This weekend a little movie hit theaters in 3D as our answer to a big-budget spectacle in January. That movie? HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS starring Jeremy “I’m over exposing myself by doing too many movies these days” Renner, Gemma Arterton, and Famke Janssen, in a retelling of the classic Grimm fairy tale, only this time with more spectacle. Who would have ever thought that someday they’d make a big budget “event” movie about HANSEL & GRETEL? Seems like an odd choice, even if you throw in the WITCH HUNTERS tagline. Because honestly… who gives a flying f*ck? Well, apparently movie watching audiences give a f*ck it topped the charts of the box office and did damn well for itself for a January release. Plus, not only is there the big budget version, but there are a handful of straight-to-video H&G movies coming out right now, all of which are also looking to make some serious bank. WTF?
Like every other kid out there, I was familiar with the tale of H&G at a young age because it was a pretty straight forward one, and the lesson was easy to grasp: mind your parents, don’t take candy from strangers, mark your path so you don’t get lost. Did I miss any? Probably. Because I’ll be honest, out of all the Grimm fairy tales out there, H&G is one I could give a f*ck about. So a couple of little brats get lost in the woods, find a house of candy, befriend the old lady who lives there who ends up being a witch, so they do what any shit would do and push her ass in the fire before she has a chance to eat them. End of story. But no… Hollywood decided that in the year 2013, there would be more story to tell and that people would flock to see their version of it. Really???
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. In 2007, there was a Korean movie called HANSEL & GRETEL about crazy killer kids with telekinetic powers who would trap people lost in the woods in their house so they could play with them forever. Maybe it was lost in translation, but the movie had little-to-nothing to do with the story of H&G, which means they were just rolling with the name recognition when they titled it or it somehow got lost in translation (though there were 3 crazy kids at the center of their story, and none of them were named Hansel or Gretel). For some audiences, I can see riding the coattails of a famous fairy tale for name recognition being advantageous, like a kids movie (live-action or animated). That would make sense. But for an R-rated horror movie? Since when do horror fans care enough about the original story of H&G to want to check out a full-fledged horror movie on the subject?
Apparently I’m the asshole here though, because there are no less than three other H&G movies coming out right now alongside WITCH HUNTERS. The Asylum (of course) has their own version (their mockbuster, if you will) called HANSEL & GRETEL GET BAKED (formerly HANSEL & GRETEL AND THE 420 WITCH) starring Lara Flynn Boyle. And no, I’m not f*cking kidding you right now. At least they’re cashing in on the horror and stoner crowd with this one (do stoners give a shit about H&G?), and maybe the answer to the question lies in The Asylum’s whole involvement of making their own version to coincide with the big-budget release: everyone wants to bank off the (possible) success of WITCH HUNTERS, thus everyone is rockin’ The Asylum’s mindset of releasing a similarly titled movie on video about the same time as the big-time movie hits theaters (a tactic that tricks a lot more people than you’d think). But two other studios making two other movies on the subject? Seems like a stretch to me.
Horror legend Dee Wallace Stone stars as the witch in one of the other H&G movies out right now called HANSEL & GRETEL, which apparently is a modern-day telling of the story that every person in America (or at least horror fans and pot heads) knows by heart and wants to see over and over and over again in every different way possible. Let me guess: kids get lost, kids get captured, kids break free by shoving their captor in an oven. Wow. I mean, wow. I can’t wait to see how they’ll do it next!
Then there the mother of all WITCH HUNTERS knock-offs, a film that came out on DVD the same week, and the one that most closely resembles the Renner movie: HANSEL & GRETEL: WARRIORS OF WITCHCRAFT. This time, like WITCH HUNTERS, H&G are all grown up and have taken a vow of kicking the shit out of every witch they come across because killing the witch that actually did them harm the first time around wasn’t satisfying enough for them. So armed with swords and magic and shit like that, they’re out massacring witches left and right. Am I the only one totally bored out of my mind with this concept at this point? Enough already!
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but since when in the f*ck does anybody care about HANSEL & GRETEL? Sure, it’s a “classic” fairy tale, but it’s not among the most classic… it’s more like a pseudo classic, one where everybody knows about it yet no one really gives it any respect. Like Rumpelstiltskin or The Ugly Duckling. And yet here we are, in the wake of HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS making serious bank at the box office (especially for an R rated fantasy/action movie), proving that there is a pretty significant chunk of people out there who do love them some H&G, making me one of the odd motherf*ckers out, as I not only don’t care… but I’m a little infuriated and outright dumbfounded as to why this story (and it’s spin-offs) are so effin’ hot right now. Maybe I’m the asshole. Probably am… but f*ck H&G anyway.