Boy oh boy, just wait until you get a load of these horrific fairy tale stories. You thought that The Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame were super sad and grim Disney movies? Well, then you are in for a vicious surprise. Here is our list of 10 Disney Films That Have Morbid Origin Stories. Forget about bawling your eyes out over Bambi…the origin stories for these Disney films will have you reaching for a box of tissues as well as picking up the phone to schedule a therapy appointment. Seriously, we can’t believe that these were actual fairy tales that people read. If we grew up with these versions of fairy tales, we would have ended up quite differently, let us tell you…
We will warn you before you go into this list: these 10 stories are forever going to be ruined for you forevermore. We are not joking. Some of the origin stories for these Disney films are downright sad, terrifying, and just plain twisted. We’re talking about things like kidnappings, murders, suicide…the list goes on and on. These are not stories that you would catch on a Disney marathon; they are more like R-rated horror films. All right, enough talking; let’s get down to business. Are you ready to learn more about Ariel the Little Mermaid, Aladdin’s back-stabbing brother, the fate of Cinderella’s evil stepsisters, and what the original Goldilocks looked like? Then here we go.
15. The Princess and the Frog
Okay, so Disney did a pretty nice job of warming our hearts up to the spunky Tiana and even Prince Naveen. Yet wait until you hear what the Grimm brothers had in mind for this story. This “fairy tale” for children! In their version of the story, the princess is absolutely appalled at kissing a frog, particularly because this frog was a bit of a perv. He would try to sneak into her clothes and onto her plate while she was eating. Can you say gross? Even more disgusting is what the princess decides to do with that pesky frog. She picks him up and literally throws him against a wall, where he splatters to a gruesome death. Yuck! And oddly enough, it was that profound physical force against the frog’s dull, slimy, lifeless body that changed him into a lovely prince. What the heck, Grimm brothers? Another fairy tale is absolutely ruined.
14. The Fox and the Hound
Oh, come on! This story was already super depressing and a bit too much for our childhood hearts to comprehend. Any movie where a cute little animal dies is where most people would draw the line. Yet it turns out that Disney may have been doing the audience a favor. The beloved fox is taken in by a family who has a thing for hunting (thank you for not killing him!) Later, the family decides that it’s time for the fox to return to its true home: the wild. Well, what do you think is going to happen when you let a domesticated animal out into the wild beyond? Nothing good, that’s for sure! The fox finds some hunting hounds and starts taunting them, which then ensues in a chase. The fox dies from sheer physical exhaustion (must have been a spoilt fox) and one of the hounds gets hit by a car and dies a tragic death.
Pinocchio was one naughty boy. He just loved to tell lies and be a rebel without a cause. Poor old Geppetto was definitely in over his head! Not only did Pinocchio make life pretty tough for the guy, but Geppetto ended up serving time in jail because Pinocchio ran away from home like a spoiled little brat! And he wasn’t much for school, either, choosing to ditch his school supplies for something more exciting. What would we do in Geppetto’s case? Probably toss that no good rotten egg in an orphanage and call it a day! Even so, Pinocchio ends up going through some pretty crazy stuff; descending into the depths of his wrongdoing and seeing the error of his ways. He gets his pants scared off (figuratively, not literally) and he goes through a sort of transformation to become a more noble character. It’s a good thing that Pinocchio was made out of wood, because any human kid would have serious emotional scarring after such an ordeal.
12. Beauty and the Beast
The Disney version of Beauty and the Beast was actually a bit scary, at least for a feel good Disney film. In other versions, Belle is at least granted permission to visit her family on a regular basis. Yet in the true original story of Beauty and the Beast, Belle’s sisters are super jealous that Belle ended up with a hot prince. The sisters band together to try to dismantle the relationship and ruin everything for Belle and the Beast. They try to get the Beast angry with Belle, in the hopes that he will resort to his primal ways and swallow Belle in one gulp. That way, Belle won’t ever have to come back to the palace, and that leaves the Beast free for the sisters. Yet, wouldn’t all of the sisters continue to fight and try to kill each other until there was only one left? What a lame plan!
