Was killed by a hunter, leaving Bambi alone for the coming winter.
Walt was a creative and entertainment genius, not only in his own right, but also amassing a trove of talented artists who produced some of the longest standing film classics of the previous century. However, during Walt’s lifetime only a few of his animated features made a profit at the box office. The studio was often on the verge of bankruptcy.
Together with his brother Roy, Walt managed to run a multi-million dollar entertainment empire with marketing prowess to be envied. Long before home video was invented, they re-released each feature every seven years, so a new audience could enjoy them. So eventually, every film made money. But initially, most of Walt’s efforts were flops. Here is a list of his biggest box office bombs.
While box office and budget numbers are scarce for some of these films, their placement on the list is a reflection of profits and losses as listed in the company’s annual report the year of the film’s release.
These are all films I love, and continue to watch to this day, and it’s honestly unfortunate that most of them are underappreciated.
It’s not really fair to list this little gem of a film as a failure. Over the years it has garnered millions in box office receipts, not to mention home video sales and rentals. But in 1941 and ’42, though well received, it had an uphill battle helping the Mouse House get out of the red. At a modest budget of between 800 and 900 thousand dollars, it is Disney’s least expensive film. It was Walt’s 4th feature, following the very expensive Snow White ($1.8 mil), Pinocchio ($2.5 mil) and Fantasia ($2.3 mil). It had great pre-release buzz and was all set to appear on the cover of Newsweek for its release, but was displaced by the events at Pearl Harbor. With the European markets cut off, the flying elephant was able to make back its cost, but just barely.
It is quite possible that the only reason this classic made any money at all is because it was in the post-Sleeping Beauty era of slash and burn budgets (more on that later). Audiences seemed to like the Arthurian tale more than the critics did, but the boy who would be king was a sluggish performer. At the time, the kids were all wanting to see those zany Merlin Jones movies with Tommy Kirk and (yowza) Annette Funicello!
This was the last of Walt’s compilation films. Made up of two stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Wind and the Willows, it got a lukewarm reception from audiences and critics alike. Over the years, it has been edited into two separate films and released in a number of different formats, Ichabod being a Halloween favorite. Of course, Mr. Toad inspired the popular ride at Disneyland and Disneyworld, where you follow Toad’s adventures… ending up in Hell. Seriously… You rode a car through Hell, complete with dancing demons. The Florida version was replaced a few years ago by a Winnie the Pooh romp that skips the jaunt into the underworld.
After the Government helped to fund two compilation films that were moderately successful (Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros), Walt continued the trend on his own. They were relatively inexpensive and easy to produce, which was important in the first few years after the War. Two of the segments, Claire de Lune and Blue Bayou, were leftover concepts that weren’t used in Fantasia. However, MMM didn’t turn many heads or drive the post-war crowds into the theaters. Individual segments (like Casey at the Bat, Peter and the Wolf, and Little Toot) were eventually released separately on television and other formats, and over the years Walt made his money back.
Following the hugely successful Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Walt produced the ambitious and artistically superior story of the little wooden boy with the built in lie detector. Its budget was nearly double Snow White’s, but it didn’t originally charm the masses as much as the Princess movie did. And wishing upon a star couldn’t fix the European markets getting cut off by the growing expanse of the Third Reich. It recouped its cost by a cool million, but the studio was still having trouble staying ahead of its growing debt.
Since the little puppet made of pine became a real boy, it has grossed over $100 million.
I know, I know. This is now one of the cornerstone films of the Magic Kingdom, but it took a while to find its place on the positive side of the balance sheets. Walt knew he was in trouble financially with this one. He kept trimming it down, making it as lean as possible, not only story-wise, but also easier to complete on time and on budget. Yes, it was one of the wartime films that suffered from a lack of overseas distribution and the fact that audiences just weren’t in the mood to see a movie about a young Prince of the Forest getting shot at. James Cagney’s Yankee Doodle Dandy was all the rage that year. Go figure.
On a side note, the film was art directed by Chinese immigrant Tyrus Wong (who turned 102 this year). Walt hand picked him, saying that his paintings did more than look like a forest, they felt like a forest. So much for being a racist bastard.
This adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s tale of the boy who wouldn’t grow up should’ve done better at first. Based on well-known and loved source material, it was a shoe-in with audiences. But it just didn’t land. Critics were merciless over Walt’s break with certain traditions. For instance, Tinkerbell was a sexpot, while she had always been played by a faceless spotlight in the stage versions. And what’s this? A boy is portraying Peter Pan? He was always played by a girl before! No, Walt, you just didn’t do it right. No wonder it eked its way to regain its $4 million budget.
