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Red Riding Hood

Twisted Fairy Tales
by yo go re

We give Disney hell for turning Grimm's Fairy Tales into softened, watered-down versions of their true selves, but people forget that the Brothers Grimm did the exact same thing: they took old stories and toned them down for mass consumption. It's just that kids in the 19th century weren't coddled like they are today. But take a look at the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Little girl and her grandma are swallowed by a wolf, then rescued by a passing woodsman, right? Not even close.

Red Riding Hood

All we can say is that the Big Bad Wolf didn't know what he was getting into when he attacked this particular young lady.

Before the Grimms came along, Charles Perrault told the definitive version of the tale (and introduced the red hood), in which both girl and grandmother died - the wolf eating them was the end of the story. She-Spawn? And before Perrault, the story involved cannibalism and more blatant sexuality. And it wasn't a wolf, it was a bzou, which is a kind of werewolf. A woman disappears, and in her place is a wolf wearing her clothes? Sounds like a werewolf to me.

Unlike Gretel, who was at least somewhat restrained, Red Riding Hood is in full-on "spikes and straps" mode: she's just One Giant Boot™ away from being a Spawn. Her "clothes" are basically a pair of black stilettos and red leather thigh-highs. There are straps, buckles, studs and spikes all the way up, and they continue on her red full-length gloves. Basically there's no way she could move her arms or legs without injuring herself. In the pre-Perrault stories, the wolf instructed the girl to take her clothes off item by item and throw them on the fire, because she wouldn't need them any more; can't say that's what happened here, but Red is in her little riding hood and little else.

drape Red's cape is actually fairly elegant, so it doesn't match her BDSM suit at all. It's bright red with a darker lining, and long enough that it trails and bunches on the ground behind her. There's a really well-sculpted silver lace pattern across the back, and if you look under her overhanging hood, you'll see a pretty face - granted, it's a pretty face in a black leather dominatrix mask, but that doesn't change the fact that she looks good.

the safe word is ''porcupine'' Even by McFarlane standards, Red Riding Hood is preposed and poorly articulated. Without her cloak, she wouldn't be able to stand - no human would. She's got a strange twist that leaves her center of gravity floating above open space. Her left arm is stretched out in front of her, while her right is tucked behind her back, concealing a knife. She moves at the neck, left shoulder, right bicep, right wrist and both thighs, though at different points.

There is one major problem with the sculpt, and that's something you don't hear about McToys too often: though the cape is clearly designed to rest on the floor, at the same level as her feet, it actually hovers 1/8" or more off the ground because her legs are too long. That may not sound like much, but it's really quite blatant, and rather disappointing.

The paint is not especially good, but it's on par with most McFarlane product. The edges of her clothes get a bit sloppy, which is just exacerbated by the fact that her skin is so milky white and that there's so much of it showing. The silver of the spikes is applied well, at least; if those were messed up, it would really stand out. She's got some kind of tattoo that runs from her shoulder down around her stomach, and then reappears on her hip. Not sure what the pattern is supposed to be - it's all little branching curly queues. Gretel was painted up with candies; what are these supposed to be?

Red's got two accessories: a few hours after eating at Papa John's the aforementioned knife, and the wolf she's using it on. The blade is actually 2 1/4" long, with runes on the sides and a stylized wolf's head on the handle. The end of the handle pops off so you can slip it in her hand. The wolf, meanwhile, is almost a figure unto itself. Red's obviously used her knife to split his belly, and is holding him aloft by the scruff of his neck as his entrails spill out.

The wolf's sculpt is... really, not up to par. It's okay at a glance, but doesn't hold up to any scrutiny. The fur is sculpted haphazardly and the anatomy is all wrong. The wolf is just lucky that, being next to Red, no one's going to be looking at him. It's not bad, just not right. Bigby's guts form a "column" to hold him up in the air, so Red isn't actually forced to support him. Whoever sculpted this (McFarlane never credits his artists, because when they get famous they go somewhere better) is obviously no more familiar with the inside of a wolf than the outside, since what we get is one or two recognizable organs in a big pile of goo. Really nice feature, though? Grandma has spilled out onto the ground as well. Clever.

Red Riding Hood's design is very true to the standard "McFarlane look," and it's apparent that they're counting on people being too entranced by her near-nudity to notice the flaws she has. The original version of the story had the girl rescuing herself from the wolf, but that streak of feminine independence has been lost over the years - Perrault had her die and the Grimms had a woodsman step in to save her. McFarlane's "Twisted Fairy Tales" have returned some of Red's strength to her; it's just a shame that they went for this low-rent stripper style instead of something more realistically empowering.

If you were designing Red for this line, what would you have done? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.


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