The final girl on the freeway: Adaptation and appropriation of a fairy tale

  • James Kloda School of Anthropology and Conservation University of Kent
adaptation, identification, intertextuality, spectatorship, transgression


Fairy tales and their adaptations transgress established social, cultural and temporal boundaries. This paper examines Matthew Bright’s Freeway (1996), an adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood that deliberately mirrors this transgression by setting the film within the generic type of horror cinema. In choosing this mode, Bright partly restores the fairy tale to its original purpose, once existing as a folktale full of high melodrama, but goes further, criticising the text of ‘known pattern’ and overhauling it to a story in which an innocent female under attack restores her own equilibrium: in effect, deploying the ‘final girl’ trope that is common in slasher movies. Freeway uses its adaptive status to radically reinterpret the source text, fomenting its oppositional assault through a genre most suited to subversion. Through textual analysis, the paper examines how Bright harnesses the potential of the cinematographic medium through a double interaction, one that not only allows a coded opening of the internal, intertextual space of the adaptation, but also an antagonistic encounter rooted in the context of horror cinema.


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How to Cite
Kloda, James. 2016. “The Final Girl on the Freeway: Adaptation and Appropriation of a Fairy Tale”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 11 (2), 393–411.