Alice came out on the heels of the hugely popular Cinderella (1950). Cindy had pretty much saved the studio from bankruptcy after its postwar slump, then Alice nearly sank it again. Maybe the surreal imagery was too much for a pre-’60s America. Maybe audiences were confused and went to see the British version that was released the same year. Or maybe Walt was right when he later commented that Alice lacked heart.
Like the White Rabbit, the profits were late, but better late than never.
This production was lavish on a grand scale. Walt decided to make the film in CinemaScope. The graphic style created by painter Eyvind Earle was insanely detailed and precise. It was four years in production at an unheard of cost of just over $6 million! However, At the same time, Walt was becoming more and more involved with his theme park project, thus leaving the films without a shepherd. Princess Aurora was meant to entrance the masses with her beauty, but instead she sort of put them to sleep. What do you expect when the entire cast starts yawning contagiously? Snoozefest! Hopefully, you woke up in time to see the kick-ass dragon fight at the end. On its initial release, the fair Briar Rose only managed to dream up $5.3 million.
As a result of this over indulgent spending, the following film, 101 Dalmatians, had roughly half the budget …and grossed over twice as much!
Since that time, SB has earned a respectable $36+ million. Sort of a sleeper hit, you might say.
Now seen as Walt’s masterpiece, this wondrous exercise in abstract imagery nearly ruined the studio. It started out as a short, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but the music alone (conducted by the renowned Leopold Stokowski) cost three times the budget of the average Mickey Mouse cartoon. Rather than cut his losses, Walt upped the budget to $2.3 million and pushed ahead with his grand experiment, turning it into a feature length film. Most of his movies ran about 83 minutes, but Fantasia is over two hours. Not only were the visual effects on a massive scale, Walt’s technicians invented a multitrack stereo surround system some thirty years before THX was ever thought about. However, most theaters did not want to invest in the expensive speaker upgrade. After all, this was 1940 and the country was still recovering from the Great Depression, plus a World War was brewing in Europe, so the film only played as intended in a handful of select markets. Lackluster reviews didn’t help its tepid reception either. By the end of the decade, after multiple re-releases, it finally earned back most of its cost. It wasn’t until the 1960s when a drug-addled youth audience rediscovered the film that it started making money. Peace, love and animation. Groovy.
*Snow White and the Seven Dwarves through Wreck-It Ralph. This number does not include the live action films with animated segments, like Song of the South, So Dear to my Heart, Mary Poppins, etc. It also does not include the features produced by Disney Toon Studios (e.g. A Goofy Movie), Pixar, ImageMovers Digital (e.g. A Christmas Carol), or stop motion films (e.g. Frankenweenie).
** This includes The Jungle Book even though it was completed and released the year following Walt’s death. Walt was heavily involved in its production. Though The Aristocats was in development before Walt died, it was not very far along and the final product bears little resemblance to where he left off.
The magical kingdom gets a makeover! Teen artist transforms Disney’s most beloved animal characters into people
Alaina Bastian, a teenage artist from Provo, Utah, created the illustrations for her Deviant Art page
- Characters she humanized include Simba and Nala from The Lion King as well as Baloo and Bagheera from The Jungle Book
A young illustrator and dedicated Disney fan has used her artistic skills to morph her favorite animal characters into humans.
Teenage artist Alaina Bastian from Provo, Utah, created the animations for her Deviant Art page s0alaina and later posted them to Bored Panda, explaining that she wanted to ‘humanize’ the characters by using ‘their unique personalities’ as inspiration for their appearances.
‘As an aspiring artist I have always loved Disney. My favorite [artistic trend] has been seeing Disney animals portrayed as humans!’ the young artist told Seventeen.
A new look: Teenage artist Alaina Bastian from Provo, Utah, has imagined several beloved Disney animals as human beings in a new image series
Look familiar? The young artist, who posts her work on Deviant Art, aimed to use the unique personalities of the characters for her interpretations
True to time: Alaina was also careful to stay true to the eras and countries in which the films were set
‘I’ve loved all the artists’ renditions of these characters. But I began to notice that there was a loss of key features of the characters that made them less recognizable.’
With that in mind, Alaina writes on her Bored Panda post, she went about drawing the characters ‘in the styles of their movies’ to keep the renditions more realistic to the tales she was revamping.
