When the likes of Peppa Pig and Dragonball Z have faded into obscurity, classic fairy tales will still endure, evolving to reflect universal themes of love and death in brand new contexts. These days, iconic stories such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are best known through , but our favorite fairy tales haven’t always been this child-friendly.
Before fluffy animals and happy sing-songs became the calling card for fairy tales, stories written centuries ago by the Brothers Grimm and their peers were far more mature affairs aimed at adults and children alike.
If you think , you may need to brace yourself as we explore that inspired your favorite childhood movies, ranking each fairytale in terms of grossness and sheer horror.
In Carlo Collodi’s original version of the story, Pinocchio runs away from Gepetto and is caught by the police. Naturally, they assume that the living marionette was abused by his maker, so the police decide to imprison Gepetto.
Distraught by what’s happened, Pinocchio returns to Gepetto’s house later that night, ‘accidentally’ killing the talking cricket before being hung from a tree, suffocating to death. At least the wooden puppet died close to his own kind.
9. The Frog Prince
Kissing a frog is already pretty messed up for reasons that I shouldn’t have to define, but in some versions of the original fairy tale, the kiss doesn’t appear. Instead, the frog is turned back into a prince by chopping off his head or slamming his tiny frog body into a wall.
To be honest, I’d rather kiss a frog then try and marry a prince that’s been smushed against a hard surface.
8. The Little Mermaid
Ariel’s quest to join Prince Eric on the surface world proved to be somewhat tougher in older versions of the story, where her newly-formed legs caused the former mermaid pain with every step.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the ungrateful Prince married someone else instead. Thank god it couldn’t get any worse than, oh, wait. Turns out that if the Prince married someone else, Ariel would die and turn into sea foam. Guess what happened.
7. Pied Piper
Let’s face it; Even modern versions of the Pied Piper tale are creepy as hell, involving a man who steals away all of the children from a town after the major refuses to pay him for removing the rat problem.
Usually though, the Piper brings the children back after his ransom works, but more traditional interpretations of the story end on a far more disturbing note where the children are never returned, presumably left in an Asian sweat shop somewhere for the rest of their days.
6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
You might think that the original version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs couldn’t possibly be worse than the live action film adaptation Snow White and The Hunstman, but you’d be wrong.
Aside from the evil queen’s plan to eat Snow White’s liver and lungs, the story ends in an even darker fashion, when the villainous monarch is killed at Snow White’s royal wedding.
Instead of opting for a classic hanging or stabbing, the queen is forced to step into burning hot shoes made of iron and dance until she dies. Why they couldn’t spring the extra cash for a wedding singer, we’ll never know.
We’ve all had that moment when shoes struggle to fit, but the Ugly Sisters from Cinderella used to have it worse than most. In their desperation to get laid by the prince, the eldest sister cuts off her own toes to try and make the now golden slipper fit. Sister number two realises the absurdity of this logic — and chooses to cut off her own heel instead.
Somehow, neither ploy works and Cinderella still enjoys her happy fairytale ending, where the sisters eyes are poked out by doves during the wedding. Nothing says “congratulations” and “good luck” like the severed optical nerves of your siblings.
We all know the story of Tangled and the original story of Rapunzel, where a beautiful girl with long blond hair is trapped in a tower by an evil witch. Pretty sadistic, but what Disney doesn’t want you to know is that in the original version of the story, the prince is pushed off the tower by the witch, landing directly onto thorn bushes that break his fall WITH HIS EYES.
Physics aside, that’s pretty messed up.
We all know the classic story of the Brothers Grimm’s Rumpelstiltskin; Imp meets girl, girl promises to give imp her firstborn if he teaches her how to weave straw into gold, girl breaks her promise, imp says it’s ok if she guesses his name, girl snoops, girl says imp’s name, imp loses his mind and rips himself apart, straight down the middle.
Classic storytelling at it’s finest.
2. Sleeping Beauty
Italian Giambattista Basile’s version of Sleeping Beauty is about as far removed as possible from the animated Disney adaptation.
In this story, the king rapes the sleeping girl and impregnates her. As she sleeps, the child begins to grow until Sleeping Beauty eventually gives birth. That would probably wake most girls, but our Beauty doesn’t arise from her slumber until a child removes a splinter from her under her finger by sucking it out. Yep. That was actually a thing.
1. Little Red Riding Hood
Finally, we have Little Red Riding Hood, the most disturbing of all the traditional fairy tales. Yes, the wolf heads to Grandma’s house and kills her, but instead of eating the old broad, the wolf decides to leave her flesh out in the pantry and her blood in a wine bottle.
When Red arrives, hungry from her travels, the wolf offers her the dead flesh of her own grandmother for sustenance. That’s some shady shit, right there.
Grimm doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Which one of these dark fairy tales is your favorite?
The day someone green-lights a Marvel Zombies Ghibli film directed by Xavier Dolan is the day I will be happy. Any day now…