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"Disney scared the pants off of me when I was a little kid. Disney needs to scare kids!"
Warren Spector on why he made Epic Mickey the way it is.

Disney is for kids, right? Well, yeah, it is (usually). [2] But that doesn't mean that they can't scare the pants off of you with moments that were meant to frighten said audience. And there's adult Disney works too.

These moments might not be as scary as, say, this, that or the other but still...



  • Epic Mickey is filled with this trope, although some of it is Defanged Horrors.
    • Warren Spector says he wants The Phantom Blot to give kids nightmares. And Nightmare Fuel is, after all, stuff meant to cause nightmares. Could we have an entry that's close to not subjective?
      • Well, fighting in the Phantom Blot's innards during the final fight of the game was rather... unpleasant, to make a bit of an understatement.
  • Disney is teaming up with Guillermo del Toro to make animated horror films a new movie based on The Haunted Mansion.
  • The breakdown from "Der Fuehrer's Face". "Education For Death" is even worse: a short where a little boy becomes a Nazi and lives a crappy dystopia life before dying at the end of the film. The really scary part is how close this was to the reality...
  • Worthless from The Brave Little Toaster.
    • The entire junkyard sequence, especially the magnet. Yes, they managed to turn a junkyard's magnetic crane into one of the cruelest and terrifying villains ever animated.
    • And that Monster Clown from the Nightmare Sequence. And these things were from the guys who founded Pixar.
      • Did you know Jerry Rees, the director of the film, went on to help create what many consider to be the most traumatizing attraction in theme park history; Alien Encounter at Disney World. Killer clowns to killer aliens isn't much of a leap.
    • The Air Conditioner!
  • The Disney Acid Sequence Adventure is a Wonderful Thing from Pooh's Grand Adventure has a giant pyramidal upside down rock in a post apocalyptic wasteland. To be honest, we could probably just throw in the rest of the movie too.
    • Similarly, the "Rock-a-Bye Pooh Bear" episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in which a tornado or hurricane or something strikes and carries everyone away in increasingly convoluted ways, leaving poor Piglet all alone when it passed. Scary as they were being carried away, and scary when it passed and everything was too calm. And it was more or less focusing on Piglet because he's the one who'd be the most frightened in such a situation.
    • There was an odd one that had to do with not being superstitious. For some reason, Tigger figures it's a good idea to try and cure Piglet's superstitiousness (is that a word?) by causing him loads of bad luck. Eventually Piglet becomes so traumatized and paranoid by it all that he ends up sitting on a stool in a room, muttering to himself in Brain Lock.
      • Oh lord, the image of Piglet in that position.
    • The Blustery Day. Oh god, the blustery day. There's a Primal Fear of being blown away in a storm, and boy does this one instill that fear in kids early. There are adults who are still traumatized from this film.
    • Rabbit's freakout in the forest during "Tigger Too" is pretty disturbing. Plus, it was animated by Don Bluth, so...
  • Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
  • The Robert Zemeckis take on A Christmas Carol. The epitome of this actually comes before The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come. The Ghost Of Christmas Present ages rapidly as the night progresses, and begins decaying realistically. The children "Ignorance" and "Want" appear, looking like vampires. They also grow older, morphing into representations of the fates that commonly befall the poor: the boy becomes a knife-wielding thief (who tries to stab Scrooge), then a prisoner behind iron bars; the girl turns into a bedraggled prostitute, then is bound in a straightjacket. All the while, they repeat the statements Scrooge made about the poor. And through the whole thing, Christmas Present is laughing. His skull even laughs. This is one Disney movie you should not take your 5-year-old kids to see.
  • The lesser-known Disney film, The Black Cauldron

 In one of these missing shots, an undead warrior spawned by the title cauldron gorily slices through an unsuspecting villager. In the other, one of the villain's more disposable henchmen gets a dose of cauldron-born mist and dissolves quite messily.

