These Little Red Riding Hood movies all draw inspiration from classic fairytale. Some are for kids; others very dark.
What are the basic components of Little Red Riding Hood movies?
- A young woman (sometimes a girl, sometimes an adult)
- A masculo-coded wolf (oftentimes human)
- The wolf is hunting her down for some reason. (It’s often perverse and sexually motivated.)
- A division between civilisation and nature (town/forest, or safe place/outlaw place). This often symbolises the conscious vs. the unconscious parts of us all.
- In many of these films, the Little Red Riding Hood character either exacts revenge, or has the opportunity to exact revenge (and chooses not to).
EDGE OF THE WOODS (SHORT) (2015)
Four friends live in a dystopian police state. Their mission is to escape the military surveillance of the city and live in the woods. Unfortunately for them, the woods have monsters.
Fairytale characters come from a number of fairytales, including Cinderella, Robin Hood and Snow White.
This one is 16 minutes long. You can watch it on YouTube.
TAG LINE: Girls don’t cry wolf.
In an almost future, Red leads her friends on a journey to grandma’s house, but there are wolves in the woods, and the path grows less clear every day.
INTO THE WOODS (2014)
A G-rated Disney film. Although this is made by Disney, it’s tonally different from what we think when we think “Disney”. Think traditional opera rather than musical. The tone shifts again at about the mid-point and loses much of its audience. It is based on a play from the 1980s, which explains the length. (Over two hours.)
In its favour, the cinematography is macabre and dream-like. But it’s different again from the Tim Burton style of creepiness.
If you’d prefer to avoid Johnny Depp, you might have to avoid this. (He plays the wolf.)
A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
LITTLE RED RIDING RABBIT (1944)
The Warner Brothers YouTube channel has a four minute clip of this re-visioning. Little Red Riding Hood basically shouts everything, which is a refreshing inversion on the helpless characterisation she sometimes gets. But the story is really about Bugs, and Bugs tormenting the stupid Wolf trying to eat him.
JIN-ROH: THE WOLF BRIGADE (1999)
Jin-Roh means werewolf in Japanese (literally person wolf人狼).
- Set a decade after WW2 in an alternative Tokyo
- In this world, little girls carry and deliver bombs for the separatist. The fairytale is narrated across several scenes of the film. Also borrows symbolism from “Little Red Riding Hood”.
- A doomed lovers tale
- Terrorism and counter-terrorism, murder, self-detonation, police
- By the director of Ghost In The Shell
- Convoluted plot unless you’re used to the format and Japanese style of storytelling
- Sad and impactful
- Themes: guilt, atonement, living while burdened
- Considered very good by lovers of anime, especially for the 1990s
A traumatized member of an elite para-military police force falls for the sister of a female terrorist courier who died in front of him on duty.
THE WOODSMAN (2004)
- R rated
- After 12 years in prison, Walter is released. He finds a job in Philadelphia and makes friends with a tough-talking woman called Vickie. Unfortunately he befriends a young girl at a park.
- Kevin Bacon plays Walter and some people consider this his best work.
- Jîn is a Turkish film
- In Kurdish “Jîn” means “Life”. In Turkish Jin (no circumflex) means woman.
- As in the Japanese anime Jin-roh, the Red Riding Hood character Jin is a young female fighter caught up in a war.
- Beautiful cinematography showcases natural beauty of the mountains and forest
- Themes: Humans are also animals.
- Message: An overt political plea for peace
- The main character gets a chance for revenge but doesn’t take it. In fact, she does the opposite.
Jin, a guerrilla, lives in a cave and decides to escape from the organization. She finds some civilian clothes and goes down from the mountain to the city. However, the city is no safer than the mountain.
- Rated R, lots of violence
- Little Red Riding Hood meets an infamous serial killer on her way to her grandmother’s trailer, who she’s never met.
- For fans of Natural Born Killers
- Great acting from acting greats
A twisted take on “Little Red Riding Hood”, with a teenage juvenile delinquent on the run from a social worker travelling to her grandmother’s house and being hounded by a charming, but sadistic, serial killer and pedophile.
HARD CANDY (2005)
The link between this film and “Little Red Riding Hood” is a little less obvious, but the clue is in the red hoodie worn by Elliot Page (billed as Ellen). A number of these films are about pedophiles and horrific abuse and gory revenge. If Freeway wasn’t too much for you, this might be for you.
TAG LINE: Strangers shouldn’t talk to little girls.
Hayley’s a smart, charming teenage girl. Jeff’s a handsome, smooth fashion photographer. An Internet chat, a coffee shop meet-up, an impromptu fashion shoot back at Jeff’s place. Jeff thinks it’s his lucky night. He’s in for a surprise.
THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984)
Based on the famous Angela Carter short story, which is iconic. The film adaptation is not widely enjoyed, but has its fans. The special effects will look dated to a contemporary audience.
Features Angela Lansbury.
A teenage girl in a country manor falls asleep while reading a magazine, and has a disturbing dream involving wolves prowling the woods below her bedroom window.