Among the beloved films she covered were Lady and the Tramp – where she imagined the privileged Lady as a woman with curly auburn hair and a gold dress and the stray mutt Tramp as a strapping grey-haired man in suspenders – and The Lion King, whose lead characters Simba and Nala are imagined in a similar manner to the musical based on the film.
Bit of a borrow: Alaina took some inspiration from the costumes for The Lion King musical in her humanized versions of Simba and Nala
Final result: Panther Bagheera and bear Baloo are turned into a pair of Indian buddies hanging out in the woods
For her version of the Aristocats main characters, Duchess and Thomas O’Malley, Alaina ran into difficulties over the latter’s ‘bulky build’, but ended up drawing a strapping, broad-shouldered redhead in a straw hat fawning over the platinum blonde-haired Duchess, whose locks are cut short in a curly 1910s bob.
Given that 1967’s The Jungle Book is based deep in an Indian forest, Alaina gave Mowgli’s guardians Baloo and Bagheera a distinctly South Asian look with Baloo in a small vest – not unlike the one worn by Abu in Aladdin – and Bagheera in a sort of Nehru jacket and turban in dark colors.
Computer animation movies were not out of bounds for the young artist either, who also created the John Travolta-voiced dog Bolt and his cat companion Mittens into emo teens.
A different vibe: The characters from 2008’s Bolt are imagined as emo teens in Alaina’s renderings
Strange cast mates: The characters of Tantor (L) and Terk (R) from 1999’s Tarzan were also transformed to look human
Out of the rain forest: Alaina thought that some of the existing humanized versions of Disney animals were ‘missing key features of the characters that made them less recognizable’
Terk and Tantor, the gorilla and elephant from 1999’s Tarzan are morphed into a young African woman with an upwards-sweeping hairstyle and a hulking man in just a strip of cloth and a wisp of hair on his head.
Another movie ‘humanized’ by the artist was Oliver and Company, whose characters Dodger, Oliver, and Rita were turned into a pair of shaggy-haired adults and a baseball cap-wearing kid.
In another combination post, Alaina took on the horses from several popular Disney films – each with their own unique personalities despite many of them not having the ability to talk. Included in this illustration is Samson from Sleeping Beauty, Pegasus from Hercules, Frou Frou from Aristocats, and Khan from Mulan.
The young artist, who hopes to one day score a job doing character design at an animation company like Disney or Dreamworks, added to Seventeen that she has a few other renderings up her sleeve, including ones of Bambi as well as Minnie and Mickey Mouse.
Horsing around: Alaina also humanized famous Disney horses including (l-r) Samson from Sleeping Beauty, Pegasus from Hercules, Frou Frou from Aristocats, and Khan from Mulan
Oliver and Company characters Dodger (in red scarf), Oliver (in orange), and Rita (second from left and far right) were turned into shaggy-haired adults and a little boy in a baseball cap.
Disney is often seen as a harmless, child-friendly entertainment industry for the whole family – then why is it that they have such terrifying villains and nightmarish scenes. Ever since Snow White, there have been some scary monsters ready to jump out of nowhere and terrify audiences. Below is a list of the ten most terrifying monsters to be drawn by Disney, proving that the happiest place on earth has a dark side.
10: The Kraken- Pirates of the Caribbean
Davy Jones’ “pet,” the Kraken is a giant octopus/squid which will come at Davy Jones’ beckoning to exact the cursed captain’s wrath upon those who earn it. The Kraken is so awesome, that it is never fully shown in the films, only its giant tentacles, appearing from below, captured ships to rip the galleons apart and drag them to their watery doom. However, the Kraken turns out to be mortal, as it somehow turns up dead in the third film. How the heck did Cutler Beckett kill the giant beast?
9: Giant Ursula- The Little Mermaid
Another monster with tentacles, Ursula has even less screen time than the Kraken in her super form, but is more intimidating. Whilst the Kraken simply destroys ships, Ursula gains the power of the trident. After accidentally killing her own beloved minions, she snaps and takes full advantage of the trident’s powers to show her wrath to Ariel and Prince Eric. Growing to a giant size, Ursula uses the trident to manipulate the ocean and the weather, capable of summoning lightning bolts and create whirlpools – and all to kill one mermaid.
