Disney movies have a tendency to lighten up the classic fairy tales they retell. In their original versions, Cinderella’s sisters cut off their own heels to try to fit into the glass slipper, the Queen from Snow White dances to death while wearing red hot iron shoes, and Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid is no exception. The new supernatural horror film called Mermaid’s Song attempts to capture a truer version of the 1837 short story; it also stars Game of Thrones favorite Iwan Rheon. Here’s the trailer:
I decided to read the fairy tale, because I’m not quite sure if I ever did growing up. I loved the Disney movie as a kid, and still sometimes sing the songs for karaoke. Let me tell you, there are some pretty startling differences between the movie and the story, and it reads a lot more like a religious allegory than it does a tale of sacrifice for romantic love. The beginning is basically the same, the Little Mermaid saves the prince when his ship sinks, she falls in love, asks the sea witch to give her legs. But one more thing—mermaids do not have eternal souls; they live for 300 years and then die and turn into sea foam. Humans, however, live for only 100 years and then die, but then live forever in an eternal heaven. In the story, the Little Mermaid also wants an eternal soul. The sea witch says that in order to remain a human and achieve an eternal soul, the prince must fall in love with her so much that he “forgets his mother and father”. Only then can a piece of his soul be transferred into her, and she then she can live forever. In exchange, she must give the sea witch her voice which, as we know, is the most beautiful in all the land. She can also never return to the sea to see her family, and if she fails to win the prince’s affection she will die forever. Instead of sucking the voice out of her in the form of a pretty purple vapor (a la the movie), the sea witch just goes ahead and cuts her tongue out.
Oh, and one more thing, every time the Little Mermaid takes a step, it will feel like she is walking on needles and knives, and her feet will pretty much always bleed.
So blah blah blah, the prince becomes super fond of the mermaid but because she is unable to talk, he just sort of brings her along and treats her like his kid sister. Then he falls for the neighboring princess that his parents want him to marry, mistaking her for the woman who saved him from drowning (who was really the Little Mermaid). They marry and the Little Mermaid’s heart breaks, knowing she will soon die without ever being able to return to her family. But her mermaid sisters show up and give her a knife they took from the sea witch and tell her that if she kills the prince she can return to the sea as a mermaid. She stands over the sleeping prince to kill him, but is unable to go through with it. When she goes to die and turn into sea foam, she instead finds herself among new beings and is told that she is now a daughter of the air, because she tried so hard to get an immortal soul. Her selflessness nabbed her a chance at earning said soul by doing good deeds for 300 years, and then she can go to heaven. Here’s a fun and stressful little ending for the children: every time an invisible being of air floats into the room of a good child, one year is taken off their 300-year purgatory, however, if they find a bad child, another year is added.
Yeah, it’s weird. The 19th century was weird. Also, great content for a horror movie, don’t you think? I’m not sure how much of the film will honor the story itself, but as you can tell from the trailer, they are definitely taking their own creative license.
The description of the film reads:
A dark homage to Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid, and starring Game of Thrones' Iwan Rheon, the film is set during the 1930s depression and tells of young Charlotte, who is struggling to keep the family business afloat. When gangster Randall offers to pay off the family debt - he demands some illegal changes to the business. But Charlotte, like her mother before her, is a mermaid capable of controlling humans with nothing but her voice, which creates a battle between all of those who want Charlotte's magical powers for themselves.
Disney is also remaking their classic animated movie into a live action one coming out this year, and I think it’s safe to say that Mermaid’s Song is a different take. I just hope they add in that freaky part about her feet feeling like she is stepping on knives. Now that’s some good horror movie content.
You won’t even need to go to the theater for this one, the movie came out in digital form last night, you can find it on video on demand. I’m not sure what I think about the trailer, but I’m willing to see any movie that takes something from my childhood and turns it into a horror movie. What’s more to want?