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Nightmare Fuel / Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics

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Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics was, unsurprisingly, based on the folktales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The episodes were more faithful to their printed sources than Disney films were, censoring none of the cruelty and very little of the violence and sex, which was strange for a program on Nick Jr.! Appropriately for the title, subtle instances of Grimmification were also common. As such, these episodes were sometimes even scarier than the Disney films:

  • The titular character in "Mother Holle" magically dumps a dark, sticky substance and a live snake onto the lazy stepsister, who is ridiculed by the family cockerel upon returning home.
  • The protagonist of "The Six Swans", Elise, is sentenced to be burnt at the stake for allegedly eating her infant son, the prince. She cannot reveal her origins and reasons, nor defend herself at all, since if she breaks her vows of silence and secrecy her brothers will be stuck forever as swans. The brothers rescue her and bring her still alive son back, but not before she nearly meets her fiery death.
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  • A really creepy demon bargains with the protagonist of "Bearskin."
  • "The Marriage of Mr. Fox" was already inappropriate for children, being centered around Mr. Fox's suspicions of his wife's infidelity. Not only was this theme retained entirely in the cartoon adaptation, but Mr. Fox was accompanied by an equally vulpine imp that only he could see and referred to as a "demon" throughout the episode. At the episode's end, when Mr. Fox questions the fox-thing's identity, it replies, "I'm the real you!" If anything, the cartoon is less family-friendly than the original version.
  • The witch in "Hansel and Gretel" is evil enough to evoke video-game boss battles, gradually becoming less and less human until she transforms into a skeletal, bipedal, sword-wielding goat-woman with bat wings. That won't be easily seen in any other version of the story, along with the magic bird that leads the children to the witch's house in the first place.
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  • The confrontation with the fiendish creature at the end of "Puss in Boots" is rather unsettling, involving a lit fireplace and monstrous shape-shifting in a manner evoking small glimpses of Hell.
  • Villains' tendency to be casually cruel to the protagonists and supporting characters is widespread throughout the series, particularly in "The Bremen Town Musicians," with its scenes of inhumane treatment of animals.
  • "Spirit in the Bottle" opens with a little demon alone in the dark, trapped in a bottle, shouting for help. Then there's a segue into the protagonist and his father entering a forest to chop wood, which seems innocuous until the young boy wanders off, releases the trapped demon, tricks his way out of being eaten, and gets a magic cloth as a reward for freeing the spirit. The cloth turns metal into silver. From there, the story takes a drastic turn from the original, becoming An Aesop about realistic expectations and handling money carefully. The boy's father's dying wish is for him to throw away the magic cloth, which he refuses to do but does by accident. When he runs to the tree where he found the spirit to beg another cloth from him, he falls into a hole. Then there's a scene of another young boy and his father entering the woods...and the episode ends with the protagonist trapped in the bottle, screaming for help.
  • One of the scarier episodes was a cartoon to go with the poem The Duel. It was just unbelievably creepy, the narrator softly reciting how the cat and dog killed each other while the clock ticked in the background.
  • Another terrifying tale has got to be "Bluebeard". When The Bluebeard leaves his mansion and Josephine, his extremely naive new bride, is given the keys to all of the doors, she ends up going to the forbidden door and finds... all of Bluebeard's previous wives that he murdered, their bodies pretty much mounted on the wall. Not only that, but all the white roses change red, the petals fall, and all the fallen petals change into a flood of blood, ala The Shining. And of course when Bluebeard finds out, he coldly states that he has to kill her and chases her throughout the mansion, even when it catches on fire. The picture above comes from the moment when poor Josephine gets into the room itself and sees what's inside it...
  • The adaptation of The Worn Out Dancing Shoes has the very creepy scene where it is revealed that everyone within the strange world the princesses secretly go to and dance in are actually monsters and demons in disguise.
  • "The Crystal Ball" start in a very horror-style, with the ugly witch performing an unholy ritual where she grabs a young princess trapped in her castle through the glass, bites into her neck, drains her of her lifeforce and leaves her a rotting corpse. The princess does recover almost immediately afterwards, but this happens every single night...
  • The adaptation of "Godfather Death" starts out plainly enough with Death being portrayed as looking like an affable man wearing a dark cloak, but when the protagonist ends up upsetting him, he transforms into a nasty goblin-like creature who drags the protagonist into a Hell-like world and threatens to kill him should he ever defy him again. And then it ends up with Godfather Death killing the protagonist by putting out his life candle. This was even banned from America. Even worse was that this was the last episode.

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