What is the golden rule? Why do people worry if they do bad things that bad things will happen to them? There is a saying what comes around goes around but what does that mean? The fear of karma is real and keeps some people walking on eggshells. There are many who do not believe in karma even though it can be traced back to the bible, in the book of Luke it says “do to other as you would have them do to you” (6:31). Karma can come in many forms but for this paper karma comes in the form of a hideous vengeful banshee known as the Tooth Fairy. This vengeful sprit wreaks havoc on the town who wronged her. The Tooth Fairy has always been an iconic symbol of childhood and represented as a good fairy like those seen in Walt Disney’s fairy characters, until the 2003 horror, mystery & suspense movie Darkness Falls introduced a quite different type of Tooth Fairy that we had grown up to know. This evil specter has taken the very wanting tradition of exchange of teeth for money to a whole new level. When children of the town Darkness Falls lose their last baby tooth or milk tooth as referred to in some other cultures, this evil Tooth Fairy comes to collect their teeth and for those who so happen to awake and look upon her face will not only lose their tooth but their life. As stated in Cohens thesis VII “this thing of darkness I acknowledge mine”, society creates our monsters as this dark fairy is the product of a towns sinful act of murder of an innocent woman (Cohen 20). Fueled by revenge for her murder and an evil not known to us, this murderous Tooth Fairy takes her revenge out on the town’s children for generations to come. The monstrous tooth collector in my opinion makes an excellent monster that would frighten any child but since this evil specter only kills the children of Darkness Falls, I feel this tooth fairy has limited herself to the rest of the world making her less menacing. The Tooth Fairy in a black cloak and porcelain mask that covers her hideous burnt face is an image that would give any child nightmares, but what would be more frightening than the realization that this story of the Tooth Fairy is based on true events.
What great monster doesn’t originate from legend? Darkness Falls evil Tooth Fairy originates from the legend of Matilda Dixon. The movie was inspired by events that occurred over the last 150 years in the small town of Port Fairy, Australia. The biography film of Matilda Dixon explains in short: her life in Port Fairy and events that lead to her death, also the cover up of her murder thereafter. Matilda was born December 24, 1803 and worked in a bakery. Matilda would bake a special cake for the children in exchange for their baby teeth earning her the name the Tooth Fairy, until one day in 1840 Matilda had an oven fire which burned most of her face and body. Matilda wore a porcelain mask on her face and refused to go out into the daylight because of the sensitivity to light. She did not let kids come over to her home and Matilda did not bake anymore but she still gave the children gifts for their baby teeth. Matilda would wait for the town to sleep before going out into the night with cloak and mask. The children left their teeth in handkerchiefs tacked to their doors and Matilda would leave small amounts of change in exchange for them. The towns people thought this behavior was weird but allowed it because of Matilda’s kind nature. Until September 23, 1841 two children went missing and Matilda was blamed and hung to death by a drunken mob only later to realize that the children were safe at home. Cohen specifies in monster thesis IV that “ the monster is difference made flesh, come to dwell among us”, this helps us to understand that the people saw Matilda as being different therefore once the a child went missing she was easily made into an insidious child murder (Cohen 7). Matilda cursed the town with her dying breath saying, “what I took before in kindness I will take forever in revenge”. The towns people buried her along with their secret, but like all secretes they are revealed sooner or later.
The Movie Darkness Falls is exactly what a horror movie should be; fun, scary, fast paced, with plenty of jump moments. The movie is enjoyable to watch with your children (PG-13 of course) and I would recommend it to those who enjoy the genre. The movie starts off with a back story of the legend of Matilda Dixon, then fast forwards to modern time were a boy named Kyle Walsh is in a restroom retrieving his last baby tooth from his bloody mouth. Later that night Kyle practices the tradition of leaving his tooth on his end table for the Tooth Fairy. Kyle is asleep when the Tooth Fairy enters the room. Kyle accidentally wakes up to see the Tooth Fairy floating above his bed wearing a black cloak and a porcelain mask. The Tooth Fairy lets out a shriek like a banshee from the old Irish mythologies and tries to kill Kyle from this time on. Kyle manages to escape but his mother sees the frightening facial image in the mirror while going to investigate his room and is killed instantly by the tooth procuring dark fairy. From that point on he is considered crazy by the towns people. Years later, Kyle must return home to confront his past, and save his childhood sweetheart’s son from an unrelenting evil that has plagued the town of Darkness Falls for over 150 years.
