It seems like for many of us, growing up was all about Disney. Even though we all know there are many things seriously wrong with Disney fairy tales, lets admit it, we all enjoy watching good triumphing over evil, the Prince marrying the Princess and of course, talking animals. Even though Disney is all about the happily ever after, most Disney tales didn’t start out that way. In fact, the origins of most Disney Tales depict horrors such as rape, murder, cannibalism and other very un-disney happenings. So here are a list of ten movies that have been Disneyfied for our viewing pleasure, but please proceed with caution. These dark tales are worlds away from the happy endings that we have come to know and love, and knowing the dark history of your beloved tales might just ruin your childhood.
We know Aladdin as the tale of a poor street merchant who wins the heart of a beautiful Princess. In the third installment of Aladdin (it went straight to DVD so don’t feel too left out if you didn’t see it) Aladdin and Jasmine are finally getting hitched when we are introduced to the character Cassim, Aladdin’s long lost father. In the movie, Cassim, who is the leader of the Gang of Forty Thieves attempts to give up his usual, wicked ways to attend the wedding.
In the original story, Cassim is actually Aladdin’s (Ali Baba’s) brother. Cassim gets a little too greedy and gets trapped in a cave where he is trying to steal gold. When he is found by thieves he is promptly killed, dismembered and pieces of his body are left in front of the cave to serve as a warning to others. Ali Baba discovers pieces of his brothers body and asks a slave girl to sew them together so it will look like Cassim died of natural causes. The thieves get angry that Ali Baba took their dismembered corpse and go to where he lives for revenge. Luckily, the slave girl outsmarts them and kills them by pouring boiling water on two, and stabbing the other one to death. So I guess you could say it’s a happy ending of some sort.
The Disney version of Cinderella tells the story of a young girl who is mistreated by her wicked step-mother but eventually gets her revenge when she marries the handsome Prince. The original fairy tale involved the cutting off of toes, heels and the pecking out of eyes.
In the original tale, Cinderella sneaks off to the ball and falls in love with the Prince, just like in the Disney version. The Prince then comes looking for Cinderella and is introduced to her evil step-sisters. This is where the story differs. The evil step-sisters can’t fit into Cinderella’s glass slipper. So instead of admitting that the shoe isn’t theirs, one of them cuts off their toe to fit in the shoe and the other cuts off their heel. The Prince only realizes that these two girls aren’t his Princesses when he see’s that the shoe is filled with blood. Finally, the Prince finds Cinderella and the two ride off into the sunset together. But not before two birds peck out her step-sister’s eyes.
8. Sleeping Beauty
In the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty, the fair Princess doesn’t actually do much besides sleep. But she does have a handsome prince who fights a dragon to save her, so she’s got that going for her. In the original tale, the Sleeping Beauty’s main man is much less noble.
The story begins as a King walks past Sleeping Beauty’s castle and notices that she is asleep. He tries to wake her up but is unable to do so. Instead of leaving to go get help. he decides that the best course of action would be to rape her. After the rape, the King leaves a now pregnant Sleeping Beauty behind. Sleeping Beauty gives birth to twins while she is still asleep and doesn’t wake up until one of the babies sucks a splinter out of her finger. When the married King finds out that he’s the father of two illegitimate children, he tries to have them killed, cooked and fed to him. Luckily he fails in his attempts and the King and Sleeping Beauty eventually marry, even though the King both raped her and tried to have her killed.
7. The Little Mermaid
The Disney version of The Little Mermaid is a sweet tale about a young mermaid who risks everything to be with her one true love, Prince Eric. In Disney fashion, despite the obstacles that Ariel and Prince Eric face, the two end up living happily ever after.
The original is a far cry from the Disney version. Although Ariel does fall for the Prince after rescuing him and Ursula does take Ariel’s voice in exchange for legs, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. In the original tale, the penalty for not getting Eric to fall in love with her is death. To add to this, another penalty for having legs is that every single step Ariel takes feels like she’s walking on shards of glass. Talk about hurting for true love. Unfortunately for Ariel, Eric falls in love with another women and marries her. Ariel is told that if she kills Prince Eric she can turn back into a mermaid instead of dying. However, Ariel loves Eric too much to kill him and ends up throwing herself into the sea and turns into sea foam.
6. Snow White
The Disney version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a tale about a young princess who manages to escape the evil Queen. On her journey, she befriends seven dwarfs and finds her one true love. The Brother’s Grimm version of the story follows the same premise but in a much darker way.
In the story, the Evil Queen demands that the huntsman kill Snow White. The huntsman is unable to kill the fair princess and ends up bringing the Queen the liver and lungs of a pig for proof of Snow White’s death. The Queen eats them thinking that they belong to Snow White. The Evil Queen attempts to kill Snow White on three other separate occasion. First, she tries to suffocate her by pulling her corset to tight, then she brushes her hair with a poisoned comb and finally, she poisons her with an apple, which leads to her death. The Prince finds out about Snow White’s death and demands to take her coffin home with him. Snow White is only awakened when the coffin is moved and the apple falls out of her throat. Snow White and the Prince eventually get married. At the wedding, the Queen is punished for what she did to Snow White and is forced to dance in red hot iron shoes until she dies.
