I loved fairy tales as a kid; couldn't get enough of them. Like most little girls I was somewhat drawn to princess stories, though I never wanted to be a princess. I simply think that I was looking for my own gender to connect to, and princesses were what you found most of the time.
But mostly I was a sucker for the animation. I didn't say I was deep. To this day the one that stands out the most in my memory is "The White Cat" from Dean's A Book of Fairy Tales. I poured over that book and studied every illustration from "Beauty and the Beast" to "The Frog Princess;" those images are an indelible part of my childhood.
I know that book had a huge impact on my grown-up interest in fantasy, though there's always a 'chicken-and-the-egg' kind of question that always swirls around my head when I stop and think about my taste in entertainment as an adult. Was I naturally drawn to fantasy or did I develop an interest just because it was there?
I didn't grow up in a touchy-feely family. I had three older brothers who liked to play the politically incorrect game of "smear the queer" (we don't use that word anymore-- promise) and taught me how to form my fist to throw a proper punch so I'd have a fighting chance when the fists started flying-- as they will in a house full of testosterone. The TV was generally tuned to "The Dukes of Hazzard" or old Bruce Lee movies. It's probably not a coincidence that I don't tend to pick up Oprah Book Club selections. But somehow the the fairy tale books found their way to my room.
We also moved a lot-- almost every year. And libraries were my refuge. I remember reading Madeleine L' Engle and C. S. Lewis in grade school and discovering Piers Anthony and Terry Brooks right around the time I was entering high school. And "Battlestar Galactica" and "Buck Rodgers." Oh, the Saturday afternoons I spent in front of the TV captivated by those shows. This was, of course, prior to the cartoon channel and gave me an opportunity to see that science fiction was pretty darned cool, even when the main characters are wearing spandex.
Our taste in entertainment says a lot about our personality. My brothers don't like the same things I do even though we grew up in the same house. It's safe to say they think I'm weird. But there's no doubt their male sensibilities rubbed off on me. I'd rather watch a shoot 'em up movie over a romantic comedy any day. But I find I'm at an interesting place as an adult. It seems that my generation now owns Hollywood and I'm wondering how much my taste is me and how much just seeped into my brain by osmosis.
Look at the evidence. "Battlestar Galactica" has already had a very successful run as a remake-- and it was gooood. "The Karate Kid" faired well at the box office this year while "Clash of the Titans" quietly slipped under the radar. Less successful entries to the remake bonanza from my childhood have included "The Dukes of Hazzard," "The A-Team," "Charlie's Angels," and "The Bionic Woman." And "Tron Legacy" will bring another 80's movie to the screen once again later on this year. But wait! There's more! "Footloose," "Red Dawn" and "Conan the Barbarian" are already in various stages of development. And I bet I'm forgetting a few other movies to add to the list. I should have made this post about how there are absolutely no new ideas in Hollywood.
But it's interesting to look back at this list of movies. It is a pretty good representation of my taste in cinematic entertainment-- scary and shallow I know, but this is what the filmmakers responsible for this list are banking on. I can tell myself that those fairy tale books shaped me, but what if I really owe it all to "Short Circuit?" (yeah- this one is on the remake list too) Did I really have a say in what I ended up liking? Would I be looking forward to "Eat, Pray, Love" if I had sisters? Would I (shudder) be really, really into "Twilight?" Or was my taste determined by early exposure to "Thundarr the Barbarian?" Who knows?
But I guess it doesn't really matter. I can't change who I am and I kind of like marching to my own drummer-- especially if the drums are being played by a zombie... (Too many viewings of "Thriller" might be responsible for this random thought)