While Walt Disney Animation Studios has made a degree of attempting to show classes to youngsters in as palatable a format as doable, there are nonetheless just a few harsh realities to life. Even Disney animated motion pictures know they’ve to handle a number of the darker features of residing.


There have been a number of darkish motion pictures within the Disney animated canon over time. While numerous motion pictures have had grim moments, these motion pictures have extremely darkish themes. They are actual and educate classes in their very own manner, even when it feels a bit grim within the making.

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Updated on September twenty third, 2022 by Scoot Allan: Disney motion pictures normally carry followers a sure stage of consolation on attempting days, which is now even simpler due to Disney+. Childhood favorites could be accessed on-demand for longtime followers or for these trying into darkish Disney conspiracy theories. Of course, followers may be stunned by a number of the darkest Disney motion pictures which are accessible, which nonetheless handle to terrify and unsettle followers years after they have been created.

20 The Dancing Skeletons Still Creep Fans Out Today

The Skeleton Dance

Disney first launched “The Skeleton Dance” in 1929 as one in a collection of 75 animated shorts known as Silly Symphony that was launched over the span of a decade. Walt Disney directed the quick which was animated by Ub Iwerks, who was additionally the designer behind Mickey Mouse.

“The Skeleton Dance” featured 4 residing skeletons as they danced round a graveyard and made music, which does not sound too darkish. However, on the time it was an extremely spooky story that regularly pops up once more round Halloween resulting from its macabre imagery.

19 Belle Is Forced Into A Toxic Relationship With The Beast

Beauty And The Beast

An animated Disney movie that acquired a live-action adaptation, Beauty and the Beast is a beloved traditional which encompasses a darkish premise. Like most Disney motion pictures, there is a love story current within the movie. However, it is problematic as Belle has been taken prisoner by the titular Beast and mainly pressured right into a poisonous relationship with the monstrous character.

Beauty and the Beast additionally options some severely darkish curses that have an effect on extra than simply the Beast. His total mansion of servants have been additionally trapped as home items in what virtually grew to become an everlasting destiny worse than loss of life.

18 A Dying Kingdom Of Animals Is Reigned Over By A Greedy King

Robin Hood

Disney’s tackle Robin Hood from 1973 is normally fondly remembered by followers each for its music and the charming lead fox who robs the wealthy to offer to the poor. However, the animated film additionally did not draw back from the tough realities of Prince John’s brutal taxation of Nottingham.

When the city’s taxes are tripled in Prince John’s retaliation in opposition to the rising legend of Robin Hood, the animal townsfolk are proven of their struggling. They are even arrested and held for execution together with Friar Tuck, which additional highlights a number of the darkish themes and imagery that actually made Robin Hood’s heroism shine brighter.

17 The Aftermath Of A Shocking Massacre Is Shown On Screen

Mulan

The authentic animated Mulan from 1998 was a celebrated hit for Disney that acquired a live-action remake in 2020. The film adopted the titular Mulan who was pressured to disguise herself as a person in an effort to take her father’s demanded place within the Chinese military.

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Mulan has been hailed as Disney’s first feminist movie by some followers, nonetheless, it nonetheless options a few surprising scenes that highlighted the mindless massacres of the invading Hun military. A musical quantity is abruptly lower quick because the Chinese military marches right into a devastated city, stopping the film in its tracks with the darkish realization of conflict.

16 A Sweet Friendship Quickly Turns Dark & Deadly

The Fox And The Hound

Disney launched a candy new friendship between the titular characters of Disney’s 1981 animated film The Fox and the Hound. An orphaned fox named Tod is taken in by a sort widowed farmer whereas her hunter neighbor brings house a brand new pet named Copper.

The two rapidly change into quick pals though as they grow old the dynamic between the 2 pals is influenced by their roles as hunter and prey. A closing showdown between the 2 previous pals culminates with a violent and horrifying assault by a bear that positively brought about quite a lot of younger viewers to cry out in worry.

15 Dark Demons & Mischievous Magical Brooms Are Set To Classical Music

Fantasia

When Fantasia was first launched in 1940 it was toured throughout the nation, and followers received to see plenty of animated shorts set to classical music that took the premise of Silly Symphony and turned it right into a feature-length film. The most memorable shorts from Fantasia have been two of the darkest — the primary being “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” that includes a newly redesigned Mickey Mouse.

Mickey tried to hurry up his cleansing duties utilizing magic, nonetheless, issues rapidly received uncontrolled. However, it was the debut of Disney’s darkest demon Chernabog within the “Night on Bald Mountain” section that actually stood out. It made an impression each for its stunning animation and the terrifying introduction of Disney’s satan as he known as for the sacrifice of the undead souls underneath his command.

