There is just something about watching a Disney film that leaves me with a warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe it is the catchy melodies about falling in love or the neatly wrapped-in-a-bow endings that dare people to dream big, but I have always adored these classic stories. Of course, we should all know by now though that not everything is what it seems. Even though they paint a fantastic picture by the end of the story, watching these films as an adult, I realize there are some seriously dark elements in Disney movies beneath the surface.
Since a lot of Disney films are adapted from the Brothers Grimm folk tales, there are already some seriously dark origins to our favorite narratives. While Walt Disney did a fairly good job at dressing up the cruelty and violence in some of the original versions, even pixie dust and magic could not cover up the problematic issues in some of these stories. You may not have realized it before, but, even though these films tell their stories in a light way, their themes can get pretty bleak at times. From deceased parents to prisoners held against their will, here are just a few of those movies you did not realize were actually super dark.
Based on Greek mythology, there are obviously a lot of dark elements present in this story already, but the most freighting one of all is the fate of Meg's soul. Trying to save the life of a former lover, who turned out to be unfaithful, Meg quite literally sold her soul to the devil. Not only did it leave her as Hades' minion for the rest of her life, but it also left her completely bitter towards the concept of love.
We all know Cinderella had it rough after her father died. Not only was her stepmother wicked, but she was also pretty abusive, when you think about it. As if making her live in a dusty attic wasn't torture enough, this woman let her daughters terrorize Cinderella to the point that Cinderella actually started to believe she was worthless.
3. Beauty and the Beast
Two words: Stockholm syndrome. While I believe in trying to see the best in everyone, no one can deny that Belle quite literally falls for her captor, who is not only super snarky and rude, but half animal.
4. Peter Pan
I think Once Upon a Time told it best: Peter Pan is actually the villain of this story. Hello, the boy basically drugs children with pixie dust and kidnaps them from their homes. And how come the only parental supervision in Neverland is a pirate set on killing all the children? That certainly does not sound like a place I would like to visit.
5. The Lion King
Not only is the death of Mufasa one of the saddest in Disney history, but Scar leads his own nephew to believe he was the cause of it all. The whole plot is just all kinds of twisted, which makes sense since it was loosely based off of William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
6. The Princess and the Frog
Honestly, even as an adult this movie spooks me out. Dr. Facilier may seem like a cooky villain, but, when the voodoo spirits drag him into their world at the end of the movie, I actually hid under my covers. How is this movie rated G again?
7. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Quite possibly one of the darkest Disney films to ever exist. Seriously, how did I even make it through this film when I was younger without crying? Not only is Frollo a terrible person for keeping Quasimodo locked away for 20 years, he truly believes his actions are justified. And don't even get me started on his lustful feelings for Esmeralda, or that time he locked a family inside their house and then set it on fire.
Just goes to show that not all Disney films are full of warm, happy feelings and musical numbers. Some are actually pretty dark and scary.
Images: Walt Disney Pictures; Giphy (7)