8: Cobra Jafar- Aladdin
Jafar is one crazy villain, and when he becomes the world’s most powerful sorcerer, he decides to fight Aladdin as a giant cobra. And boy does he become menacing. Truly showing Jafar’s true personality, this giant snake is more than a match for the sword-wielding Aladdin, and it’s only when he is fooled into wishing to become a genie does he actually get beaten by Aladdin.
7: The Nome King- Return to Oz
Return to Oz is filled with plenty of nightmare fuel – the Wheelers, Mombi and her many heads, the asylum scenes, etc. But the Nome King really takes the cake. He kidnaps the Scarecrow, petrifies everyone in the Emerald City and turns Dorothy Gale’s friends into lifeless ornaments one by one. While he is a charismatic and likable villain, when his plans are ruined he turns into a terrifying one-eyed golem, and tries to personally eat all of Dorothy’s friends.
6: Monstro- Pinocchio
Practically everything about Pinocchio is terrifying, and the poor puppet boy has to go through hell to earn his humanity. The final obstacle is the giant whale named Monstro. He has such a reputation that endless fish flee for their lives, to escape the jaws of this giant insane whale. Heck, he’s so evil that he gets his own level in Kingdom Hearts. Monstro knows he is evil and when Pinocchio, Geppetto and Jiminy Cricket escape his innards, he goes ballistic and personally tries to kill them, but ends up jumping too high and is killed by a cliff.
5: Jubjub Bird- Alice in Wonderland
While the Jabberwock was intimidating with his big wings, ability to breathe lightning and being voiced by Christopher Lee, the Jubjub Bird is far more threatening. While wacky in appearance, the vicious, bloodthirsty Jubjub Bird works for the Red Queen to capture new victims to turn into her furniture. We never actually see how the Jubjub Bird kills its victims, but the very fact that it is locked up in a tower with a hood covering its face gives the hint this bird means business.
Maleficent is one of the best villains created by Disney, and she’s awesome enough in her human form. But when she, literally, calls on the powers of hell to fight Prince Philip and the three good fairies, Maleficent transforms into a terrifying black and purple dragon. Relentless in her fight to kill Prince Philip, Maleficent is so mighty it takes the three good fairies to enchant Philip’s sword to personally kill the dragon. She can breathe fire, fly and her very appearance has scared kids for decades. Maleficent is one sorceress/dragon you don’t want to mess with.
The Hydra is one of the most infamous creatures in Greek mythology, so it’s no surprise it appears in Disney’s Hercules. Introduced as a nightmarish one-headed reptile, the Hydra gets a rather graphic death, being decapitated from the inside-out by Hercules after it ate him, and we see its innards and green blood. And then, the Hydra gets up and sprouts a hundred or so new heads. Hercules tries to chop off the heads but more grow back, and Phil tells him to “forget the head-slicing thing,” and with good reason. The Hydra corners Hercules, and it takes an entire collapsing cliff face to finally do the great beast in.
The Firebird is one of the most terrifying images ever produced by Disney, and with good reason. It is a bird made entirely out of fire, lava and burning destruction. Virtually a flying inferno, the Firebird brings fiery hell to the nature spirit in Fantasia 2000 who gets a little too curious for her own good when she finds her plant-making powers don’t affect a volcano. She finds the sleeping Firebird in the volcano’s crater, until it suddenly bursts to life and chases the nature spirit, making the volcano erupt and bringing a forest fire and a lava flow to obliterate the nature spirit’s lovely handiwork. The Firebird’s scene culminates when the nature spirit flees up a tree and the Firebird sneaks up on her and towers over her in all its amazing artistic glory. All we see is the spirit’s terrified expression, and the Firebird bomb-diving her before he vanishes without a trace. The Firebird is like the grouchy old man who comes after intruders with a shotgun and shouts “Stay off my land!” – But made out of fire.
Apparently meant to be the Devil himself, Chernabog is quite menacing to behold. Huge wings, horns and eyes made of fire, he oozes evil. Appearing in Night on Bald Mountain, Chernabog shows his evil powers by resurrecting a bunch of ghosts and demons, and kills them just so he can resurrect them again to repeat the cycle. The segment’s theme is incredibly popular and well-known, sometimes even used as background music for media completely unrelated to Disney and Fantasia. Chernabog’s terrifying image has been downplayed a couple of times, such as on the House of Mouse, and even Michael Eisner sticks to the demon. Chernabog even makes a surprise appearance in Kingdom Hearts as a boss fight, virtually recreating his role in Fantasia, minus the spirits. You know Disney means business when they animate such terrifying creatures as Chernabog and the Firebird – and everyone thinks they’re kid friendly!