    • A rare animation cel that depicts the latter scene can be viewed here.
  • The Princess and the Frog
    • "ARE YOU READY!!??" Facilier getting dragged away was mildly unsettling, but the SCREAMING FACE ON THE GRAVESTONE OH GOOD GOD!
    • "ARE YOU READY!!??" Princess and The Frog definitely beats Drag Me to Hell in climax scariness. You're welcome.
    • Facilier's shadow minions. The way they move too fast and some of them had freakishly long legs and the screams they use to communicate... *shudder*
      • What makes it worse is how they can just snatch you up and drag you away... the scary part of it is that they don't even have to grab YOU. They just have to make contact with your shadow and you'll just be dragged off, not being able to see what it is that has you.
    • When the shadows run through the town, the ones walking on the shadow of the gate make the irl gate lantern bend. And their voice sounds something like a slowed down howl, sped up laughter, and a shriek combined into one. This is what nightmares are made of.
    • Those demon-spirits most likely took or ATE Dr. Facilier's soul.
    • A bit of subtle and possibly unintentional Fridge Horror: look closely at where Facilier's standing during the opening moments of his Villain Song. The Operator symbol can be (faintly) seen on the wall outside his door.
    • Dr. Facilier stepping on and killing Ray. Disney managed to make killing a bug incredibly cold, brutal, and horrifying. To top it off, Ray was comic relief.
  • What's under Oogie Boogie's rags.
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. The Headless Horseman. Enough said.
    • The last 15 minutes of the Sleepy Hollow segment is all about the mental shock-and-trauma. Not only do we have Brom Bones's ultra-creepy song to put Ichabod on edge, Icky then has to trek home through a Forrest O'Doom where everything seems to want to kill him. And then something wants to kill him. And it does.
      • "And some don't even wear their skin!!"
    • Also, consider this question. How often does Disney let the bad guy win? Chernabog, the various Evil Queens, Scar, Jafar, Frollo, Captain Hook -- they're all defeated in the end. Not Headless Horsey. He won. In fact, he's still there now. Waiting to get you.
  • Judge Claude Frollo: religious fanatic, dirty old man, and genocidal maniac. Also, most other Disney villains have some comical sidekick to lessen the horrifying impact of them being there. Frollo doesn't; he has a black stallion that looks as vicious as he does.
    • Fabulous singer, though.
      • In his Villain Song, when he sings the line, "And let her taste the fires of hell!", you can hear in the background the vision of Esmeralda screaming as she's presumably burned eternally.
      • Take a Third Option: He gets to burn her alive for being a gypsy "witch", and then she burns eternally in Hell. Fun, fun, fun!
      • In his final moments in the film, he looks positively demonic, resembling the Joker from the '89 Batman film (the film from which the last chase scene takes inspiriation). The delivery of his very ironic Famous Last Words : "And he shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!"
      • His Karmic Death can also play a role from both the statue coming alive for a second and screaming while falling to his death with him being burned alive. Especially if you consider the hypothesis that the living statues were the products of Quasimodo's mind. Frollo was an evil bastard the whole time, but at climax of the film, he goes full stop insane and starts hallucinating too -- but instead of helpful, funny characters that Quasimodo projects, he gets a roaring flame monster that accompanies him in his last moments, as he falls to his death.
      • Know what's even better? Instead of a Gory Discretion Shot, we're treated to seeing Frollo fall straight into the molten lead. So we know for a fact that he died horribly. How freaking lovely!
      • The most terrifying thing? People actually existed that were like this man. Somewhere, they still exist today in all religions. And they will exist in the future as well, in any religion. Think about that for a while.
        • As if people like that ONLY exist in religion. Some of the world's most heinous tyrants and murderers were staunch members of purely secular belief systems, such as Communism, and a good portion of them even held similar personalities to Frollo. In summary: evil exists everywhere. Think about that for a while.
    • The hot wax in the climax may have been lava that had DESTROYED THE ENTIRE CITY, mostly due to slight short term memory and Frollo's "I'll find her if I have to burn down all of Paris" line. The movie itself doesn't make any sense as a young kid, which is probably how Disney got away with all that.
    • When Frollo holds baby Quasimodo over the well and says he's sending the baby "back to Hell, where it belongs"
    • Frollo looked positively demonic during the chase leading up to that scene, and it definitely didn't help that the guy practically killed the kid's poor mother.
      • Oh, no practically about that, he really did kill her! And what's worse is that he thought he was guiltless! Sweet dreams!
  • The 3D storm scene.
    • The first time you see the very realistic-looking dogs.
    • The scene where Muntz knocks over the flight caps of all the people he has ostensibly killed.
      • "An old man taking his house to Paradise Falls... (drops a helmet which rolls over to hit Carl's chair) and that's the best one yet. I can't wait to hear how it ends." *insert creepy Slasher Smile here*
      • Oh, and the fact that he wants to murder a child, and we see it explicitly shown, not by trying to drop him off the side of the house, or something, but with a realistic looking rifle. Pixar actually made a kids' film where a creepy old man tries to shoot a little kid.
  • The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter.
    • Alien Encounter was meant for the teen/adult crowd at Disney World. The only people who really got traumatized were the impressionable people who saw it; mainly 5 year old children.
      • The 5 year olds weren't the only ones who were traumatized....
  • The original rumors for Night Kingdom: a villains park.
  • The Big Bad Wolf. In his 1st movie, his single desire is to murder and eat the pigs, and he has an awesome Evil Laugh. In his 2nd movie, he tries to murder and eat Little Red Riding Hood. And in his 3rd movie, he's training his kids to murder and eat the pigs to a song about what you can cook pigs into. Too bad his kids were Retconned into Lil Wolf. In the 3rd movie the Wolf came this close to eating the pigs, having them tied down with apples in their mouths and everything.
  • The Jungle Book:
  • Mozenrath. Just... Mozenrath. Do NOT let the leather pants fool you. The only people in his "kingdom", and his own father figure, are brainless zombies. His power is Cast From Lifespan, yet half the time he gives every indication that he not only finds it worth it but also enjoys it. But the creepiest part was the wheel-of-conquest in "The Citadel." Willing to use a completely random system to decide where to attack? That's probably sicker than the nightmare fuel elements that are purely fantastic. He's both actually good at coming up with strategies (it's just that Aladdin is better), and completely insane and clearly doing it For the Evulz.
  • The Golden Touch.
  • Monsters, Inc.:
    • The Scream Extractor.
    • Randall. At one point he attempts to throttle Sully, and Mike couldn't even tell! If Mike hadn't thrown the "snow cone," Sully would have been killed.
  • Disney's Hong Kong Disneyland is celebrating Halloween in a very, well distinct way...
  • Phineas and Ferb has the Smile Away Reformatory School. Bonus point for it being a literal nightmare.
    • The 2nd nightmare in that episode is also rather scary, as the thought of that happening to Flynn-Fletchers and Perry is not a pleasant thought, and is always relieved to see Perry wake up.
    • The scene near the climax of Summer Belongs To You!, when the gang has crashed on a deserted island and there's nothing left of their plane-turned-boat except the seats and one lone giant rubber band. Watching Phineas suffer a complete mental breakdown as he tries to salvage something, anything from their surroundings that they can use to get off the island and make it back home in time, all the while slowly coming to the realization that he can't just build his way out of this one, that they're in serious trouble this time and, in a way, it's all his fault. Watching him give up and go sit on the shore to watch the sunset--not because he wants to, but because it's the only thing he feels like he can do. Even though he does get better thanks to a pep talk from Isabella a minute later, it's still terrifying to sit through.
    • You might not be scared the first time around since it was part of a much longer ramble, but in "Quantam Boogaloo", we see that in the Bad Future, children are child-PROOFED (as in encased in child-shaped steel containers). It's never brought up again afterwards but just think about it!
  • Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty, why did Disney put the devil in that movie?
  • Cinderella: The scene where the stepsisters rip Cinderella's homemade ball gown to shreds and when the Evil Stepmother locks Cinderella in her room.
    • Dear God. That scene with the dress.
    • The scene when Cinderella escapes from the castle at midnight. Everything just becomes so ominous...
