The Lion King | 1994
Every child gets involved in youthful indiscretions. That’s what kids do: get into trouble! I’m sure we all have a distant memory breaking a vase, stealing a cookie… and yes, a handful of you probably created a stampede that killed your father just like Lil’ Simba here.
Mufasa saves his ass, but things could’ve worked out better. If you haven’t seen this scene since the theaters, this’ll probably be the first time you experience it without the shrieks of traumatized children.
You could say Mufasa perished valiantly in the selfless act of saving his son. You could also say his bones and organs were pummeled into sorbet by sentient cloven blades! I think we know which one Walt would prefer.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves | 1937
Disney loves death by gravity. It provides a certainty of demise, yet it allows the animators, and the MPAA, to take breather since the spine-shattering collapse can occur well off screen. This practice dates all the way back to Walt Disney’s very first animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Above: Love that hand drawn lighting
With Snow White already dead, the seven widowed midgets chase the queen (disguised as a hag) up a craggy cliff pass. As she tries to crush them with a boulder… God steps in. Some fans mistake this death as ambiguous, but it’s actually more like four deaths in one!
Above: Lightning Kill!
Above: Fall-To-Your-Death Kill!
Above: Crush Kill!
Even if you’re going to lie to your kids and say she could still be alive, look what else is implied:
Above: Eaten Alive Kill! QUADRAKILL!!!!!!!
Pinocchio | 1940
While we’re on the subject of classic Disney films rendered grotesque by contemporary entertainment: Pinocchio! The wonderfully bizarre film that gave the world Disney’s iconic anthem contains about as much nightmare inducing imagery as today’s crop of Wes Craven remakes. From skipping school, kidnappers who prey on youth, knife threats from a colossal Italian souse, to an entire island where young, unguarded boys go to get drunk and break shit, there’s absolutely zero chance Pinocchio’s getting screened for children any time soon.
Above: Preteen kids who are turned into donkeys, enslaved, sold and NEVER rescued. Let that be lesson, young man
Plus, the film contains so much smoking, the new (fantastically produced!) DVD begins with an anti-tobacco PSA starring half a dozen characters. Yep, even Pinocchio lights up:
One of the most unnerving things people seem to forget about the film is that Pinocchio actually dies! Following their escape from the belly of Monstro, Jiminy Cricket, Geppetto and his pets wash ashore heavily fatigued, but alive. But where’s Pinoc?
Above: Pinocchio is f**king dead!
Christ! The cutest Disney protagonist you ever did see… fingers crooked, face down, lifeless. Nevermind the fact that he spent a substantial duration of the movie breathing underwater, Pinocchio shows all the symptoms of a waterlogged cadaver. Although to be fair, he could’ve died after being struck by a giant whale. It’s rare but it happens.
Above: The End
The Rescuers | 1977
Above: Nature happens… quite a bit, actually
Chicken Little | 1943
Not the Zach Braff film! See that date up there? There was a tiny world event going on that your grandparents may remember as WWII. Never one to back down from heavy-handed propaganda, Walt Disney crafted this war time parable about how a rumor can spin out of control.
Foxy Loxy uses whispered head games on the titular moron to lure an entire society of panicked American fowl out of their gated community, and into a cave where they all believe they’ll be safe.
Once inside, Foxy blocks the entrance while our kindly narrator soothes the audience, saying: “Don’t worry, folks. This all turns out alright… Wait a minute!”
Above: Donald’s in there somewhere
But how did the fox do it? By consulting a generic book of “Psychology.”
Above: “Don’t believe everything you read, brudda”
But we don’t know of any psychology text that’d contain the passages that Foxy Loxy reads aloud, such as “Undermine the faith of the masses in their leaders.” Well, that’s because it was pretty clear stand-in for Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
Der Fuehrer's Face | 1943
That text did appear in a notorious Donald cartoon that same year, which we’d rather just show you than describe since it’s not particularly grisly, and more of a dated parody: