Horror's next bad thing: The tooth fairy

| Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Just when it seems like we have been haunted by everyone and everything in the horror genre: Here comes “The Haunting of Helena.”

In what is billed as “a terrifying twist” of a previously innocent childhood fantasy, the horror film features a young girl haunted by the tooth fairy.

It all makes perfect sense to director Ascanio Malgrini, whose film came out direct to DVD and digital Sept. 17.

Malgrini insists in email from his Italian home: “I always thought this to be very creepy, the idea of someone sneaking in my room during the night to take my baby teeth. It scares me to death.”

The tooth fairy, made quite hideous in the film, makes for an effective horror-film subject in his eyes.

“She's a character who lives hidden in the deepest darkness,” Malgrini says. “If she had nothing to hide, well, she wouldn't hide at all.”

Then, there is the idea of what happens to the teeth children leave under their pillows. For a worldwide gig, those things really stack up.

“We always wondered about what she could ever do with the teeth she bought, why does she want them? What does she use them for?” Malgrini asks. “Sometimes bedtime stories for children, with their apparent naivete, hide more disturbing questions,” he adds.

Malgrini suggests that tooth-fairy victims “could be in the millions” and they use dentists as their “devoted servants” to keep the tooth-removal industry going. As for those parents who tell their children there is no tooth fairy — the director insists they are not to be trusted.

“They say this just because they are forced by the real fairies, who otherwise would rip out their teeth using the pincers,” Malgrini says.

As for Malgrini's next project, he jokes that he's going to take on another childhood icon.

“We are setting up a movie where a 7-year-old child captures Santa Claus, ties him to a chair and slowly tears him to pieces with a toy chainsaw,” he says. “When the parents arrive, it's too late, and the only thing left to do is to stuff him like a turkey and put him in the oven. Perfect movie for Christmas Eve.”

Bryan Alexander is a staff writer for USA Today.

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