Story Treasury

Why Fairy Tales are Actually Horror Movies // also a quiz!

As much I ardently admire the Disney version of almost every folk tale imaginable scribed by the Brothers Grimm, you get the meaning why they’re called fairy tales.

Turns out, the actual fairy tales which were originally written…more disturbing less fairy. Which I’m fine with. Dark original fairy tales? I’m in. Wherein comes the entry of this post where I try to clear up exactly how much Disney has missed.

First up, let’s see what exactly we missed from the original Brother’s Grimm story.


  • The fairy godmother never existed.
  • It was actually a tree. Glad we cleared that up, first up.
  • Cinderella was not a helpless sweet girl, she might have been a witch – showing her leanings towards magic when she made the tree above her mother’s grave rain her with gold and pretty dress.
  • Her stepmother seemed to have a thing for throwing lentils into the ashes and making little girls pick them up.
  • Her father wasn’t actually conveniently dead. Period.
  • More disturbingly destructive than dead, to be honest. Long short short? When the prince came to his door telling her that Cinderella is hiding on his property he chopped down the pens, the tree above her mother’s grave, whatever. Knowing that Cinderella might be hiding in them. Now don’t I wish I had a charming father like him.
  • It gets better. “Making your foot fit in the shoe” actually meant “cut off parts of your foot to make it fit.”
  • I don’t think so, sista~

  •  One of the stepsisters cut off her heel with a knife (well isn’t that quaint?) while the other cut off her big toe to wear the shoe. While they were with the prince in a carriage, their shoes started leaking with blood. Total despos for the prince. Your toe and your heel to wear a shoe?!
  • Someone please connect them to a crisis hotline asap.
  • Please stop eating if you’re eating anything.
  • When Cinderella, er, Aschenputtel (her real name) finally got to marry the prince, the stepsisters wanted some glory at the glorious wedding and snuck to the aisle at her wedding.
  • Cinder’s pet birds pecked one eye out of each of the stepsisters. Yay for Cinderella? For your convenience let’s not go into the gory details.
  • They still wanted to walk back the aisle, and the birds pecked out the other eye.
  • I don’t care what they think, I just hope that the wedding was worth their eyes. They spend the rest of their lives as blind beggars while Cinder lives in luxury.

Reaaaaaally, it just depends on what your definition of happily ever after is. In which case, the Brothers Grimm had messed up ideas.

Not that I’m complaining.

The Little Mermaid

  • This Disney movie is actually identical to the actual tale.
  • Except suck out any happiness.
  • And “notion of love conquers all”
  • And any faith you might have left in humanity. And you’ll have a pretty legit idea of what a Little Mermaid is all about.
  • The sea witch gives Ariel a potion which makes her tail turn into legs. Cue excruciating pain as a result. Like you’re walking on blades when she stepped onto the land.
  • The prince turns out to be a jerk. He makes her dance for his amusement despite her pain, y’know, just because he was super sweet like that.
  • The sea witch tells her is the prince doesn’t fall in love with her, she’ll turn into sea foam.
  • The prince chose some other woman to fall in love with. He left her.
  • Ariel turned into a foaming mess of seawater.
  • THE END.

Sweet dreams, everyone!

Of course it is. Unless it’s A Little Mermaid. In which case even a band of drooling trolls chasing you through the Forbidden Forest sounds better.

Snow White

  • Her stepmother wasn’t actually her stepmother in the actual story. (And up stage, we have the Brother’s Grimm again!) She was her real mother. She couldn’t bear her daughter to be prettier than she was, so she decided she had to kill her. No biggie.
  • She commands her huntsman to gouge her heart and liver out so she can have them cooked and eaten.
  • Skip to the end; she dies dancing. The Evil Queen has to put on iron shoes which are red hot from a fire. And dance. And not stop. Until she dies.
  • The end.

You know, The Brothers Grimm had a great sense of humour, and an even more calming stories to lull children to sleep to.

