This morning, I was at Barnes & Noble, and I happened into the Music and DVD section. The DVDs are largely grouped by genre (Television, Sci-Fi, Drama, etc.), but near the front of the section there are racks that bring together DVDs around a specific theme. Among the racks marked British Television and New on Blu-Ray was a small rack of films marked Dark Fairy Tales.
As most of you are aware, the term “dark fairy tale” is redundant, as most of the fairy tales I grew up with put children in peril (grandma-eating wolves, jealous royalty with poisoned apples, being named Hansel, etc.). They were cautionary tales, handed down across the generations to keep children from straying into the woods at night, or eating the neighbors house, or stealing porridge from bears, or hanging around tuffets eating spoiled milk.
Hollywood has recently released a spate (perhaps a spate and a half) of re-imagined fairy tales over the years, and Barnes & Noble has collected these cinematic tales of terror under the category “Dark Fairy Tales”. There were about 10 titles on the shelf, but one story in particular always resonated with me. It’s a story of the darkness that can befall a young man when he gives in to temptation. The story goes by many names, but most people know it by its Hollywood title:
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The story goes like this…
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Cameron, who was about to finish school and go to college. One day, shortly before graduation, Cameron was approached by an evil trickster named Ferris. Ferris was a wily and cunning demon, who had been terrorizing the town for years, coming and going as he pleased, and fomenting insurrection among the children.
Only three people saw Ferris for the monster that he was:
◾a nameless, bespectacled scholar who kept the demon away by repeating its true name again and again, “Bueller… Bueller… Bueller…”
◾a heroic young lass named Jeanie, and
◾a wise village elder named Edward Rooney, who vowed to capture the evil Ferris and save the town once and for all
Jeanie and Edward had to operate in secret, working to destroy the trickster while avoiding the spellbound townspeople who sought to Save Ferris from his much-deserved fate.
Now it so happens that Cameron’s father owned a magical talisman called The Ferrari, which Ferris coveted above all things. So Ferris waited until the father was away, and visited Cameron, enticing him to take the Ferrari for himself, so that he and Ferris could “have some fun”.
With Cameron and the Ferrari under his control, Ferris sought out his siren companion, the raven-haired temptress Sloane, and set out for the city, determined to bring its people under his thrall. The dark couple, with the hapless Cameron in tow, traveled the city, using their sorcery to descend upon baseball stadiums, restaurants, art museums, and financial institutions in order to acquire enough psychic energy to enthrall the city. Once they had enough, Ferris rode down the main thoroughfare, chanting the incantation, “Danke Schoen” over and over until the citizens were twisting and shouting in response.
Edward, sensing the moment was at hand, attempted to break into Ferris’ lair, hoping to find evidence that would break his spell over the people. Unfortunately, he was confronted by the Ferris Wolf, which drove him away, battered and bleeding. Jeanie, believing Edward to be one of Ferris’ minions, attempted to contact the local constabulary for help, but was herself imprisoned by the mind-controlled officers.
Having seen the city fall to Ferris, Cameron built up the courage to persuade Ferris and the siren Sloane to return the Ferrari to his father’s shrine before its absence was discovered. However, the talisman has been corrupted by the demon’s touch, which Cameron attempted to undo by rewinding their adventure’s effect on the Ferrari.
While Jeanie was imprisoned, she befriended a fellow prisoner, Charlie, whom she believed to be a kindred spirit. Unfortunately, Charlie was also a follower of Ferris, and seduced Jeanie into believing that Ferris was her brother. This act of darkness gave Charlie the strength of two and a half men, but eventually drove him insane.
Cameron, finally seeing that the taint of the day has corrupted the Ferrari beyond redemption and caused it to become Ferris’ wheels, summoned his courage and kicked the Ferrari into the ravine, destroying it and freeing himself from Ferris’ spell. Defeated for the time being, Ferris raced back to his lair, where the noble Edward, now in possession of the knowledge to defeat the trickster, lay in wait. But before he could vanquish Ferris, Jeanie turned on Edward and helped Ferris back into his lair, where he hides to this day, waiting for another opportunity to conquer the world.
Why are you still reading this? The story is over!
Coming soon: Dark Fairy Tales II: Clueless
Also in Barnes & Noble’s horrifying Dark Fairy Tales series:
◾Akeelah and the Bee
◾Bend it Like Beckham
◾Marley and Me
◾The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
◾About a Boy