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creepy things

spleenfiend's picture

Over the weekend, Shayna S, jrf, and I experienced various interpretations of Alice's story.  We watched Neco Z Alenky, possibly the most disturbing Alice movie we could have chosen.  The movie focuses mostly on (disturbing) images and does not feature as much conversation as the book.  The narration, even the dialogue of other characters, is all told by Alice, perhaps to reinforce that it is all inside Alice's head.  Her narration is very repetitive and childlike, while the movie is way too creepy for most children.  Of course, I do not doubt that a child could imagine extremely creepy things.

Reimaginings of Alice often do follow the "creepy" path.  Maybe the original is creepy and it's just less obvious because it's all text, but I read it when I was about nine (maybe I didn't understand it?) and generally think it functions well as a children's story.  I am writing this post as we watch the Disney version, which is similarly "innocent" to the original, but we just played some of American McGee's Alice video game, which features an older Alice, who is committed to an insane asylum, running around with a knife (and later a gun, I've been told).

I don't know exactly why people are often compelled to turn Alice into something that is not for children, but I think this can be relevant to the idea of making a "parody of a parody," since adaptations often take the story but twist it so it's even stranger.

Also, White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane is somewhat relavent, right?


TPB1988's picture

Sense out of Nonsense

I think you would like to see the movie version I saw jrf. I saw Phoebe in Wonderland and it definitely stayed with the nonsense theme in Alice. Characters from the book appear randomly in the movie and quote the book, the main character spits on people and says thing without reason or control, and sometimes people are just running in place.  At the end everyone realizes Pheobe was just sick similar to how Alice realized it was all a dream. I personally think it is a shame to try and make sense of Alice in Wonderland because it only changes what make the book so special and unique.

jrf's picture


I think it's interesting that several of the takeoffs on Alice that we've looked at (even the non-creepy ones) have moved towards what seems like a less nonsensical version of the same characters/events. Many of them make a coherent story out of what was a much more dreamlike and nonsensical sequence of events: in particular, American McGee's Alice and the new Tim Burton movie (as well as Hatter M, a graphic-novel adaptation of the Alice stories where the Hatter is a superpowered warrior who has to venture into the real world to rescue Alice) make the Red Queen into an evil totalitarian against whose rule (and evil playing-card soldiers) Alice must fight. Unlike the original books, these stories have (to varying degrees) narrative coherence, villains and heroes, and consequences that progress logically from protagonists' actions. This does seem to be the logical way to make a parody of a parody-- these adaptations do, in fact, take elements of the original Alice and twist them into something very different, by returning the characters in a nonsense story to conventional story-telling methods. I'm not sure how successful any of these attempts are, though (and at what? if parody is intended to point out the inherent absurdity in something, what does a parody of a parody accomplish?). I'm wondering too about why so many people seem "compelled to turn Alice into something that is not for children"-- does that count, too, as a form of parody by making the story more conventional?

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