Monster-of-the-Week: The 5-year-old son of a friend of mine recently had his first transaction with the Tooth Fairy, & found $5 under his pillow. Even adjusting for inflation, I think that’s a more generous rate than any of my teeth commanded back in the ‘60s & ‘70s.
Anyway, in honor of this auspicious occasion, & also as an incantation against him having any supernatural troubles down the road, this week let’s pay tribute to Matilda Dixon, the gruesome version of the Tooth Fairy found in the 2003 film Darkness Falls.
This is a rather ordinary piece of shocker moviemaking, but it begins with a wonderful, & seemingly whole-cloth fabricated, legendary backstory—Matilda’s the ghost of a kindly lady in the New England town of the title, who made a custom of giving local children gold coins for their baby teeth until she was hideously disfigured in a fire & then hanged when she was mistakenly suspected of a child murder.
Back from the dead, she’s a cowled, yowling hag in a porcelain facemask who swoops down from above to carry off kids who, having lost the last of their baby teeth (a nice touch of the phobia of incipient sexuality so essential to such tales), are unlucky enough to have caught sight of her. She can only get you, though, if you stray into the darkness—if you stay in the light, she can’t touch you. She cuts quite a memorable figure through this otherwise routine picture.
Here she is:
Here’s a more elegant design for her, regrettably unused in the film: