6 Children's Stories That Other Countries Turned Insane
Live-action versions of children's stories are hot shit right now; that's why we're seeing Disney abandoning new fables in favor of cannibalizing its back catalog. From Cinderella to The Jungle Book to Tim Burton's upcoming reimagining of Dumbo (the flying elephant will be reconceived as a leather-clad Johnny Depp who works in a Hot Topic).
Yes, Disney's rehashing the hits faster than an '80s hair metal band at a casino gig. But before you head to the multiplex, check out some of these foreign live-action versions of children's stories, which add insane twists Disney is too scared and/or sensible to try.
Czech Alice In Wonderland Is Full Of Dead Animals
Everyone loves Alice In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll's timeless story about how if small children eat random things and chase animals into confined spaces, magical adventures ensue. But Alice, Czech director Jan Svankmajer's 1988 adaptation, is by far the nuttiest, most extreme take on the fable.
For one thing, rather than a cartoon or character actor hard-up for a paycheck, the white rabbit of Alice is an actual taxidermied animal, necromanced back to life using stop-motion. In the movie, the rabbit springs to life, rips the nails out of his paws, and drains the stuffing from his chest. Try showing this to your kids and see if they want to celebrate Easter ever again.
Alternatively, this might just be an alien's tragic misinterpretation of Jesus' resurrection.
Also, in this version he's a scissor-wielding nut with a penchant for decapitation:
On the plus side, the showdown between him and the Queen of Hearts will be thrilling.
Seemingly because the director wanted to limit himself to making a movie with only the contents of a serial killer's garage for props, we also get characters made up of creepy dolls, animal skulls, and a caterpillar that's a sock puppet with actual dentures shoved in its mouth.
It looks like an octogenarian serial killer's Fleshlight.
It's a bold original movie that also features a scene in which, well ... whatever the hell this is happens:
"Drink me? Ooh, tastes goo- AUUURRRRRGGHHHH"
1970s Bollywood Aladdin Is Fucking Terrifying
You're probably most familiar with the Disney version of Aladdin, the one where all the good guys look like movie stars and all the villains look like racist wartime propaganda cartoons. Beating Disney to the punch was an Indian live-action film in 1979 -- and if there are two ingredients guaranteed to automatically up the insanity quotient of your movie, it's the 1970s and Bollywood.
Alavuddinum Athbutha Vilakkum covers a lot of the same bases as the Disney version, such as the scene where Aladdin ventures into a mysterious cave to retrieve the magic lamp. Unlike the Disney version, however, the cave is filled with disembodied demon hands, such that there's even some kind of 100 percent hand monster.
The Hamburger Helper was damned for all eternity.
Aladdin finally spies the lamp but is blocked by some aggressive belly dancers, which given the other obstacles, doesn't really seem too bad:
The cave security guy was really out of ideas by this point.
Until he is attacked by a fucking lion, a trick that is accomplished using some poor asshole dressed like Aladdin, actually being mauled by a lion.
One story decision Disney decided not to go with: having Aladdin become some kind of gladiator.
Adding to his newfound badassery, in the end, Aladdin doesn't just thwart the Jafar-like bad guy, he furiously skewers his throat like a bloodthirsty maniac.
There aren't any subtitles on the video, but let's just all pretend he prefaces the kill with: "It's a whole new world ... of pain."
Indian Harry Potter Is A Bad Mushroom Trip With Singing
Harry Potter: He's the character we all love despite the fact that if you went to school with him in real life you would probably hate his guts. Since those books and movies tapped into the world's desire to see children use black magic to fight fascism, they made billions of dollars, which naturally led to a whole lot of imitations.
Some less subtle than others.
Bollywood took a crack at their own version of the Harry Potter story with the ripoff flick Aabra Ka Daabra, which is Hindi for "abracadabra."
"What's Hindi for 'lawsuit'?" -J.K. Rowling
The 3D adventure film is about a young boy being sent to magic school, where he battles evil with his friends. While that sounds familiar, things immediately seem off. For one thing, the Hogwarts-esque magic school isn't a castle; it looks more like a Scientology center.
"Come, not-Harry; it's time to put on the Sorting E-Meter!"
Also unlike Hogwarts, this school has a disembodied purple head with wings who shows you around the school -- which seems pretty damn stupid, but admit it, we all would have eaten this shit up if the flying purple head guy were played by some esteemed British film actor.
If you squint, it does look like Judi Dench.
Speaking of old British actors, they've been replaced by younger, sexier performers -- and if you think the teachers and kids don't break into song at the drop of a sorting hat, then you're watching the wrong movie.
And now we're kind of sad that we'll never get to hear Voldemort's song.
Instead of broomsticks, they fly carpets. And instead of quidditch, they play ... well, it seems to just be flying carpet quidditch.
Which is, of course, absurd, since flying carpets are banned in Britain. God, read the fucking books.
Most insanely of all, it turns out the headmistress of the school is evil and is trying to seduce the hero's dad into revealing a secret potion (he's obviously not an orphan in this version). Which is a little like if Dumbledore suddenly turned evil and tried to fuck Uncle Dursley, a scene we're sure exists somewhere on the Internet.
