First – thanks to Kate on the message boards for getting me thinking about this topic. GDT is a huge fan of fairy tales and I find it interesting to read about how they have influenced his films. I thought I would post some quotes for your enjoyment.
From Devil’s Backbone Interview at FreakCentral.:
You mention fairytales in regards to Blade II, and I have noted that the fairytale style is a cornerstone for your films.
It’s funny you say that because in every movie I make I consciously try to insert fairy tale elements. I try very hard. I’m a huge fan of a particular group of Victorian illustrators that specialized in illustrating fairy tales. Kay Nielson, who illustrated some beautiful children’s books, Arthur Rakham (right)–very beautiful sepia work, and I try to incorporate elements of those images in all of my work. Into Devil’s Backbone went that oversized oven in the kitchen and the big oversized scissors hanging on the rack. I have this feeling, and I know in my gut that it’s right, that horror stories are nothing but the stepchildren of fairytales. They’re a derivation of that and the imagery tends to lend itself very nicely to that.
In that they teach morality through cautionary examples?
Quite the opposite: I believe they talk about a far more subversive morality than that in fairytales. I believe that fairytales are an instrument of instruction and that horror tales are the illegitimate offspring of that. The best horror tales to me are those that have an anarchic point of view–the ones that have no preconceived notions of what should be. At the same time I think that horror is without a doubt a beautiful instrument and an expansive container for metaphors.
“In the time of spiritual formation, for me, both fairy tales and the Bible had the exact same weight. I was as enthralled by a parable in the Bible about the grain of mustard, as I could be about three brothers on their quest to marry a princess. I found equal spiritual illumination in both. Even when I was a kid, funny enough, I used to be able to find those fairy tales that felt preachy and pro-establishment, and I hated them. I hated the ones that were about, ‘Don’t go out at night.’ There are fairy tales that are created to instill fear in children, and there are fairy tales that are created to instill hope and magic in children. I like those. I like the anarchic ones. I like the crazy ones. And, I think that all of them have a huge quotient of darkness because the one thing that alchemy understands, and fairy tale lore understands, is that you need the vile matter for magic to flourish. You need lead to turn it into gold. You need the two things for the process. So when people sanitize fairy tales and homogenize them, they become completely uninteresting for me.”