Little Red Fighting Hood

My, Mr. Wolf, what gruesome bullet wounds you have!

"When the little girl opened the door of her grandmother's house she saw that there was somebody in bed with a nightcap and nightgown on. She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead."

(Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.)

In her original fairy tale incarnation, Little Red Riding Hood was a naive, helpless little girl who was at the mercy of a vicious predator. The story has become so ingrained into Western culture that any time we see a little girl dressed in a red hooded coat on television, it is reasonable to expect that something terrible is going to happen to her.

However, given the popularity of the Fractured Fairy Tale, it was inevitable that this story would recieve modern updates. Modern versions of "Little Red Riding Hood" tend to have a feminist vibe, making her tough, streetwise, and able to take care of herself, thank you very much. This updated version will almost always be named "Red."

A popular, Grimmified variant is to give her a gun, an axe or some other weapon and have her hunt down the "wolf" (Who may or may not be a literal wolf) herself. This variant will feature a teenage or adult Red, who will naturally be Hotter and Sexier, making her double as a Lady in Red. If she says "What big eyes you have" it will be a Pre-Mortem One-Liner right before putting one right between said eyes.

A more subtle version simply has a young woman entering a dangerous situation dressed in a red jacket, seemingly to invoke Little Dead Riding Hood, only to then subvert it by revealing her toughness. This lacks the Narmy vibes of the other works, as the Fairy Tale Motif is limited to the coat only.

Note that, despite the title, Red does not have to be an Action Girl to qualify as this trope. Any "updated" version of the character who is shown to be capable of taking care of herself is valid.

See also: Fairy Tale Motifs, Fractured Fairy Tale, Grimmification, Little Dead Riding Hood, Bring My Red Jacket and Xenafication.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • This is one of Sophie's figments of the imagination she meets in the Immateria in Promethea. Notably she criticizes Sophie for drawing her guns poorly while fighting humanity's subconscious fear of wolves.
  • Mark Texeira's re-imagining of the tale for Penthouse Comix. "Red" is a werewolf hunter who catches her quarry by posing as a prostitute and...you can probably figure out the rest.
  • Red Hood in Kingdom Come.
  • In Crimson, a comic book about vampires (and other monsters) there was a badass female who wore a red hood named Scarlet (obviously). While in the story she fought with and against, mostly vampires, her origin centered around fighting werewolves (obviously).
  • Fables first introduces Red Riding Hood as a courageous survivor of the Adversary's conquering legions and the love of Boy Blue's life. The story in which she's introduced shows that she willingly stays behind to fight to the death at his side, unaware that a plan had been put in place to let him escape and be with her. Later she appears under similar conditions and turns out to be Baba Yaga in disguise, acting as a spy for the Adversary (a deception which he saw through fairly quickly). After Boy Blue's rampage across the homelands to find her he discovers that the first one he met was also a disguised spy (apparently she's an easy subject for producing doppelgangers) and the real one has never met him, but he ends up bringing her back to Fabletown anyway. She is shown to adjust to her new life surprisingly quickly, and is not a fighter but is nonetheless strong and self-reliant, and is the active party in pursuing a romantic relationship with Flycatcher the Frog Prince.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Hoodwinked!, if Red Puckett even thinks you're trying to harm her, you should probably start running. The Wolf learns this the hard way:
    Nicky Flippers: So, you really took a beating... from a little girl?
    The Wolf: Hey!
    [Cuts to Red proudly standing next to a photo of herself in a martial arts uniform with the caption "Red Puckett: Forest Regional Karate Champion".]
  • Shrek the Third: Red Riding Hood cameos as one of the villains.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Roald Dahl's retelling from Revolting Rhymes:
    The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
    She whips a pistol from her knickers.
    • She puts in a reappearance in "The Three Little Pigs", and by the end:
    Not only has two wolfskin coats,
    But when she goes from place to place,
    She has a pigskin travelling case.
  • The very earliest versions of the folktale didn't include the hunter, killed the grandmother off for real, but had Red Riding Hood escape the wolf by herself, if she wasn't eaten. Perhaps we have a Cyclic Trope on our hands?
  • Angela Carter, known for making updated, modernized versions of fairy tales (many of them collected in The Bloody Chamber), has two short stories involving this to varying degrees. In Werewolf, the little heroine is attacked by a werewolf on her way to her grandmother's place and cuts off its paw with a knife. Upon arrival, she finds her grandmother delirious and missing her hand. The grandmother is subsequently stoned to death and the little girl inherits her things. In the other story, The Company of Wolves, the girl meets a charming young man on the way. When she arrives at the house, she finds that the young man is actually a wolf in disguise, who has already killed her grandmother. Her reaction is to laugh at the standard "What big eyes you have" routine and promptly hop into bed with him.
  • In The Princess Series, Roudette, the Lady of the Red Hood, was a well-known and feared assassin. Her cloak either protected her from magic or turned her into the Big Bad Wolf, depending on whether she wore it fur in or fur out. After her death at the hands of one of Talia(Sleeping Beauty)'s Fairy Godmothers, the cloak is claimed by Talia (herself a talented fighter thanks to applying the gift of grace to martial arts), who actually prefers being thought of as Little Red Riding Hood than being recognized as Sleeping Beauty.
  • The entire point of Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. One of the two main characters, Scarlett, obsessively hunts Fenris down and kills them. Her grudge against them comes from being attacked by one as a small child; she managed to kill it in order to defend her sister, but not before the wolf killed their grandmother and ripped off half of her face and her right eye, leaving her horrifically scarred.
  • Marissa Meyers' Scarlet knows how to handle both a shotgun and the handgun she carries with her, and takes matters into her own hands regarding her grandmother's disappearance.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Syfy original movie, Red, starring Felicia Day as a werewolf hunter variant.
  • A similar take on the Riding Hood story is created in the finale of Syfy's Face/Off. One of the final character makeups is a werewolf huntress in a red cloak based directly on the fairy tale (as required by the competition).
  • Played with in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy dresses up as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween.
    Xander: (wolf-like) "What you got in the basket, little girl?"
    Buffy: "Weapons."
    Xander: "Oh."
  • Red Riding Hood and her Granny in Once Upon a Time are scary in a fight (Granny packs a crossbow), and that's even without the family lycanthropy curse kicking in.

