Grim as Grimms’, just as a fairytale should be. Evil stepmother, careless father, rotten older girls, old toy maker, a witch, house fairies, a storm, an endless night, something of a hero prince (reluctant as he may be).
It’s a child’s horror movie in every sense except that it’s illustrated with some amount of gooey wet red goodness. So, not really for children, but certainly for the child at heart.
The tame, sweet "a-horror-movie-for-everyone" tone must’ve come as a shock to Gordon fans in the late 80's, but looking back on it now, here in the year of his passing, it shows most clearly that like many practitioners of the horror genre, he had a great heart and a humorous gentle spirit that was moved by whimsy.
And those house interiors! Sets to die for.