#FolkloreThursday: The Curse of Sleeping Beauty

MV5BMjI1ODMzNDYyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDk4MTMxOTE@._V1_It’s that time again, and this week, I’m sharing another film. Sort of. I’m not going to be gushing about this one as I did with Song of the Sea, that’s why this is not a ‘Film Spotlight’ post. The spotlight is reserved for brilliance.

I stumbled across this film while trawling Netflix for something to watch, I started watching it but then had to stop because I am a wimp and I need people to watch scary things with me (even if they’re not that scary). Luckily, I was meeting with two of my closest friends, both of whom love fairy tales and wanted to watch some horror films. The Curse of Sleeping Beauty seemed like a perfect fit. The trailer made it look like a beautiful film but didn’t give much away. We knew it was going to either be: a terrible film, a terrible film that was also an adventure due to its terribleness (we love these), or a film that surprised us and was actually quite good. You never know what you’re going to get when you find yourself in the deep corners of Netflix, sometimes what you find is brilliant.

Alas, we were not so lucky. The film revolves around tortured artist Thomas, who has, we discover, inherited an incredibly creepy house and with it a series of dreams about a mysterious and beautiful sleeping princess. Of course, the house is at the centre of multiple disappearances. It started well, sort of.

For a large part of the film, we were scared. Faceless mannequins which move when you’re not looking are, after all, terrifying and if it had stuck to the creepy doll theme, it could have been a great movie. But no. It had to bring religion and the crusades and a lot more random pointless things into it. It was like they decided they wanted to write a completely different movie three-quarters of the way through. The first three-quarters were exposition. The plot didn’t really move until right at the end. We were shocked when we realised that the film ended in 15 minutes and yet we had no plot progression at all.

For the first three-quarters of the film, it was a creepy and suspenseful mannequin themed horror movie with fairy tale-esque elements. For the last 15 minutes or so, it was suddenly an apocalypse movie. In the time they had left themselves to conclude the story, they included a pointless, long-winded montage scene which really didn’t serve any purpose other than allowing them to show some ~edgy~ techno special effects. We could have done without it.

The highlight of my watching experience was witnessing my friend, Bekah, go into a full blown rage at their misuse of religious texts – her ranting and correcting was actually more exciting than the film.

Some of the scenes are beautiful, and Briar Rose’s costumes are beautiful if impractical but not even that can save this film.

Do you know of any great horror films based on fairy tales? I would love to find an actual decent one!

Happy Thursday!

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Guilty Reread-a-thon: a return to Point Horror

When I was a tiny, little thing, not long having entered the five-year soul crushing machine that was secondary school, I discovered the school library. I hadn’t avoided it for any particular reason, I just kept my lunchtimes outside. Especially when it was sunny and the field was there for the taking. However, once discovered, I couldn’t be kept away from it, with its strange balcony which could have just as easily been a second floor. Well, until a year or so later when the outside world called once again. My first jaunt through the shelves was not un-aided, no. I discovered the school library because of not one but two boys. One, my oldest friend, who would go to the library most lunchtimes at that point in our school career (though I have no idea why, I should ask) and his friend, a new kid, who would later become my first boyfriend. Oh.

What started as a casual, silly, young ‘I’m going to follow this boy around for a while and hope that he notices me and thinks I am pretty’ ritual, kindled my love for a series of books which I still, if somewhat guiltily, reread today. At this point, Harry Potter was the current big thing (unsurprisingly). I liked it as much as the next kid, having been introduced to it in primary school by a teacher (the wonderfully named Mrs Chodyniecki), who read the greatest Hagrid I have ever heard. We were between books, I think, though I couldn’t tell you which, and I was hanging around by the shelves on the left wall, trying to look like I wasn’t just gawping at my oldest friend and his newest friend. (I definitely was.) I am not sure how I discovered the shelf or why I was even looking at it as I definitely hadn’t been in there for the books. It was one of the bottom three and on it, with crinkles down their spines and battered edges, yellowing pages, sat a large collection of Point Horror. I needed something to read, what with the gap between Harry Potter instalments, what better way to fill that gap than by scaring myself silly?

This was probably at around the same time as my witchcraft obsession, so the pull towards horror was unsurprising. The first title I read was The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick, who still remains my favourite Point Horror author. I still remember the juddery feeling in my stomach. What started out as a casual perusal quickly warped into an obsession in and of itself, and when I found out that another friend liked them too it kept growing. My Point Horror novels are the most dog-eared and visually read of my entire book collection (followed by Trudi Canavan’s Age of the Five trilogy and one of my copies of Neverwhere, I think), and I still can’t keep Decayed in my eye line when I am trying to sleep. The front may not look so bad but the back is worse and I can’t help but feel like she’s going to crawl out of the cover and eat me – I am a bona fide wimp.

I charged my way through pretty much all of the titles held in the hallowed halls (not so much hallowed as yellowing…) of my secondary school – The Baby-sitterThe Stranger, Blood SinisterApril FoolsThe PerfumeFreeze Tag, to name a few. My favourite, and the one that I find myself crawling back to at regular intervals, is Trick or Treat – I could probably recite parts of that novel if I wanted to. It was the first pit stop for James Dawson’s Point Horror Book Club – a merry parade I wish I’d found early enough to join in myself.

It is with this in mind that I have decided (once I have finished my current reread of the first two of Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland series) to embark on a Guilty Reread-a-thon and I invite you, possibly non-existent reader, to join me. Pick up your guilty reads, give them a review, as honest as you like.

What are your guilty reads? Are you, like me, an avid reader of Point Horror? Is there some kind of devastatingly cheesy series that I have been missing out on? Let me know!