Ten Disney Movies that Taked an Unexpected Dark Turn

10 Disney Movies That Took An Unexpected Dark Turn


You will love these light-hearted, lovable films Turning Red And Encanto Disney has produced a number of cozy and comfortable movies over the years. The company is synonymous with all things sweet, wholesome, from cute princesses to brave little toasters. Disney has its fair share of dark moments, but that is just the beginning.

Many of Disney’s most charming and colorful productions end up in dark territory. Even if it seems like a fun fantasy adventure, Disney quickly turns it into something sinister.

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11 Pinocchio (1940)


Pinocchio is a dark story to begin with, but the way the studio lures the audience into a false sense of security with characters like Jiminy cricket singing about wishing upon a star and Pinocchio being the wide-eyed innocent is almost diabolical. Pinocchio may sing “I’ve Got No Strings” at one point, but he’ll run for his life the next.

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While viewers will forever remember “When You Wish Upon a Star,” they will also recall the miserable donkeys of Pleasure Island, and the horror-inducing Monstro the Whale. Pinocchio’s transformation into a real boy does not negate the fact that hundreds upon hundreds of missing children are working in a sinister carnival, being sold to salt mines for their burden.


10 Fantasia (1940)


Because it alternates between the beautiful and the frightening, Walt Disney’s concert film earns an honorable mention. The film may not be obvious to viewers who are blind, as it is more an art-house feature than one of the studio’s animated adventures. It plays with their visual senses and not their emotions.

The soundtrack’s ability to switch between the playful nature of scenes such as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, and “Dance of the Hours,” keeps viewers guessing. It was ambitious for its time.


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8Alice in Wonderland (1951).


Chase scene in Alice in Wonderland with Alice running on a long table

Disney’s adaptation Alice in WonderlandIt is most likely the one audiences associate with the title. The film is not without its dark turns and twists, but it’s a lot like the book. Wonderland, which blurs the line between imagination & insanity is the real star of the movie, Alice is only the stand-in.

Disney’s Original Drafts aren’t nearly as dark, but it is still a great source of inspiration. Alice takes a sharp dark turn towards the end of the third act. The story begins as a colourful adventure with many eccentric characters. But Alice soon runs for her life to avoid losing her head before she can get home.


7Sleeping Beauty (1959).


Maleficent Sleeping Beauty

Walt Disney Pictures’ Sleeping Beauty was at the time a return to form. The three previous films were a departure from the fairytale formula used in films like Cinderella, It was time to get back on the basics. It does however contain some elements that could be compared to the Brothers Grimm.

Maleficent is Disney’s face for animated villains. Her contributions to the film range from classic fairytales to dark fantasy. Once Philip is captured, things take a sinister turn as it appears she has the upper hand. The sight of a castle encrusted in thorns and an army of goblins & goons as well as a giant dragon summoned forth from “all the powers and hell” seems quite outlandish.


6The Black Cauldron (1985).


Imagine an animated film that is so dark, graphic, and un-Disney, it nearly killed Walt Disney Animation. This is the reputation for The Black Cauldron. It may look like the traditional swords and sorcery story with its prophecies & farm boy hero but when Hen Wen sees the Black Cauldron and Horned King, it gets darker.

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The film is home to some of the most terrifying and graphic imagery seen in any Disney movie, and it’s nothing compared to the cut that almost warranted an R rating. These are just some of the bizarre flavors that contributed to this film’s low-than-stellar reputation.


5The Great Mouse Detective (1986).


Ratigan bowing

The Great Mouse Detective This is an excellent example of misdirection. It might feature cute and cuddly rodent characters living under the nose of famous humans like Sherlock Holmes, but there is a dark and dastardly game afoot, and it’s made abundantly clear right from the opening sequence of the film where audiences are treated to a violent jumpscare and an incredibly unsettling kidnapping before even being introduced to the film’s titular lead.

Like the Sherlock Holmes movies and books, the movie uses a classic airof mystery to establish its tone. Basil and his friends can be dragged down by a mysterious force at any time. The battle at Big Ben is not mentioned.




4 Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin (1997)


Pooh and friends are frightened in Pooh's Grand Adventure

Winnie the Pooh is probably the most unlikely character to be involved in dark materials. Honey and Blood. However,Pooh’s Grand Adventure Some rather frightening elements were added to the Hundred Acre Wood after Christopher Robin disappeared.

While most of the movie’s frightening elements are in the imaginations of the characters, it is a film that deals so heavily with fear of the unknown. This means that the horrors can be amplified at places like Skull and the monstrous Skullasaurus. While Pooh and his friends are a constant fixture in the movie’s plot, their particular charm remains a constant feature. However, the gang often finds themselves in surprisingly frightening situations throughout their quest.


3 Moana (2016)


Moana is Disney’s newest princess. But her quest to restore Te Fiti’s heart doesn’t come without its difficulties, monsters and dark side. The film is filled with images of sandy beaches and dimwitted chickens, but it also has a darker story.

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This musical is filled with darker themes. Te-Ka is definitely a difficult customer as a Disney villain. But Maui has a tragic story on his back that explains her fate.


2Zootopia (2016)


ZootopiaIt is a movie that promises one thing but delivers another. Although it looks like a funny buddy-cop comedy movie with talking animals at the beginning, things become disturbingly serious after Nick & Judy’s trip to Tundratown. This lighthearted Disney romp quickly turns into a cultural allegory and deserves to be a cultural standard.

After the Nighthowler plot has been revealed, the mask can be torn off and viewers are treated with one of the best mature Disney films. Even Nick, who starts as Judy’s comic foil and the film’s smartest character, begins to take a serious turn once his backstory is revealed. It always subverts expectations.


1Christopher Robin (2018)


Pooh ventures once again out of the Hundred Acre Wood into darker territory. His search for Christopher Robin takes him to an adult version his friend, who has lost touch with his daughter and is no longer able to have fun. A man will do anything to get a job in a luggage factory after returning from World War II.

The Hundred Acre Wood’s degeneration is artistically a reflection on Christopher Robin’s mental health. Pooh and his friends are basically abandoned and left to vaporize into nothing. Christopher’s soul slowly perishes in the process. Thanks for happy endings.

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