14 A Terrified Ichabod Crane Battles The Horrific Headless Horseman

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow

One of the sooner movies within the Disney animated canon, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was launched in 1949. This movie is not like others within the canon in that it technically is 2 smaller movies paired collectively as segments of the longer title The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

While the primary section offers with Mr. Toad and The Wind within the Willows, the second section adapts the quick story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” The section has the identical title as its well-known supply materials, in addition to almost the identical ending. Ichabod believes he’s a sufferer of the Headless Horseman and isn’t seen once more.

13 The Majority Of Andy’s Toys Are Almost Unceremoniously Incinerated

Toy Story 3

While Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story franchise excelled at utilizing mature themes to enchantment to younger followers and adults alike, there have been nonetheless fairly just a few darkish moments throughout the collection. 2010’s Toy Story 3 was particularly fraught with darkish Disney scenes.

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The toys have been pressured to cope with their doable subsequent step of their lives as their proprietor Andy headed off to varsity — which handled the darker aspect of rising up. The toys additionally confronted an virtually sure grisly finish in a rubbish incinerator. With no hope in sight, the beloved characters embraced one another and awaited their demise in one of many Disney movie’s tensest moments.

12 The Monsterous Horned King Wants To Raise An Army Of The Undead

The Black Cauldron

1985’s The Black Cauldron might have been thought-about a flop when it was launched, however there is a new technology of followers who’ve revisited the animated film and admire its darker themes and sword-and-sorcery storytelling. The film’s younger heroes embark on a quest to cease one of many Disney universe’s most terrifying villains, Horned King.

His targets to lift a military of the undead utilizing the magical Black Cauldron are simply one of many causes the film was hit and earned Disney’s first-ever PG-rating. This occurred even after just a few scenes have been eliminated or recut to additional tone down its violence and darkness.

11 Children Are Kidnapped, Transformed Into Donkeys, & Enslaved

Pinocchio

Less than a decade earlier than The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad grew to become the second film within the Disney animated canon, Pinocchio, launched in 1940. This film appears light-hearted on the floor, however viewers who watched it as youngsters — and even those that have seen it as adults — acknowledge there’s a a lot darker aspect to Pinocchio.

Pinocchio will get kidnapped and offered, he will get locked in a cage and threatened that he’ll be hacked into items, and commits a good variety of sins. The worst half, nonetheless, might be the youngsters who get was donkeys and offered, apparently by no means to be turned again.

10 A Dark Tale Of Colonialism Is Romanticized & Doesn’t Tell The True Story

Pocahontas

While Pocahontas is a beloved animated film, it additionally holds a little bit of a darkish place in Disney’s historical past. 1995’s Pocahontas was the primary animated movie based mostly on an precise historic occasion. However, it did not signify the story correctly. The animated movie explored Britain’s colonial historical past and the darkish relationship between American settlers and the Indigenous inhabitants.

However, it does so in a manner that glorified the story as a love story when it was something however. The actual Pocahontas was far youthful and sure pressured into her marriage and journey to Europe. Pocahontas touches on this darkish chapter of historical past even when it fails to current the fact of the colonial period.

9 Snow White Is Nearly Killed For Her Beauty

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs

The very first film in Disney’s animated canon was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Released in 1937, it is arguably one of many darkest motion pictures within the canon. The movie manages this even supposing the story was made considerably much less darkish from its authentic fairy story supply materials.

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However, Snow White and the White Dwarfs nonetheless options the titular Snow White on the incorrect finish of an assassination try. The Evil Queen sends the Huntsman to kill Snow White and return together with her coronary heart in a field. When he can’t do it, the Evil Queen takes it upon herself to deceive Snow White and persuade her to eat poison and die.

8 Two Orphans Struggle With Painful Real-Life Problems & An Alien

Lilo & Stitch

While the underrated Lilo & Stitch is a more moderen entry to the Disney canon, it’s probably the greatest movies in your entire franchise, in addition to one of many darkest. Lilo and her older sister Nani have been orphaned, and Nani (solely nineteen years previous) has change into the only real guardian of seven-year-old Lilo.

While Nani is attempting her greatest to lift Lilo, each of them are struggling, and this film depicts actual life in virtually painful element. This is a part of what makes this film so good. Nani does something and all the pieces she will to assist Lilo, and folks nonetheless don’t suppose it’s sufficient. However, ultimately, they’re in a position to overcome all of this with some additional assist.

