Schwabe, Claudia. Craving Supernatural Creatures: German Fairy-Tale Figures in American Pop Culture. Wayne State UP, 2019.


  • Ethan Taylor Stephenson


The fantastic, the mythical, the monstrous are everywhere in North American popular culture today, appearing in films, television, social media, video games, toys, and clothing. Consumers are more fascinated than ever with the supernatural, and companies are as eager to monetize and profit from it. Claudia Schwabe’s study accounts for this phenomenon in late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century film and television, tracing how the “evil” and “monstrous” characters of Romantic German fairy tales are reimagined for postmodern audiences in ways that reflect our evolving views on alterity and diversity. She maintains that through the adaptation of characters like the automaton, the golem, the doppelganger, the evil queen, the Big Bad Wolf, and the dwarf, we are “mov[ing] toward a celebration and exaltation of fantastic Otherness, the anthropomorphization of and identification with supernatural beings, and the rehabilitation of classic fairy-tale villains and monsters” (4). What were once sources of the uncanny, the dangerous and untamed, the villainous, and the grotesque are “rehabilitated” in postmodern, North American media.