantic tale about a young aristocratic heiress born under a curse that can only be broken when she finds true love with “one who will love her faithfully.”

  • Finding Neverland (2004): There are a lot of Peter Pan adaptations that would be great Halloween viewing. But if you’re all alone with a cup of tea and a warm blanket, this might be more your Halloween weekend speed, moving and mellow.

Synopsis: The story of J.M. Barrie’s friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan.

  • Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013): I think this film mixes its suspense and story elements pretty well for a bounty hunter film. Just good fun.

Synopsis: Hansel & Gretel are bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world. As the fabled Blood Moon approaches, the siblings encounter a new form of evil that might hold a secret to their past.

  • The Wizard of Oz (1939): I mean when there’s a movie like this, what else do you need? You owe a lot to Margaret Hamilton if you’ve ever dressed up as a green witch for Halloween.

Synopsis: Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

Did I leave out your favorite fairy-tale adaptation? What will you be watching on Halloween?

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