Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thirty Days of Disney Movies, Day Six - Favorite Horror Film(s)

They're coming to get you, Snow White.
Think Disney didn't make horror films? Let's take inventory from one particular movie, shall we:

1. Evil Queen conjures up and converses with a spirit in her magic mirror.

2. Based on information obtained from said spirit in said mirror, Queen instructs her huntsman not just to kill a fair young maiden, but to cut out her heart and bring it back to the castle.

3. Fair young maiden runs away into the forest and, in a hallucinatory panic, believes she is under attack by various varieties of tree monsters and demonic animals.

4. Fair young maiden recovers from her trauma, only to move in with seven deformed men.

5. Evil Queen resorts to black magic to turn herself into a hideously ugly old hag.

6. Hideously ugly old hag stalks fair young maiden in the forest, then poisons her with an apple, resulting in "Sleeping Death."

7. Old hag dies violently in a thunderstorm and becomes vulture food.

8. Charming prince awakens fair young maiden from "Sleeping Death" with a kiss. Zombie maiden then attacks prince and eats his brain.

OK, I made that last part up, but can you see where I'm going with this?

People who think Walt Disney just produced kiddie fare need only look at his earliest feature films to learn otherwise. While not horror movies in the conventional sense, they still contained plenty of horror elements like the above plot lines from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In Pinocchio, young boys are imprisoned and turned into donkeys. In Fantasia, there's an entire segment devoted to disembodied spirits rising from the grave to participate in a fiery satanic ritual. And let's not forget one of the greatest scenes Disney ever put on screen. From 1949'a The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad:

Suspense, terror, a thrilling chase, a headless horseman!

Don't fool yourself. Walt could do some scary stuff.

This is part six of my 30-day Disney movie challenge. Coming up tomorrow, my favorite Disney animated feature.

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