  • Walt Disney's Bambi (1942). Bambi's mother is shot dead by hunters when she and her son are looking for food in the winter snow. A whole generation of kids was traumatized. Now, movies for kids should not be all sanitized pink happy affairs. But the death of a parent is quite disturbing to any six-year old. This one is fairly famous for all the denial associated therewith.
    • It could have been worse. Apparently, they were going to show Bambi's mother lying in a pool of blood, but they decided that would be 'far too traumatizing.
    • The forest fire scene. Even scarier if you grew up in a place were forest/wildfires actually happened often enough to scare you anyway.
    • The scene with quails hiding, only for one of them to panic, fly up into the air and then get shot. We even get to see her body fall to the ground!
  • The Mad Doctor. This is the guy who at first appears kidnapping Pluto using a disguise like the Phantom Blot, which was only erecting 'alarmed' expression onto a chicken's face, but when he reveals his true self, the chicken CRIES. He plans to create a chimera out of Pluto, and the Mad Doctor evilly laughs as he CUTS DOWN PLUTO'S SHADOW WHILE THE DOG IS HOWLING IN AGONY. When Mickey tried to rescue Pluto, Mad Doctor just casually comes up to Mickey like nothing happened, which means, poor Pluto might've been dead, while Mickey has been strapped into a table and was about to cut down with a see-saw... Thankfully, it turned out to be All Just a Dream.
  • David Hall's early concept art for Alice in Wonderland shown in various books and the DVD documentary Reflections On Alice. The Cheshire Cat has a mouth of pointy shark-like teeth and horrifically staring eyes, The baby's morph into the pig is horrific, the Mad Hatter and March Hare chase Alice with a large pair of scissors and a knife respectively, Alice is about to be decapitated by a grinding gear that may as well flay her, and it's all drawn in a horribly grotesquely realistic, ghastly style.
    • That's not even going into Peter Pan... Skeletons line practically every wall, Captain Hook is closer to the book version, the pirates treasure is loaded with booby traps, etc.
  • While various moments in The Great Mouse Detective are potential Nightmare Fuel, Ratigan's savage beating of Basil tops them. We see this previously friendly crime boss tear his cape, run through a maze of gears to get to Basil, knock him from some roof on Big Ben onto the hands of the clock, leap down at him, tearing him with claws, throwing him around, etc... and then there are the sounds of pain Basil expresses.
  • "Someone's head's gonna roll for this!!!"
  • The Fox and The Hound. That confrontation just before that scene with the bear.
  • Lilo and Stitch may not seem to have this, at first glance, but during the movie Lilo is taken away by Cobra Bubbles. Huge Mood Whiplash in the finalized theatrical version. And there is the deleted scene of Jumba's attack that is NF in itself.
  • Donald Duck's breakdown in the "Mickey and the Beanstalk" segment of Fun and Fancy Free. Surrounded by death, no possible source of food beyond the bit of bread and beans, and absolutely no hope. He freaks out and tries to eat his plate and silverware. Mickey and Goofy almost have to strangle him to get him to stop. Then he sees the cow they own and goes Ax Crazy on it in an attempt to kill it. The scariest things about these scenes weren't Donald suddenly going mad or his murderous impulses, but the realism of said portrayal. Donald's insanity is the result of desperate starvation due to an extreme famine, and it's a common fact that desperation due to near-death situations usually brings out the most violent, ugliest sides of human nature.
  • Tangled:
    • Mother Gothel's abuse of Rapunzel. Horrifying.
    • The severe emotional abuse is pretty disturbing--again, children likely wouldn't notice, but as an adult that's learned a few things about (and, unfortunately, witnessed a little of) emotional abuse and manipulation, it's horrifying. Made me give my mother a huge hug and thank her for not being a sadist!
    • Mother Gothel's death; she rapidly ages and crumbles into a pile of dust.
  • The Fox and The Hound. The fight that Tod and Copper get into shortly before you see that grizzly bear!
  • You wouldn't expect the Disney version of a popular story to be the most graphic version, but that's what happened with Mickey's Christmas Carol. When Scrooge (played by Scrooge McDuck, naturally) is in the graveyard scene with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the Ghost shoves Scrooge into his own open grave. The bottom of the grave then begins to open up, and smoke and fire begin wafting up from it. A terrified Scrooge begins scrambling up the sides of the grave to try and get out, but the Ghost doesn't let him. The Ghost then takes off his hood and reveals himself as Big Bad Pete, Mickey Mouse's Arch Enemy. We're then treated to a bone-rattling scene of Pete laughing hysterically as the bottom of the grave completely falls away to become a pit of fire and brimstone, with Scrooge frantically begging for his life and trying to avoid falling into the pit. Most other adaptations typically only have Scrooge dying alone and unmourned, or suffering some sort of Laser-Guided Karma for being such an asshole (the adaptations done by The Jetsons and Animaniacs, for instance) but the Disney one is the only version of the story that actually shows Scrooge at the risk of burning in hell.