Sleeping Beauty

  • Disney does tend to romanticize things a bit…er, a lot.
  • I grew up hearing a pretty princess who falls asleep under a curse, until her handsome prince Charming comes and awakes her with a kiss of true love and they marry and live happily ever after.
  • Not.
  • It depends on if your definition of romantic is having the Prince find her asleep, and watching her take a fancy to her, and rapes her. Yeah, um, that is slightly disturbing. Eventually she gives birth to two children in her sleep. Until one of those kids nibbles on her fingers and it leads to the piece of flax which was keeping her asleep is taken out that way. She wakes to find herself raped. And a mother of two kids.

I think this one disturbed me the most. Even more than Cinderella.

In case you want to, you know, deprive yourself of a night of sweet dreams, here’s the original stories.

While doing a bunch of research so I could type this up (spoiler: more procrastinating than writing) apparently fairy tales are super popular. If by popular you mean, punk Cinderella, and zombie Snow White. If you’re curious…look it up 😉


And that brings me to le second part of this post. Yes, as much as originals may be utterly fascinating to read and scare others off with (you might not be even reading this at this point. Go ahead and caress your poor scarred eyes, take all the time you need.)

But with originals, obviously we’ve expanded and changed these over time. We’re human. That’s what we do. (Unless I have visitors from the dragon population visiting me. In which case, hello! *waves*)

Fairy tale retelling are love. I will gladly give up all my merch (don’t quote me on that later though) for a library full of Ya retellings. So if you love retellings too, let me guess which  ones are your faves. As terrible as I may be at guessing IRL.

Because I want to see how many of you choose what. I’m nosey like that. Quizzes are delicious. Here is the one I slaved upon for the past half hour.


i adoree retellings even more than looking up disturbing original horrific tales. fave YA ones?  is there any disturbing original story which is wayyyy off from the ones we grew up hearing? was my quiz’s result off it’s rocker or perfect? orr, like me, do you prefer to dabble in all the retelling genres?



43 thoughts on “Why Fairy Tales are Actually Horror Movies // also a quiz!

  1. It’s not surprising that there are numerous versions of the original fairy tales. The Brothers Grimm basically went around collecting orally told stories and writing them down, sometimes merging multiple versions into one. More recently, authors such as Angela Carter have been stripping back fairy tales to the originally brutality such as with her collection ‘The Bloody Chamber’.


  2. I love the happy Disney retellings sometimes. But my heart will always gravitate towards the more hard-edged versions of the fairy tales. The Sleeping Beauty original one is definitely one of the more disturbing tales, though with the amount of fairy tales I read on a regular basis, not the worst >>


  3. Uh, I ADORE the original versions of fairytales. Like, in Sleeping Beauty the story doesn’t end after she wakes up. The princess goes to live with the prince, and his mother – who is conveniently a troll – gets jealous and tries to eat her, and her children. You can’t make it up, can you? Unless you were the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault, I guess.
    Beth x


  4. *shudders* goodness. Who would have thought these stories I’ve grown up with and loved would be so creepy?? Like… I will never look at those movies the same again. Sea foam? How can you tell me Ariel turned into sea foam? It’s just not right. 😦 This was an awesome list though and I loved the comparisons! I am a tad bit freaked out but am giving huge thanks to Disney for making these stories romancey and nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ariel turned to sea foam *nods’ What can I say, life is cruel xD

      I’m pretty sure The Brothers Grimm had a tad but of a different definition so as to what they mean by ‘calming.’


  5. Urgh, I know. All the originals are creepy. There’s this other one called The Goose Girl (I think?!?! IDK) and basically this maid imposters as this princess and stuff happens and then they realize that the person who they thought was the maid was actually the true princess and so then they shove the imposter-princess (who was actually a witch or something idk fairy tales are weird), naked, into a bucket filled with spikes and then these two horses roll her down a hill or something. REALLY FREAKY. And the thing is, most of the Brothers Grimm’s tales were collected ones, apparently- they were tales they had heard through other people and whatnot, and decided to write them all down. So these could’ve been bedtime stories or something. YIKES.
    According to your quiz, I am the Canonics, and THAT IS SO GOSHDARN TRUE. I WANT ALL THE THINGS. GIMME. *grabby hands*
    Awesome post!


  6. oh yuck scary. Those are just so nasty and messed up. You read originals for fun? Thats just scary. How do you cope? According to the quiz I like epic fantasy, but it’s really all the things, let’s be honest. Nice post, Nirvana!