As many people know by now, some of Disney’s much loved animated musicals, beloved and enjoyed by so many happy little children for the past eighty years, have truly horrific origins involving rape, cannibalism, torture and other very nasty happenings. Some people believe Disney improved the original stories, making them more accessible and enjoyable to the general public, others are of the opinion that Disney mauled them, or at least failed completely to do them justice.
Here are ten examples of some of the lesser-known origins of Disney’s movies, some going back in history to sources that many people are unaware of, others revealing origins that haven’t previously been discussed in such detail on the internet.
Whatever your own personal opinions of these disturbing origins and Disney’s popular renditions of them, I hope you enjoy reading this list as much as I enjoyed writing it.
10: Pinocchio: Corpses and Murder
Original: Pinocchio Kills the Cricket, the Fairy is a Walking, Talking Corpse and Pinocchio Dies
In the very first version of Pinocchio, the marionette is punished by death for being such a naughty boy. Pinocchio teases Gepetto mercilessly and runs away, Gepetto chases him but is caught by a police officer who throws the old man in prison, believing he is abusing the puppet. When Pinocchio returns to Gepetto’s house he meets a hundred year old cricket who tells him naughty boys turn into donkeys. Pinocchio throws a hammer at the cricket and kills it.
Pinocchio ends up nearly getting burned as fire wood, he then bites off an evil cat’s paw and meets a beautiful blue haired fairy who tells him she is dead and waiting for people to take her body away. Pinocchio then gets hung from a tree by the cat with the mutilated paw and the cat’s companion the fox, and they watch as Pinocchio suffocates to death. The End.
The editors weren’t too happy with this ending, so the author added a second part to the story. Here, the beautiful dead fairy rescues Pinocchio and they start living together, but Pinocchio takes up his wicked ways again and eventually turns into a donkey. He is sold to the circus, where he goes lame.
Pinocchio is then brought by a musician, who desires to kill him, skin him, and turn him into a drumhead. The musician ties rocks to the donkey’s neck and lowers him into the ocean to drown. As he drowns, fish eat the flesh off his bones, and the wooden marionette skeleton is left. Pinocchio swims away, but is swallowed by a giant shark, in whose stomach he finds Gepetto sitting at a table trying to eat live fish which keep wriggling out of his mouth. After they escape, Pinocchio busies himself with caring for Gepetto, and eventually as a reward for being a good lad, looking after his father and working hard, he is rewarded by being turned into a real boy.
9: Dismemberment in Aladdin
Original: Cassim Gets Dismembered
Who the hell is Cassim you ask? Cassim is Aladdin’s long lost father in Disney’s direct-to-video third Aladdin movie; Aladdin and the King of Thieves. In the movie, Cassim, who is the leader of the infamous Gang of Forty Thieves, gives up his wicked ways to attend Aladdin and Jasmines long awaited wedding. Some concepts for the movie were inspired by Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, a tale from 1001 Nights.
In the original version, Ali Baba learns the secret words into and out of the Forty Thieves magical secret treasure trove. Ali Baba reveals the words to his brother Cassim, who rushes to the trove to greedily collect as much gold as he can carry. In his excitement though, he forgets the magic words to get out of the cave. The thieves return, find Cassim and kill him. They divide his corpse into quarters and place the dismembered portions outside the opening of their cave as a warning to future robbers.
When Ali Baba discovers the macabre warning sign, he collects the portions of his brothers’ body and carries them home with him. He asks a slave girl, Morgiana, to make it look as if Cassim died of natural causes. Morgiana finds a skilled tailor, who expertly sews the pieces of Cassim’s corpse back together. The thieves discover where Ali Baba lives, but the slave girl ends up tricking them into killing two of their own, and she kills the rest by pouring boiling oil into the jars where they are hiding. The leader is the only one left, and Morgiana stabs him to death during dinner at Ali Baba’s house. Now that’s one loyal slave!
8: Murderous Cinderella
Original: Cinderella Kills Her Step-Mother
By now, most of us know about the Grimm’s version of Cinderella, where the Prince spreads tar on the palace steps in the hopes that Cinderella will get stuck as she tries to flee. His plan fails however, and only her shoe is left sticking in the tar. Her sisters, who are “beautiful but black of heart” both attempt to fool the Prince into marrying them. One sister slices off her big toe so that she may fit the slipper, the other slices off her own heel. Their deceit is unmasked when Cinderella’s enchanted birds point out the blood on their stockings to the Prince. The sister’s eyes are pecked out as punishment for their cruelty and deceit. Though this is an excellent version of Cinderella, this is not the version Disney actually based their movie on.
