Whether it's Ursula or the Evil Queen or Maleficent, everybody has that one — or maybe even two — Disney villains that gave them nightmares when they were growing up. But as you get older, you start to realize that many of those Disney villains you absolutely feared as a child are just as scary as an adult. In some cases, even more so. While you may no longer be scared of a sea witch stealing your voice or a poisonous apple that will knock you out for day, you will never stop being scared of psychopaths, sexists and puppy murderers.
Taking a closer look at the bad girls and guys of Disney when you're all grown up, you start to see their more human qualities. The personality traits that strike fear in you as an adult because they aren't made up in a fairytale, but instead exist all around you. It's those characters, the ones whose evilness doesn't seem so farfetched, that keep you up at night now because you understand what real fear is. So here are the 12 Disney villains that scare you more as an adult than back when you were a kid, way back before you understood how much scarier the real world is than anyone Walt Disney could have created.
1. Gaston in Beauty And The Beast
Instead of being so worried about the Beast, the little village that Belle called home should have been much more concerned about the goings-on of Gaston. This guy really couldn't take a hint. He threw Belle an engagement party, even though she never agreed to marry him. When he finally realized his marriage proposal had been refuted by Belle, he throws her dad in jail and wages a war to kill the Beast. As an adult, you start to see Gaston for who he really was: a dangerous predator.
2. Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians
This puppy-napper is definitely public enemy No. 1 for any PETA member. Consumed with making a jacket out of puppies — their fur was far softer than an older dog's, according to Cruella — she was already evil incarnate for any little kid. But as you get older, you start to feel like Cruella would be one of those people who poisons feral cats or stray dogs that bother her. With all of her money, there's also the unfortunate fact that she may be able to get away with it all just by writing a check. If she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will.
3. Sid Phillips in Toy Story
As a kid, no one would want to be friends with Sid because he would likely ruin all of your favorite toys before the first play date was even over. But, once you get a little older, you realize that Sid's penchant for ripping off the heads and limbs of dolls, burning them with firecrackers and re-assembling them like a child Frankenstein may be signs of something much worse to come. Sid had sociopathic tendencies that Woody possibly could have scared out of him, but I'm still hoping he saw a therapist to work out whatever was going on there.
4. Scar in The Lion King
Nothing could prepare you for the moment when this truly evil king of the jungle kills his own brother as a way to gain control of some land. To make matter worse, he lets him fall from the cliff right after staring into his brother's eyes and saying the words, "Long live the king." That's some pretty messed up stuff. But as an adult who's read Shakespeare, you just think about how truly evil someone has to be to kill their own brother and shudder at the thought of what else Scar would have no problem doing.
5. Chernabog in Fantasia
Know as "Satan himself," Chernaborg may not be real, but the idea that anything could manipulate the dead around him is pretty darn creepy. This god of evil and death is still something to fear, maybe even more so as you age since now you know evil at its purest isn't just that bully at school.
6. Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Claude Frollo has gotten a reputation for being one of the all time most evil Disney villains, which may surprise some people. He's a sadist disguised as a religious man who tells his followers that everything he does — including, waging genocidal war on the gypsies — is all in the name of God. He's a sexist who sings songs of lust for Esmerelda, but ultimately blames her witchcraft for all that he is feeling. Worse, he really believes it, which makes him far more complicated than most Disney villains.
7. Dr. Facilier in The Princess And The Frog
This witch doctor is a charming swindler who is really working hard to steal everything you have. In the movie, he thrives on greed and dabbles in the black arts, but, in real life, he'd likely be an identity thief who would take you for all you have. Since he's an opportunist and a sadist who doesn't mind messing with innocent people if there's something to be gained, he'd likely screw around with your credit score just because he can.
8. Jafar in Aladdin
Jafar is evil, that is clear, but when you get a little older you start to realize he's a narcissistic psychopath who is a a menace to women — specifically one woman, Jasmine, who he locks up and lusts after. He's a sexist, who tells Jasmine in one scene where she is unable to talk that speechlessness is a "fine quality in a wife." He thinks he's god's gift to women and that he can do what he likes with them, which should make him every grown woman's worst nightmare.
9. Man in Bambi
When you're a little kid, you are so sad to see Bambi's mom die, but, when you're older, it only gets sadder. The unseen man who inflicts damage everywhere he goes turns out to be you. Yes, you. A devastating realization that makes you want to ban hunting, reduce your carbon footprint, and save all the Bambis of the world.
10. Hans in Frozen
Hans seemed like the perfect guy, but soon enough he was revealed to be cold, calculating, and cruel in nature. A good-looking charmer with a dark side whose intentions are anything but good is certainly someone to fear. As a matter of fact, this sounds a lot like another guy we know: the American Psycho himself, Patrick Bateman.
11. Shan Yu in Mulan
A merciless killer who is also a natural leader is definitely a recipe for evil. Shan Yu has no problem killing in cold blood, but because he is so strong and confident he manages to lead an army that follows him out of love, not fear. Though, you should be very, very scared of that fact since those kinds of qualities are often found in dictators.
12. Lady Tremaine in Cinderella
Trying to marry your daughters off to a prince so that you can have a better life is already a little smarmy, but treating your stepdaughter like a servant is just downright cruel. Lady Tremaine inflicts so much physical, emotional and mental abuse on Cinderella, from having her daughters rip her dress to constantly making her feel ugly, that I can only hope the Kingdom has a good psychologist on hand, because Cinderella is definitely going to need to talk through some things.
Looking at these Disney villains you realize, even as an adult these characters still have the ability to strike a little fear in you. Just for totally different reasons.
Image: Walt Disney Motion Pictures; Giphy (11)