  7. Great topic! This is why I love darker fairy tale retellings so much- they stay true to the original tale haha.

    But to be honest I still love the defanged Disney versions as well. All them songs!! Haha.


  8. Oh my. I never knew about all of them except for The Little Mermaid! The Sleeping Beauty one is quite possibly the freakiest, most horrible fairy tale I’ve ever head. That’s just terrible. D: great post, though!


  9. Ya supposedly most of these stories were public domain and then Disney came along and copyright hammered them.

    Weird how a lot of them have painful dancing. Do you think that was a common thing in real life at the time. “I hereby sentence you to death by dancing!”.

    Got The Canonics. Dragons everywhere. Castles made of dragons riding horses made of dragons.

    by the way you might have accidentally had your real name as the author of the quiz. Gotta hide that personal info.


  10. And here I thought I was the only one intrigued with the original stories! I’ve read them somewhere before but the way you write it makes it more funny and interesting (and disturbing)(I need reminders that some things are supposed to be looked at as disturbing)(sometimes I just forget ya know)(cries for poor, desensitised me)

    Love this post! Don’t mind me while I go around your blog and litter comments hehe

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Painful dancing, how charming! Turn something of pleasure into torture, now that’s cruel.

    Nope, that’s just a random username – thanks for the concern though. It’s just Nirvana here atm.


  12. When I was in college, I actually did a presentation on fairy tales and their original stories, so I knew all of this. It never fails to amaze me, though! Those Grimm brothers were a bunch of sadistic dudes.

    Awesome post!


  13. This was so fascinating! I knew how Ariel’s story really went, but not the others. Did you read about Rapunzel’s story? The witch only discovers that the prince has been visiting Rapunzel when she finds out that Rapunzel is pregnant. She chops off Rapunzel’s hair and sends her to the wilderness, where she gives birth to twins. Then the witch uses Rapunzel’s hair to lure the prince into the tower and tells him that he will never see Rapunzel again. He throws himself from the tower in despair and is blinded by the thorns below (don’t ask me how he survived falling from a tower). Somehow, (even though he can’t see) he finds Rapunzel and her tears give him back his sight and he takes her to his kingdom. This one actually ends happily!
    In a totally unrelated topic….I mentioned you on my blog
    I’m highlighting some of the best comments I’ve received over the past year and yours was one of them (or two of them actually). Just thought you might want to check it out. Thanks for the awesome comments! (and sorry for the really longwinded comment!)


    • Yes, I’ve read it during my research, and all I can think is that there’s things which aRE NOT MEANT TO BE SEEN BY CHILDREN. In these tales. For instance, Rapunzel.

      And thank you so much, that’s really sweet of you to mention me ❤ And hey, don't worry. Nothing makes my day better than a long comment :'D


  14. That is messed up. All of it. There’s a book that actually talks about the “real” stories- it’s called Infandous by Elena K Arnold- and holy messed up. The whole book is, not just the stories! The Little Mermaid one wants me want to cry though- what even is that!? Sleeping Beauty IS the worst, but I’d heard that one before so it wasn’t as shocking as the poor mermaid. And what is up with Cinderella’s sisters? Those are some masochistic bitches. Fabulous (and quite interesting!) post 🙂


    • Messed up book about old fairy tales? I think I need to check this out, because I have absolutely no life XD

      Masochistic bitches would be Cinder’s sisters all the way tbh.


  15. Pingback: The Weekly Hufflepuff #1 | The Writing Hufflepuff

  16. OMG, Sleeping Beauty! That’s bloody disturbing. Scrap that, that’s horrendous! I’ve never read the originals, but I think most of us probably see the romanticised Disney versions as the real fairytale. I had no idea the originals were so dark and disturbing. I can’t stop laughing, the sick puppy that I am, not at the stories but how you’ve delivered them Nirvana. Absolutely LOVE this post! ❤ ❤


    • ikr?! Most of us think that DISNEY is the real deal…when it actually isn’t. And haha, thank youu XD I enjoyed writing this, as disturbing as the research for this post may have been :’)


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