    • Actually, there is a 1970 version (Scrooge) that shows Ebeneezer actually in Hell. But Disney's version is way scarier.
  • Anyone seen those signs for a new "Alice in Wonderland 3D" movie? That Mad Hatter looks as though he stares into your soul and watches you.
    • The Red Queen's castle. The moat is filled. With. HEADS.
  • Darkwing Duck: DarkWarrior Duck. Behind the cartoonish comedy, the bright colors and the hammy over-the-top performance and you'll see a man who has become so consumed by his grudges and madness that a big city has to suffer. If the big and scary-looking war machines he uses don't scares you than his new and terrifying appearance, his red eyes and angry-looking face will do it, and if not even that than the fact that he sends people into jail for years for such petty thing as jaywalking will do it. And if his entrance wasn't enough to make it clear what something is wrong with Mallard's head, than Launchpad will make it clear when he tells his story on how he got fired from the sidekick job because he though they "should arrest the crooks before giving them the electric chair". And then you'll ask where Negaduck went, or where the other heroes of St. Canard, including Morgana, went, or why the American government would allow one man having totalitarian control of a city inside their borders, JosephStalin style, without trying to take him out. And it ain't stopping there; when Darkwarrior Duck gets his hands on Quackerjack's time machine, he's planning to use it to go back in time so that he can rewrite the Code of Hammurabi so that even "being cranky in the morning" will be punishable by death. It would make the medieval juridical system look humane in comparison. Or go back right at the time when the evolution of landwalking animals is being started, and then delaying it until he would get "few rules straight". But the moment when Drake Mallard's insanity hits the high point is when he aims a missile launcher right at his daugther just some few inches from her face, with a closeness enough to get himself blown up as well if he pulls the trigger, while angrily rants on her past "criminal tendencies". Sure he don't pulls the trigger but Darkwarrior Duck's Knight Templar personality was so great that it made the Justice Lords look like your friendly neighbourhood patrol police officers. They atleast had the mercy enough to just lobotomize the supervillains, and not even Negaduck was this extreme when he found out his daughter had turned against him.
  • The Haunted Mansion
    • The climax with the fireplace... There was also something about the ringing telephone in the middle of the empty secret corridor
    • The split second shot of Eddie Murphy's face rotting in a mirror.
  • Classic Disney Shorts
    • The Mad Doctor
    • Donald going mad with god-like power in "Trombone Trouble"
    • "The Gorilla Mystery".
    • THE ENEMY from "The Barnyard Battle"
    • "The Haunted House". Especially the reveal of the head skeleton.
    • The Skeleton Dance: Both scenes where a skeleton's face takes up the screen.
    • "Is the richest king in all the world to starve to death?"
    • "The Fire Fighters" features a scene where Minnie is seen coughing up smoke and nearly suffocates.
    • "The Lone Chipmunks" had Chip and Dale subduing Pete my pulling his pinky finger way back.
    • "Plutos Judgement Day": Pluto goes to Hell!!!
    • "Tomorrow De Diet". EEEEEEAAAAAATTTTTT.
    • "Motor Mania". Mr. Wheeler.
  • Dave the Barbarian had Twinkle the Marvel Horse, a deeply disturbed rainbow horse with the mannerisms of Christopher Walken. Most of his clips have been gathered here. His scenes are extremely jarring because they're the only source of dark humor in the series.

 Twinkle the Marvel Horse: But I didn't even get to the part about the shrieking maggots of grief, yet.

  • Cruella De Vil has some pretty scary moments. Maybe the worst is when she drives right at the camera with this face, but there's also the scene where the dogs are hiding in an old shed and she suddenly drives past really slowly, glaring in the window. Turned Up to Eleven when she comes back shortly thereafter, going the other way.

Notes

  1. In the original version? HE'S Satan!
  2. Before you toss bricks at us, adults can enjoy it as well. Disney is Family Entertainment, after all.
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