10 Darkest Implications In Disney Movies


Older Disney movies were known for adapting classic fairytales that were originally well-known for their dark and grim nature. In typical Disney fashion, the film adaptations received a more light-hearted and whimsical edge.



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While Disney movies generally tend to be softer and cheery compared to their source materials, it did not keep them from from displaying horrifying imagery. These visuals were so surreal and shocking that they left a vivid impression on several young viewers. Sometimes the imagery would grow more frightening as viewers matured due to the realization of what the visuals meant for the characters involved.

10 The Evil Queen With A Surprisingly Gruesome End

In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Dwarfs rush back to their cottage upon realizing the Evil Queen has gotten to Snow White. They chase her up a cliff while the Queen tries to push a boulder onto them. Unfortunately, lightning strikes, destroying the surface she’s standing on, and she plummets to her death.

Although viewers do not see her body, the Dwarfs’ expressions imply that whatever remains of her is somewhat frightening. The remainder of the scene is shown in haunting silence as a pair of vultures look on in malice and fly down for the fresh meat lying below before the scene fades.

9 The Lion King Introduced The Concept Of Death Like Never Before

Probably the most intense moment of The Lion King (1994) was when Mufasa’s brother Scar throws Mufasa off a cliff into a wildebeest stampede, causing his death. Mufasa’s son, Simba, finds him afterward, and Scar makes him believe he is to blame.

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While audiences knew the concept of death in Disney movies well before this scene, The Lion King delivers a rare moment in which someone in a Disney movie was explicitly said to be dead. In cementing the emotion, the film shows the body, which is exceptionally rare for any Disney movie, and audiences feel Simba’s fear, confusion, and gradual realization.

At one point in Mulan (1998), Mulan and her fellow soldiers sing a cheerful and upbeat musical number while trekking along a mountain pass. However, the song stops immediately when they walk straight into a burned-down village.

It turns out the village suffered a massacre from the Hun army. Viewers see the bodies of villagers and the Chinese army led by General Li Shang’s father. Mulan finds a little doll amidst the ruins, indicating that not even the children were spared. The whole sequence highlights Shan Yu’s villainy and the horrors of war for the characters and the audience.

7 The Demise Of Bambi’s Mother Was Eerily Devastating

during Bambi (1942), the titular deer flees into a nearby thicket with his mother upon learning that Man is nearby. Bambi successfully escapes, but a gunshot goes off, and Bambi’s mother is nowhere around afterward.

Bambi endlessly and desperately calls out for his mother, only for his father, The Great Prince, to inform him his mother can no longer be with him. Despite the tranquility in his father’s voice, Bambi winds up shocked and in tears. Bambi gets forced to grow up sooner than necessary, and though the death is offscreen, it rocks him and the audience to the core.

6 Clayton’s Demise Was Swift But Frightening

during Tarzan’s (1999) climax, Tarzan finds himself facing Clayton to stop the latter from killing and selling the former’s gorilla family. Eventually, Clayton winds up entangled in a series of vines and goes insane, trying to cut himself loose. Despite Tarzan’s warnings, Clayton refuses to relent.

The vines tie themselves into a noose around Clayton’s neck and proceed to send him and Tarzan falling to the ground. While Tarzan hits the ground and survives the fall, little of Clayton is seen aside from his machete. Viewers see a quick lightning flash of a silhouette suspended midair, indicating that Clayton died by hanging himself.

5 Fantasia Had A Disturbing Insight Into The Life Of Dinosaurs

fantasy (1940) is composed of several stories told through orchestral music. One of the stories is Rite of Spring, which showcases the beginnings of life on Earth, including the life and death of the dinosaurs.

Viewers see the Tyrannosaurus Rex kill a Stegosaurus. The other dinosaurs are powerless and horrified of its power, knowing their end could come at any time. The brutality follows up with the remainder of the dinosaur population slowly dying of dehydration and starvation. These creatures are again powerless to escape their fate. It ends with an unsettling landscape of a valley of dinosaur skeletons.

4 Hellfire Had Creepy Undertones

In The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), all the film’s men fall in love with the gypsy woman, Esmeralda. The villain, Judge Claude Frollo, sings a song called Hellfire, in which he describes fighting his feelings of obsession and lust towards her.

The visuals and the lyrics have graphic themes and undertones that further the movie’s themes and the twisted nature of Frollo’s character. The film is rarely remotely subtle about the matter, and it only gets worse when Frollo sets Paris ablaze to capture her. When Esmeralda finally gets caught, he offers her to be burned or choose him.

3 Gaston’s Leadership Is Notably Realistic

The climax of Beauty and the Beast (1991) has Belle reveal the Beast’s existence to the village to save her father from being committed to the asylum. In a jealous rage, believing Belle prefers a monster over him, Gaston manipulates the town into going to the castle to kill the Beast.

Gaston instantly gets everyone to agree with him, even though no one knew anything about the Beast before this point, much less that he existed. The villagers find the Beast mysterious, and in their words, they fear what they don’t understand. Gaston plays on that fear and makes the townspeople worse than they are.

2 Aurora’s Trance Led To Deadly Consequences

At the start of Sleeping Beauty (1959), Maleficent curses the baby Aurora to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on her 16th birthday and die. Although her father and the other fairies take every measure to prevent this fate, it almost comes to pass.

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Maleficent’s spell makes Aurora lifeless in an already otherworldly atmosphere. What’s more, is the implication Aurora was vulnerable, given she had learned of her true heritage only moments before this event and was struggling to grapple with the truth. Maleficent took advantage of her devastating state, and even though Aurora was somewhat aware of her actions, she couldn’t control herself.

1 The Coachman Got Away With His Crimes

In Pinocchio (1940), the titular puppet gets sent to Pleasure Island alongside a bunch of other boys. The boys are seemingly allowed to engage in all sorts of delinquent behaviors with no one to stop them. However, it turns out that there is a curse on the island that eventually transforms all the boys that misbehave into donkeys.

The man in charge of the island, The Coachman, plans to sell them to various places as slave labor. Pinocchio witnesses a friend gradually lose his humanity. While Pinocchio escapes before the transformation fully kicks in, the Coachman never gets brought to justice, and the other boys are presumably stuck as Donkeys forever.

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