7 Animals Are Killed On Screen & The Villain, Clayton, Is Hanged

Tarzan

Like Pinocchio, the 1999 movie Tarzan has just a few stand-out darkish moments that youngsters nonetheless bear in mind years after they watched the film for the primary time. When Sabor, the leopard who killed Tarzan’s dad and mom, returns to assault Tarzan’s household after he’s grown, he fights and kills her.

This intense battle sequence ends with Tarzan lifting Sabor’s physique and throwing her corpse at Kerchak’s ft. Clayton even will get his neck caught in a vine and his shadow is seen hanged on display screen. This film has quite a lot of darkness beneath all its colour.

6 Alice Is Threatened With Violent Decapitation Numerous Times

Alice In Wonderland

Disney tailored Lewis Carroll’s common surrealist 1865 novel in 1951 with Alice in Wonderland. The animated adaptation tells a fan-favorite story a couple of younger woman who falls down a rabbit gap right into a dream world full of speaking animals and magical characters. Alice in Wonderland explores an absurdist world that created a sense of unease in viewers.

It additionally featured just a few darkish and murderous moments. After Alice meets the dreaded Queen of Hearts, she’s threatened quite a few occasions with violent decapitation and compelled to run for her life from the Queen’s military of equally murderous taking part in playing cards. It’s a fever dream of a youngsters’s story that appears to get darker with every new retelling.

5 Frightening Imagery Is Used To Depict The Harsh Reality Of The Circus World

Dumbo

While, ultimately, all the pieces works out for the eponymous Dumbo and his friends, it’s a darkish, onerous highway to get there. This 1941 film sees Dumbo’s mom, Mrs. Jumbo, doing something she will to assist her son — together with scolding and spanking those that ridicule him.

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This motion leads to the circus troupe imprisoning Mrs. Jumbo, isolating Dumbo, and forcing him to attempt to navigate life on his personal. Even when he visits his mom, they will’t see one another, and may solely tangle their trunks collectively.

4 Bambi’s Mother’s Death Has Been Devastating Children For Decades

Bambi

The 1942 Disney animated movie Bambi is among the many most notably darkish movies within the Walt Disney canon. The film is nicely accomplished and has some really surprising, devastating moments. When Bambi was youthful, he almost was shot and killed by Man.

However, the Great Prince of the Forest (and Bambi’s father, unbeknownst to Bambi on the time) saved him and introduced him again to his mom. However, that winter, Man comes again. He shoots and kills Bambi’s mom. This second is devastating in one million methods and has caught with folks for almost a century. Bambi and different related tear-jerkers have gone in historical past.

3 Cruella De Vil Tries To Steal Cute Puppies To Turn Them Into Fur Coats

101 Dalmatians

Many viewers have been revisiting 101 Dalmatians following the discharge of the live-action prequel spin-off Cruella. Released in 1961, 101 Dalmatians has a few moments that sting; for instance, the second when plainly one of many puppies is stillborn —a scene burned into numerous youngsters’s minds.

The worst of all of it, though, is how horrible Cruella is all through the movie. No much less may very well be anticipated from someone named Cruella de Vil, however she is actually vile. She spends your entire movie doing something and all the pieces she will to steal puppies, kill them, pores and skin them, and put on them. It’s positively one among Disney’s darkest plots.

2 Scar Kills His Own Brother & Devastates The Pride Lands

The Lion King

There are many, many causes The Lion King is without doubt one of the darkest motion pictures in your entire Disney animated canon. The Lion King is without doubt one of the greatest Disney motion pictures and depicts Scar (the brother of Mufasa, King of the Pride Lands), plotting to kill his royal brother. Worse than this, he forces Mufasa’s son Simba to be his bait.

This makes Simba suppose he’s answerable for his father’s loss of life and forces himself into self-exile — though Scar does attempt to kill him first. Scar and his hyenas have overt Third Reich overtones. When Simba returns to the Pride Lands and finds everybody dying, youngsters have been horrified, and nonetheless are to at the present time.

1 The Villainous Frollo Is Disney’s Darkest Villain Of All Time

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

Arguably the darkest movie in your entire Disney animated canon is the 1996 movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The film opens with Frollo killing Quasimodo’s mom and trying to kill an toddler Quasimodo earlier than he is pressured to cease. He makes an attempt to atone for the sin of murdering Quasimodo’s mom by taking the boy in.

Instead, nonetheless, he spends his entire life protecting Quasimodo locked up and abusing him. In addition, Frollo assaults Esmeralda and begs the Virgin Mary to kill Esmeralda if he can’t have her. He even brutally makes an attempt to burn her on the stake, proving The Hunchback of Notre Dame is Disney’s darkest animated film.

Next: Disney Animation: 10 Darkest Villain Deaths In The Films



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