     Music 

    Radio 

    Theatre 

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Ruby Rose, the first of the four main protagonists of Monty Oum's RWBY, is inspired by Red Riding Hood. In the trailer featuring her, she wipes out an army of werewolves using a sniper rifle/scythe hybrid called Crescent Rose, which she built herself.

    Webcomics 
  • Red in Ever After is a particularly Ax-Crazy version of one of these, armed with the second little pig's wood saw. The comic starts with her breaking out of containment, again. And vivisecting some guards.
  • "Red" in No Rest for the Wicked. Hunts wolves (and any other "clever beasts" she comes across, given half a reason) with an ax. Flashbacks reveal that she seemed to be the traditionally innocent young girl of the fairytale before her meeting with the wolf, which broke her so badly she ended up like she is in the current story.

    Western Animation 
  • Red Hot Riding Hood in the Tex Avery shorts is no helpless waif when it comes to fending off wolves.
  • Little Red Riding Hood from Super Why!.
  • The Looney Tunes short "The Trial of Mr. Wolf" has the Wolf tell his version of events, in which Red and Grandma conspire to kill him for his fur coat. Unfortunately for him, his story is so farfetched, that it's clear the jury - despite being composed entirely of wolves - doesn't buy it.
  • The Groovie Goolies musical number "Where You Going Little Ghoul?"
  • In Samurai Jack, Aku makes a hilarious Self-Insert Fic that results in this, and he keeps his Eye Beams in the fic.
  • The Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater episode "Little Red Bunny Hood" moves the story to The Wild West. When Red is attacked by the wolf (who just wants to eat her lunch), she yells, "Eat this!" and rams her bouquet of flowers into his face, which knocks him into a well after he sneezes from them. She then pulls him out in exchange for him helping her. Later, Red and the wolf help foil a bank robbery.
  • The Colombian animated short "Red" portrays the Little Red Riding Hood as a Badass Adorable girl who is able to kill the Big Bad Wolf using only a knife. In fact, the end reveals her hood is red because it is tainted with the wolf's blood.