Disney would have you believe that Hercules emerged from a loving relationship between the Greek deities Zeus and Hera. Yet according to Greek mythology, Hercules was the child of Zeus and … a mortal, Alcmene! That seriously angered Hera, who was so sick and tired of Zeus sleeping around with other women, especially mortal women. There are actually stories in which Hera is so upset about Zeus’ obsession with having sex with every woman he sees, that she punished his lovers a few times. And if a Greek goddess is punishing you, then you can bet that the sentence will be severe! As for Zeus, he often used his godly powers to transform into animals so that he could impregnate mortal women. Um, ew. Everything about this just seems to wrong. Even Hercules had a hard time being a young kid, given his superhuman powers. It was a tough life in mythical Greece.
In the original story, Bambi was shot savagely and had to walk around in circles with blood oozing out of him. This was to create a marking on the ground in order to confuse any other hunters or hunting dogs that tried to come after him. That’s pretty darn gruesome if you ask us, and we’re glad that it didn’t make it into the theatrical Disney version of Bambi. As if that weren’t enough, the hunter who shot Bambi is also killed in the original story, in a strange twist of events to get the message to viewers that man is also vulnerable, just like animals are. We really can’t blame Disney for taking all of this horrific stuff out. It even makes their version of the film look totally tame, compared to all of this forest terror! That’s really saying something, considering that Bambi is perhaps one of the most morbid and depressing Disney films to date.
In the original movie, Ali learns the secret words to the treasure, but when his brother finds out, he rushes to get there before Ali. There is revenge, though. Ali’s brother forgets the magic words to get out of the cave, so the guards find him and kill him. They also dismember him and places pieces of his body outside the cave to stave off would-be thieves. Ali takes his brother’s remains, gives them to a slave girl in the hopes that she’ll make his bro’s death look natural, but she ends up getting the body sewn together instead. That’s not all: the slave then kills off some thieves by pouring hot oil on them. Dang, she was better than Princess Jasmine! To be fair, Princess Jas was pretty awesome, and it was so nice to see a female protagonist that wasn’t a (total) damsel in distress. She was still sexualized, which is messed up, but she seems to have held onto some of the independent spirit that the original slave woman had.
8. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
In the long-ago version, Goldilocks was an old lady, but she was pretty spunky. Unfortunately, this Goldilocks does not escape the three bears. She tries to jump out of the window of the house and ends up breaking her neck and dying. Not only was Goldilocks probably kind of ugly and all wrinkled, but can you imagine a poor old lady being terrorized by bears? Sure, she was mischievous and sort of had it coming to her, but we feel kind of sorry for the elderly woman. Why couldn’t the story have been something like, Goldilocks knits a nice blanket for the bears and cooks them a hearty meal? We don’t know what’s stranger about their story; the fact that bears are noshing on porridge of all things, or that they sleep in wooden beds. Sure, it’s a fairy tale, but porridge? Really? It could have at least been pork stew.
7. Little Red Riding Hood
This is seriously scary. It isn’t a wolf in the original version, but an ogre, and he doesn’t just swallow the grandmother whole, he full on demolishes her. This isn’t Shrek we’re talking about; this is a full-fledged, scary as hell ogre who, after eating the poor old lady, feeds Little Red Riding Hood bits and pieces of her grandmother’s flesh and bones and then uses the grandma’s long intestines as a piece of rope. What the heck? This version of the story is like if a nightmarish version of Shrek was combined with all the gruesome scenes in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Seriously scary stuff here, but fortunately most modern adaptations of the story don’t include all of this nasty horror stuff. After all, we thought this was a fairy tale! There is a live-action version, in which Little Red Riding Hood is played by hottie Emily Browning. That makes things a bit better.
6. Tangled (Rapunzel)
The original Rapunzel story featured the princess being kidnapped and locked away in a tower. It was all a vengeful act because Rapunzel’s dad was a lying, cheating thief. While in the tower, Rapunzel is essentially raped and then her hair is cut off. When the prince comes to try and save her, but she is nowhere to be found, so he gets angry and jumps from the top of the tower. For some reason, he doesn’t die, but he ends up getting his eyes gouged out by the thorns that he fell in. What is up with these bizarre princes? There is another version of this tale that tells of an evil witch, Dame Gothel, kicking Rapunzel out of the kingdom and taking her place in the tower. Then when the prince climbs up the tower wall and into her window, he sees Dame Gothel, not his beloved princess. The prince and the evil fairy witch fight and she throws him from the window. Ouch.