Disney’s Cinderella was based on a very tame story by Charles Perrault, published 1697. Perrault’s version plays out almost exactly like the Disney version. However, both Perrault’s and Grimm’s versions contain elements from The Cat Cinderella, published in 1634, by Giambattista Basile. Though tame for a Basile fairy tale, it is worth noting that in this version, Cinderella confides in her seemingly kind Governess about the cruelty of her step-mother. The Governess tells Cinderella that to fix her problem she will need to kill her step-mother by slamming the lid of a large wooden chest down on her step-mothers throat, which will break her neck.
Cinderella must then convince her father to marry the Governess. Cinderella kills her step-mother and the marriage goes ahead. It turns out though that the Governess was hiding her own seven beautiful daughters out of sight, and when she produces them, Cinderella’s father loses interest in his own daughter. They all start to mistreat Cinderella, abusing her and calling her names, and she is sent to the kitchens to work as a servant (she is now given the name ‘Cat Cinderella’. previously her name was Zezolla). The rest of the story carries like a traditional Cinderella tale, and actually has a happy ending all round, but it’s nice to know that Cinderella wasn’t always so innocent.
7: Sleeping Beauty Sleeps Amongst Corpses
Original: Sleeping Beauty Slumbers Amongst Hundreds of Rotting Corpses Trapped in a Briar Hedge
In the Brothers Grimm tale of Briar Rose, a wise woman curses the baby princess so that in her fifteenth year she will prick her finger on a spindle and fall down dead. Another wise woman weakens the curse so that, instead of dying, the princess will fall asleep for a hundred years. Surely enough, in her fifteenth year, the girl pricks her finger and falls into a deathlike sleep, which quickly spreads throughout the entire kingdom until even the flies on the wall slumber. A briar hedge grows up around the castle and, over the years, hundreds of young men from faraway lands try to make their way through the brambles to ‘gaze upon’ the sleeping princess.
However the brambles are so thick that the young men get trapped in the thorns and die slow miserable deaths. On the hundredth year a prince rides by and the brambles turn into flowers and open for him because the curse has finally run out. The prince finds the Sleeping Beauty and kisses her as she awakens.
As mentioned in a previous Listverse list, the Brothers Grimm took inspiration for Briar Rose from Sun, Moon and Talia, written by Giambattista Basile. In this tale, a king rapes the princess as she sleeps. She is impregnated and gives birth to twins. One of the babies sucks the enchanted splinter from beneath her fingernail and she awakens. The queen attempts to have the babies slaughtered and fed to their father, and attempts to burn Talia alive, but the king saves the day just in time, the queen is burned in Talia’s place, and they all live happily ever after.
6: Little Mermaid Mayhem
Original: The Little Mermaid Kills the Prince
In the Hans Christian Andersen story that Disney based their movie on, the little mermaids tongue is cut out. She has to live in horrific pain and her feet bleed ceaselessly, then the prince marries another woman anyway. The little mermaid has a choice; she can kill the prince and turn back into a mermaid, or throw herself into the ocean and die. Unable to kill the prince, she commits suicide.
Though The Little Mermaid is an Andersen original, he took inspiration from a tale called Undine, by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. In Undine, a knight marries a water spirit and she gets a human soul. Undine’s spirit relatives are mischievous and at times quite evil, and they begin to complicate the marriage. It doesn’t help that Undine lets her husband’s ex-girlfriend, Bertilda, who is also Undines half-sister, live with them at the castle. The knight falls in love with Bertilda, and they both begin to treat Undine badly which makes her uncle, a powerful water spirit, very angry.
Undine commits suicide by throwing herself into a raging river to save her husband and Bertilda from the wrath of her uncle. She loses her human soul and becomes a spirit again. The knight believes she is dead and marries Bertilda, but this is a big no-no if you have previously been married to a water spirit. Undine is forced by spirit protocol to return in her water nixie form and kill her ex-husband! After he is buried, a tiny stream appears and circles his grave; thus, Undine and the knight remain together forever in death.
