A dark retelling of the “Snow White” tale that leans heavily towards the Grimm and avoids almost all of the Disney.
A young princess clashes with her stepmother, who calls on dark powers to resurrect her stillborn son and take control of the kingdom. Let’s dig into 1997’s SNOW WHITE – A TALE OF TERROR, directed by Michael Cohn!
As I See It
Showtime aired this “dark version” of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
I wasn’t super excited to bite into this apple. Once I committed and got a half hour or so in, I was worried that there weren’t going to be any elements of horror. There was a dark tone, but the fantasy was so locked in that I forgot all about the witch who would inevitably show her boiled face.
Which, I must add, is phenomenal. Sigourney Weaver lets the makeup guide her performance. She’s a legend for a reason.
Using the trauma of a stillborn baby to turn the stepmother wicked is a clever real-life aspect, albeit heartbreaking. Once she goes full evil, we’re treated to some true old-school tricks, like feeding her husband his own daughter (though that plan was foiled).
Switching the seven dwarves for seven vagabonds was also more realistic. It added a real gritty feel to the film rather than dousing us with all the whimsy we could handle.
Could you imagine a gag that made one of the actors blush like a light bulb? The stained glass coffin is a nice touch as well.
I imagine if there had been any less talent on screen, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this as much. But I also left thinking, “Man, Sam Raimi could do a really wicked Snow White!”
Sigourney Weaver (Claudia) is a Queen. We all know it. Do I have to say she IS Ripley? Come on.
Sam Neill (Frederick) appeared in my favorite Dig to date, Possession, and a small indie film called Jurassic Park.
Monica Keena (Lilli) starred as Lori Campbell in the nostalgia-heavy, just have fun and stop worrying about continuity, horror mash-up Freddy vs. Jason.
Of Gratuitous Nature
I’ve got nothing to sneeze at.
Sam Neill with long, glorious locks of hair is something I didn’t know I wanted to see until today.
Ripe for a Remake
These old fairy tales will inevitably be recycled time and again for generations to come.
No direct sequels or spin-offs for this one, though it feels within the realm of possibility that we will get something as dark with Jagged Edge Productions putting out horror versions of Winnie the Pooh and the forthcoming Bambi horror.
Where to Watch
Mill Creek Entertainment released a Blu-ray, which can be had pretty cheap on Amazon. You can stream it on The Roku Channel.