5. Sleeping Beauty
More like sleeping victim! In the original story, it wasn’t a prince who tried to wake Aurora from her slumber, it was a married king. And he didn’t kiss her awake, he basically assaulted her. Yup, he tried to arouse her from her sleep (pun intended) by having sex with a napping princess. Aurora ends up getting pregnant and then when she wakes up, she finds that she as to raise her kid on her own because the king is nowhere to be found. So Aurora is essentially a rape victim and her poor baby is a bastard child. What the heck, man? The Grimm brothers were of course fond of this story, but the earliest known version of it wasn’t theirs. It was the Perceforest, created around 1330 and first put into writing in 1528. In folklore, the story of Sleeping Beauty is said to symbolize the changing of the lunar year to the solar year, or just an allegory of nature.
4. The Little Mermaid
Forget about losing her voice forever, in the original story, Ariel was going to full-out die if she didn’t have Prince Eric fall in love with her. However, the prince is in love with some other human girl, so Ursula tells Ariel to kill Eric, because well, she’s pissed off. Well, of course Ariel can’t do that, so she just kills herself instead by throwing herself into the sea as a human. By the way, while human, Ursula made sure that every step Ariel took felt like walking on shards of glass. Dang, this is like The Little Mermaid in HELL. There is actually a lot of talk on what the true ending of the story is or should be. Some people claim that the final scene of The Little Mermaid isn’t supposed to be a happy one. The tale was originally called The Daughters of the Air, because Ariel was supposed to die and her spirit was to become a “daughter of the air.”
3. Hunchback of Notre Dame
Sure, this film was already a bit of a departure and risk for Disney, but the original version is a whole other story. It turns out that when Frollo turns his back on Esmeralda, the gypsy ends up being hanged. Seeking revenge, Quasimodo pushes Frollo off of the roof of a building, where he plummets to his demise. After that, Quasimodo is so distraught that he vows never to leave Esmeralda’s gravesite, so he ends up rotting there and dying by starvation. We aren’t quite sure what happens to her little goat friend, but we would rather not explore the possibilities. It turns out that the original version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written by none other than Victor Hugo, who also wrote Les Miserables, and we all know how that ended up. Most of the characters dead! The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written during King Louis XI’s reign, and he was a douchebag king.
2. Snow White
In the original story by the Grimm brothers, the evil witch tries to kill Snow White much more violently before she tries the old poisonous apple trick. Snow White is technically kidnapped by the Prince while she is still unconscious in her coffin. Still, Snow White and the Prince end up marrying, and even the evil witch is there (although she has to wear hot iron footwear and basically melt to death.) What a whack way to end a story, although we are happy to see the evil witch suffer tremendously after trying three times to kill Snow White. The latest iteration of this story comes in the modern form of Snow White and the Huntsman, and stars Kristen Stewart as Snow White. Uh, not to be rude, but Kristen isn’t exactly delicate princess material. We suppose it doesn’t matter, since the huntsman trains Snow White to be a bad-ass female warrior. What a turn of events!
This story was seriously messed up. The evil stepsisters were even more evil in the Grimm brothers’ version. In a fruitless attempt to fit their feet into the glass slipper, one sister chops off her heel, while the other chops off her toes. Yeah, it doesn’t work. Not only that, but they stop Cinderella from marrying the prince, but crows end up gouging the evil stepsisters’ eyes out. Ouch! So in the end, Cinderella is still screwed over and she never even gets to have that happy ending (although watching her step sisters suffer like that probably provided a bit of vengeful happiness.) Just another fun tidbit about Cinderella is that the voice of the evil stepmother was the same voice for Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. Hah! The vileness continues! Cinderella was made into a 2015 live-action film, but received a lot of flak for showcasing a promotional poster in which Cinderella’s (Lily James’) waist was impossibly tiny.