5: Snow White Tortured
Original: Snow White is Tortured and Made into a Slave
In the brothers Grimm tale of Snow White, the evil Queen orders a hunter to bring back Snow White’s lungs and liver as proof of the Princess’s demise. The huntsman brings back the entrails of a pig and the Queen, believing them to be the liver and lungs of Snow White, greedily devours the glistening organs.
The Queen tries to kill Snow White three times: First she pulls Snow Whites corset so tight that she passes out. Second she brushes Snow Whites hair with a poisoned comb, which causes her to fall into a deathlike sleep, the dwarfs remove the comb and she awakens. Finally, the Queen poisons an apple which Snow White eats and apparently dies. The dwarfs place her corpse in a glass coffin where a passing Prince finds her and decides to take her home with him. As the coffin is moved, the piece of apple falls from Snow Whites throat and she awakes. At the wedding, the Queen is put into red hot iron shoes and made to dance until she dies.
Grimm’s borrowed ideas for their tale of Snow White from a story called The Young Slave, written by Giambattista Basile in 1634. In this story, a baby is cursed to die in her seventh year by a fairy. When the girl turns seven, her mother is combing her hair and the comb becomes lodged in the girl’s skull, apparently killing her. The mother places the girl into seven crystal coffins, placed one inside the other, and locks her in a chamber in the castle. The mother eventually dies of grief, and entrusts the key to the chamber to her brother, telling him never to unlock the door. The brother’s wife gets hold of the key, opens the door, and finds a beautiful young woman inside the glass coffins (the girl continued to grow as she slept).
The wife thinks her husband is keeping the girl locked in the room to have sex with her, so drags her out by her hair, which dislodges the comb and breaks the spell. The wife cuts of the girl’s hair off and whips her bloody with the tresses. She then makes the girl her slave and beats her daily, giving her black eyes and making her mouth so bloody it looks as though she’s been “eating raw pigeons.” The young woman decides to kill herself but as she is sharpening the blade she tells her story to a doll. Her uncle overhears and the plot is revealed. He sends his wife away, gets medical attention for his niece, and then marries her off to a rich man.
4: Hercules Self-Immolation
Original: Hercules Burned Himself Alive
Zeus, God of the sky, disguises himself as a man called Amphitryon. Why? So Zeus could have sex with Alcmene, Amphitryon’s hot wife! Zeus impregnates Alcmene after raping her. The real Amphitryon has sex with Alcmene the same night and also impregnates her, thus, she is pregnant with two babies both from different fathers! (This is physically possible incidentally.) One of the twins (Zeus’s son) is Heracles (this was the original spelling, which means “Glory of Hera.” He was given this name pretty much just to annoy Hera).
When Heracles grows up he becomes a great warrior and marries the beautiful princess Megara. They have two beautiful babies whom Heracles then slaughters when he is driven into temporary madness by Hera. Some mythologies say Heracles also killed Megara, others say he gave her to Iolaus, who was not only Heracles nephew, but also his young lover! (Heracles was a symbol of sexual prowess, having love affairs with multiple men and women.)
Later, when the centaur Nessus tries to rape Heracles fourth wife Deianeira, Heracles shoots him with arrows poisoned with the blood of the Hydra. As he dies, Nessus tells Deianeira to collect his spilled blood and semen and use it as a love potion. When Deianeira eventually begins to worry about Heracles faithfulness, she smears the potion onto a sacrificial tunic which Heracles then dons.
The venom of the Hydra (which entered Nessus’s blood when the poisoned arrow pierced him) begins to burn Heracles skin and he tears the shirt off but his skin rips off as well, exposing his bones. Deianeira hangs herself in horror. To end his excruciating agony, Heracles has a funeral pyre built and his friend Philoctetes lights the fire. Heracles burns himself alive, but instead of dying, the immortal part of his body is left after his human flesh burns away and Heracles returns to Olympus as an immortal, reconciles with Hera and presumably lives happily ever after.
3: Fox and the Hound Deaths
Original: The Fox and the Hound: They All Die Miserably
Copper hates Chief; a younger, faster hunting dog who is taking Coppers place in the pack. After Chief saves their Master from an attacking bear during a hunt, Coppers hate and jealousy grow steadily stronger. The Master heaps praise on Chief but ignores Copper, who cowered in fear when the bear attacked. Tod is a fox who delights in taunting the chained dogs and driving them into a frenzy. One day Chief breaks his chain and trails Tod. Tod leads the dog onto a railroad track and Chief is hit by a train and killed. The Master swears vengeance and trains Copper to ignore all other foxes except Tod.