The original Greek tale about Hercules is absolutely nothing like the Disney version that we have all come to know and love. In the original story, Zeus rapes Hercules’ mother Alcmene, and impregnates her with Hercules. Hercules grows up and becomes a great warrior. He then ends up marrying the beautiful Princess Megara. The happy couple have two children together but unfortunately, in a fit of rage, Hercules slaughters them both. After this, Hercules enters into a number of marriages and is unfaithful to all of his wives. His fourth wife, Deianeira makes a love potion out of spilled blood and semen that she uses on Hercules when she thinks that he is cheating on her. She puts the potion on one of Hercule’s tunics. When Hercules wears the poisoned tunic, his skin rips off exposing his bones. Seeing this, Deianeira hangs herself. Hercules tries to burn himself alive but his immortal self ends up surviving the fire and he is able to return to Olympus as an immortal.
4. The Fox and the Hound
In the Disney Version of The Fox and the Hound the fox (Tod) and the hound (Copper) become best friends for life. In the original tale, written by Daniel P. Mannix, just about everyone dies.
In the novel, Tod is a fox who loves messing with chained dogs. One of the dogs that he messes with is named Chief. One day, Tod leads the poor dog onto a railroad track and Chief is hit by a train and killed. Chief’s master is extremely angry and swears vengeance for Chief’s death. Meanwhile, Tod ends up meeting ladies and having lots of babies but all of his children and wives end up getting killed in one way or another. Sometimes they are caught in a trap, sometimes they are gassed and sometimes they are poisoned. This is all because Chief’s master has dedicated his life to making Tod’s life hell. Chief’s master is also Copper’s master. The master makes Copper hunt Tod so relentlessly that Tod ends up dying from exhaustion. The Master nurses Copper back to health and the two are happy for awhile, but that doesn’t last long. Eventually, the Master turns to drinking, has to move into a nursing home, and shoots and kills Copper.
The Disney version of Pocahontas tells the story of a Native Indian who meets John Smith, falls in love and lives happily ever after. The real story of Pocahontas is not so happy.
The real Pocahontas was only ten years old when she met John Smith and the two didn’t have much of a relationship. It definitely wasn’t the true love version that Disney has sold us. When she was seventeen, she was captured by the English and held for ransom. Her husband, Kokoum was killed during this time and Pocahontas was repeatedly raped and ended up getting pregnant. When it was discovered that Pocahontas was with child, the pregnancy needed to look legitimate and so, she was forcefully converted to Christianity, baptized Rebecca and married off to a man named John Rolfe. In 1615, the couple traveled to England where Pocahontas was presented as ‘a symbol of the tamed Virginia Savage.’ After two years in England, Pocahontas met her untimely death from unknown causes. She was just twenty-two when she died.
The Disney version of Rapunzel tells the story of a wide-eyed, innocent girl who discovers a whole new world. She never knew this world existed and of course, she finds her one true love. Even though the Brothers Grimm version of Rapunzel has a happy ending, some twisted things happen before you can get to the happily ever after.
In the Brothers Grimm version, the Prince gets Rapunzel pregnant out of wedlock. When the evil sorceress discovers this, she cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and chases her into the wilderness. When the Prince shows up to see Rapunzel, the Evil Sorceress tricks him into the tower by dangling Rapunzel’s cut-off hair. When he discovers that Rapunzel is gone he jumps out of the tower window and ends up blinding himself with the thorns below. The Prince wanders around looking for his love, while Rapunzel gives birth to twins. Eventually, the Prince finds Rapunzel when he hears her beautiful voice. Rapunzel restores the Prince’s sight with her tears and the two live happily ever after.
1. The Lion King
The Lion King is loosely based on Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. But instead of just the father and the evil uncle dying, like in The Lion King, everyone dies in Hamlet.
In Shakespeare’s play, Prince Hamlet is the protagonist. At the beginning of the play, he learns that his uncle has killed his father in order to seize the throne, and that he must take revenge. Hamlet spends a long time contemplating how he will take revenge and ends up behaving more and more erratically. Hamlet’s uncle fears for his own death and makes his own plans to kill Hamlet. He tries to convince Hamlet that he is to blame for his father’s death. In the midst of all this, a fencing match is being prepared between Hamlet and Laertes. Little does Hamlet know, Laertes’ blade has been poisoned by his uncle to ensure Hamlet’s death. Laertes ends up wounding Hamlet but he does not die of the poison right away. Laertes is cut by his own blade and dies. Hamlet then stabs his uncle and forces him to drink poisoned wine, which kills him. Eventually, the entire royal family ends up dead.