Even if this wicked tooth fairies’ actions of revenge were justified her hideous appearance alone instantly categorizes her as a monster and her less than appealing looks leaves her burnt, decomposing body not to be desired. Cohen’s monster thesis I tells us that “the monster
signifies something other than itself”, this allows me to believe that burnt body of Matilda Dixon is a representation of the Salem Witch Trials? In the late 1600’s 19 innocent women were found guilty of witchcraft and executed by hanging others were burned at the stake. Matilda was accused of wrongdoing and hung because the people saw her practices weird. Even though it is not stated in the movie it could be said that the town’s people saw the strange behavior of collecting baby teeth as a form of witchcraft. Different cultures have their beliefs in tooth disposal as stated in Donald Capps academic journal The Tooth Fairy “parents believed that it was very bad for them to let their child’s baby tooth fall into the hands of a witch or an evil spirit because, if this should happen, the witch or spirit could gain a magical power over the child”(Capps and Carlin 269).
The Toothy Fairy has not been associated with one specific look but has appeared in countless shapes and sizes. According to Cohen’s thesis III “the refusal to participate in the classificatory orders of things is true of monsters,” therefore the tooth fairy is monstrous (6). In Joyce Graham’s book The Tooth Fairy she describes the Tooth Fairy “as a creature with two dark eyes, shiny like green-black carapace of a beetle, lurking under a matted shock of black hair and tangled elfin locks with a mouthful of blue light, teeth like sharpen daggers and standing about four feet”(Graham 17). In the short film Tooth Fairy by Joe Harris he tells of a Tooth Fairy that does far more wicked things than just take baby teeth left for her in the night. The Tooth Fairy in this film scratches out the boy’s eyes for peeking while in the middle of her toothy duties. However, the Tooth Fairy is represented I can agree that it shares the characteristic of a monster.
Overall, the Tooth Fairy horror genre was entertaining and enjoyable to watch. The Darkness Falls take on the Tooth Fairy myth melded with other folklore created an image of true monstrosities. The towns people of Port Fairy insidious act of murder of an innocent woman and the karma that took form an evil tooth banshee bent on revenge. Researching the different cultures and traditions of tooth lore and applying Cohens Monster Culture (Seven Theses) to my research has open my eyes to a whole new world of understanding why these monsters exist and continue to regenerate through time, also what frightens us most is not what we see but the unknown of what lies in the darkness waiting.
Capps, Donald, and Nathan Carlin. “The Tooth Fairy: Psychological Issues Related to Baby Tooth Loss and Mythological Working Through.” Pastoral Psychology, vol. 63, no. 3, June 2014, pp. 265–280.
This article focuses on the Tooth Fairy legend that emerged in the United States and Britain in the nineteenth century. Legends that are presented from around the world tell of rituals dealing with the loss of baby teeth. I will use information from this article to argue about the development of the Tooth Fairy in different cultures.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture: Seven Theses.” From Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. 3-25.
The Monster Culture (Seven Theses) gives examples and explains how the world has created monsters throughout the centuries. The seven theses are break down characteristics, actions and images of the monsters of society and what propels them to live on in our culture. I will incorporate information from the thesis to evaluate the tooth fairy in my monster evaluation.
“Darkness Falls (2003).” YouTube, uploaded by You Tube Movies, Provider Sony Movies & Shows, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhN30C8ZpLw.
This movie is about Matilda Dixon (aka The Tooth Fairy) exacting her revenge on the town of Darkness Fall. Darkness Falls is based off the legend of Matilda Dixon, but instead of occurring in Australia where the legend originated the story takes place in the United States. Matilda comes for the last baby tooth of the children of Darkness Falls and if they look upon her face, she will take their life. I will evaluate this avenging tooth fairy that Matilda has become for my monster evaluation.
Joyce, Graham. The Tooth Fairy. Great Britain, Signet Books, a division of the Penguin group, 1996.
This is a short story about a young boy growing up in England in the 1960s. The boy is haunted by a demonic Tooth Fairy who gets him into all sorts of trouble. The description and my perception of Graham Joyce’s evil Toothy Fairy will be incorporated in my monster evaluation.
“movieweb Darkness Fall The Legend of Matilda Dixon MovieWeb com.” YouTube, uploaded by Samuel Thompson, 8 April 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GYSf32mJ_Y&t=33s.
Legend of Matilda Dixon gives a short biography of her life in the town of Port Fairy, Australia. Interviews with people that live in Port Fairy tell tales of how Matilda would give gifts to the children in exchange for their baby teeth, earning the name the Tooth Fairy. One day two children went missing and an angry drunken mob blamed Matilda. Matilda was hung by the neck by the mob only to find later that the children were fine at home in their bed. The legend of Matilda Dixon will be used in monster evaluation as an origin of the monstrous tooth fairy.
“Tooth Fairy (2019) Trailer.” YouTube, uploaded by Wicked Thrilling Freaks, 29 November 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDbQCD_p7xo.
The Tooth Fairy is a supernatural horror film released in Britain 2018. The Tooth fairy is a tale about an evil tooth fairy who rips out teeth. The images and actions of the evil tooth fairy will be used as a primary source of my monster evaluation.