Tod meets an older vixen and they have a litter, but the Master and Copper find the den and gas the baby foxes. The vixen is then caught in a leg trap and killed.
Tod meets another vixen and has more babies, but again his family is slaughtered by the Master. One winter, there is a rabies outbreak among the foxes, who are now scavengers. One of the infected foxes attacks a group of human children and the Master puts poison out to try and kill as many foxes as possible. A human child eats the poison and dies.
Tod escapes many more attempts on his life, but one day Copper hunts Tod so relentlessly that Tod drops dead of exhaustion. Copper is almost dead himself, but the Master nurses him back to health. They enjoy some new found popularity, but the Master starts drinking again and eventually ends up having to go into a nursing home. The master takes his shotgun and shoots Copper dead, weeping as he does so. The End.
2: Torture and Death in the Hunchback
Original: Quasimodo Gets Tortured, Esmeralda Gets Tortured and then Everybody Dies
Frollo doesn’t try to drop the deformed baby down a well like in the Disney movie. In Victor Hugo’s dark original Frollo actually rescues the baby from being burned alive by four women who think it is a demon. Frollo adopts the baby and names him Quasimodo. Frollo is eventually driven mad with lust to dominate a beautiful fifteen year old gypsy girl called Esmeralda and makes Quasimodo kidnap her.
Quasimodo is caught in the act and arrested by the handsome soldier Phoebus, whom Esmeralda falls in love with. Quasimodo is publicly tortured and left exposed in the pillory. Phoebus (who’s already engaged but he’s a total slut) arranges a ‘private rendezvous’ between him and Esmeralda, but Frollo pays Phoebus to let him hide in the shadows and spy on them. Esmeralda, overcome by lust, gives up her vow of chastity to Phoebus, who gets right down to business. Overcome with jealousy, Frollo emerges from the shadows, stabs Phoebus in the back and flees into the night. Esmeralda is charged with the attempted murder, tortured into giving a false confession in a subterranean dungeon, and sentenced to hang.
Quasimodo rescues her as she is led to the gibbet and hides her in Notre Dame, where Frollo tries to rape her. After Quasimodo again intervenes, Frollo gives Esmeralda up and there is a brief and bloody battle during which Frollo tells her he will rescue her if she will ‘give her love’ to him. She refuses and he hands her over to the troops. Frollo watches as Esmeralda is executed, and laughs hysterically as she writhes at the end of the rope. Quasimodo then throws Frollo from the heights of Notre Dame.
Quasimodo then crawls into the crypt where the corpses of executed criminals are left to rot and wraps himself around Esmeralda’s decaying cadaver. Eventually their two skeletons are found, wrapped in an eternal embrace.
1: Pocahontas Raped and Killed
Original: Pocahontas was Kidnaped, Raped and Murdered
The two Disney movies about the curvaceous, scantily-clad Native Indian beauty are based on sterilized and falsified English accounts of the early history of the Virginia Colony. Pocahontas was only around ten years old when Smith first made contact with the Powhetans. It is true that he was captured by the tribe, but in his original account of the event Smith relates that he was treated very kindly. It wasn’t until many years later, when Pocahontas’s name became known in England, that Smith fabricated the story about her rescuing him from execution.
When Pocahontas was seventeen, she was captured by the English and held for ransom. Her husband Kokoum was killed and Pocahontas was raped repeatedly and consequently impregnated. She was forcefully converted to Christianity, baptized Rebecca, and quickly married off to an English tobacco farmer named John Rolfe to make the pregnancy appear legitimate. In 1615 the Rolfe’s travelled to England and Pocahontas was laced into a corset and presented to the public as a ‘symbol of the tamed Virginia savage’.
After two years in England the Rolfe’s had begun their journey home to Virginia when Pocahontas suddenly started to vomit violently after dinner, she then began to convulse. Before they had even sailed off the river Thames Pocahontas had died, horribly and painfully. English historical accounts are ‘unsure of the cause of death’, speculating that she may have succumbed to pneumonia, tuberculosis, or even smallpox. However, in their book The True Story of Pocahontas; The Other Side of History Linwood Custalow and Angela L. Daniel postulate that during her time in England, Pocahontas learned of the English intentions to obliterate the Native Indian Tribes and forcefully take their lands. Afraid that Pocahontas might reveal their political strategies, her murder was swiftly plotted and she was poisoned before she could reach home and report what she had learned. Pocahontas was only twenty-two years old when she died.