Mexican Little Red Riding Hood Features Vampires And Torture
For some reason, everyone still reads Little Red Riding Hood, the fairy tale that celebrates a dumb young girl who can't tell her own grandmother from a talking wolf. It's kind of hard to one-up the insanity of this fuck-you of a bedtime story, but 1960s Mexico sure as hell tried.
In fact, they made a whole trilogy of Little Red Riding Hood movies. The first one roughly follows the story of the fairy tale -- except for the fact that the wolf has a talking skunk as a sidekick for some reason.
"Sure, I'm starring in shit now, but Stanley Kubrick just gave me a part in his new movie!"
The third movie in the trilogy (think of it as the Mexican fairy tale equivalent of Return Of The Jedi) goes completely batshit crazy. The first clue that this movie might be the cinematic equivalent of drinking paint thinner: It's called Little Red Riding Hood And Tom Thumb Vs. The Monsters. The second clue is this movie was made in 1962, which was the third Red Riding Hood movie in only two years, basically the same business model Tyler Perry works from.
The plot concerns an evil witch arresting the wolf and an ogre for not being evil enough, which is a disturbing thought. Also disturbing: The wolf and ogre are tortured, because apparently the Geneva Conventions don't extend to enchanted fairy lands.
Also, Ferengi and Coneheads freely interbreed in this universe.
It's up to Little Red Riding Hood, Tom Thumb, and (uggh) that goddamn skunk to save them. Also, the townspeople have been turned into mice, so they should probably sort that shit out too. They battle a bunch of crazy monsters, including the witch and a top-hatted vampire.
"Blah! I'm going to suck your dramatic tension!"
There's even a robot, because the only true monster is regret.
"What a beautiful day in the Middle Ages!"
If you don't think that a group of kids would have any chance against a legion of terrifying villains, well ...
"Why do people do this with blindfolds? It's so much easier when you can see!"
Sadly, Little Red Riding Hood 4: Your Blood Is My Candy was never made.
Creepy German Pinocchio Aggressively Makes Geppetto Seem Like A Pedophile
Even the Disney adaptation of Pinocchio is pretty messed up. There are fairies and talking crickets and the moral is: If you try to have fun as a child, you'll be turned into a donkey and sold into slavery.
And that's just the tip of the freakish iceberg.
In the 1960s, a German production company set out to tell the classic Italian story, but not unlike other joint ventures between the two countries, things took a turn for the worse. For one thing, an underrated facet of the Disney version is the fact that Pinocchio is wearing pants. Don't think so? Check out the German take on the story in which Geppetto doesn't give his puppet clothes. This leads to one of the creepiest scenes in the history of creepy puppet scenes: Geppetto chases a naked Pinocchio around the room.
"Come see my line of anatomically correct puppets!"
And just why in the hell would Geppetto carve an ass crack for his small boy puppet? Who is he building these marionettes for? Then Geppetto and Pinocchio hug, despite the fact that Geppetto still hasn't been able to track down any small pairs of puppet-sized pants -- fair warning, just looking at this image is probably enough to be put on some kind of FBI watchlist.
While Geppetto would go on to found the company that makes RealDolls.
With this iteration of Geppetto, the villains have to really up the game on their creepiness -- which they do by donning giant black masks, tying up Pinocchio, and beating the shit out of him.
And the movie makes no effort to reassure us these gentlemen in gimp masks aren't
somehow involved with Geppetto.
Because, apparently, when you wish upon a star your life turns into a steaming pile of crap.
Soviet Bambi Replaces Animals With People
Written by a secret pornographer and made into a Disney movie in 1942, Bambi is the classic story of an adorable deer who learns that the human race is absolute dog shit. And back in 1985, while the rest of the world was basking in the glory of Back To The Future and Commando, the Soviet Union gave its citizens a new live-action Bambi. Not surprisingly, the movie starts out featuring actual deer.
Each having a curious interest in the other's crotch.
Then a dissolve tells us either that the deer are magically morphing into humans or actors are going to be representing the animals from here on out.
Soviet Animorphs: Origins.
Because humans are easier to direct than wild animals (unless you commit some kind of Milo And Otis-esque atrocities) the rest of the movie finds actors running around pretending to be animals -- it's basically First Day Of Drama Class: The Movie. The deer characters are adorned in crowns and capes, and the rabbits are dressed as mangled sock puppets.
"We're definitely getting beat up for this at school on Monday, right?"
Of course, when the hunter shows up, things get grisly -- and no, disappointingly, the hunter is not revealed to be a giant deer. Sure, it's upsetting seeing cartoon animals bite it, but in this version we have to watch a woman get shot in the fucking throat.
They were at least kind enough not to make us look at the ragged, gaping exit wound.
And, of course, there's the scene where Bambi's mom dies, killed by an off-screen hunter, which was traumatizing in the original, but here it feels like she's being picked off by a sniper.
It's true: In the Soviet Union, they made Bambi with people.
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For more insanity from overseas, check out The 5 Weirdest Bollywood Remakes of Famous Hollywood Films and 9 Foreign Rip-Offs Cooler Than The Hollywood Originals.
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