Top 13 Disney Scares

Halloween is coming so it seems only appropriate that we talk about some Disney scares! This is not limited to the canon although there are a few movies with scares I have not seen or have not seen in a while, so this is by no means definitive.   It is also not necessarily the scariest movie just scenes.  Make sure to read my piece on Darkness in Disney to see where I draw the line on good scares and too much for kids (and me. I’m a wimp!).

Some of these are more funny scary than terrifying scary if you know what I mean.

13. Bear- Fox and the Hound- I have an animal phobia so the look of this bear is enough to give me the creeps!

bear

12.  Night on Bald Mountain- Fantasia- I mean it’s the devil and his minions with power and fury.  Not terrifying in a jump scare kind of way but in a ‘better repent now’ way…

on bald mountain

11. Snow White Forest Scene- Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs– Snow White holds up extremely well including this scene when she is spooked in the forest.  I think most of us can relate to that feeling of being watched and that the trees may stretch out and grab you!

snow white scared

10. Headless Horseman-  Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad- The story of Ichabod is the perfect ghost story for kids.   It’s dark and scary but not too scary.  Enough to make them feel excited and giggle but not give nightmares.  I couldn’t find a great clip but look at the face of the horse.  That should tell you something!

horseThis imagery with the pumpkin and the horse with the red eyes.  That’s pretty scary stuff!

headless2 headless

9. Crazy Donald-  Fun and Fancy Free-  Crazy Donald is Disney’s version of The Shining.  I mean he goes completely insane, axe wielding and all.  Best part of Fun and Fancy Free by a long shot.

tumblr_lmp8mwNWNI1qfuepw Get this duck some food!

8. Mob Song- Beauty and the Beast- Think the delusions of crowds and mass hysteria is most terrifying thing of all than Mob Song from Beauty and the Beast is the scare for you!  The thing that makes this song particularly scary is the way it escalates and it actually feels like there is little hope for our friends.  How can they defeat the entire town? It is also scary because Gaston has reached full madness.  He couldn’t get what he wanted and pride made him snap.  That is a very human villain.

mob song

7. Syndrome- Incredibles- One of the most human villains in all of Disney and that’s what makes him so scary.  I mean he has the whole family captured and nobody knows where they are.  He’s bitter and resentful but clearly smart.  The voice performance is chilling.   He even tries to take the baby at the end!

Syndrome_Close_Up

6. Kidnapping- Great Mouse Detective-  If this scene were with people instead of mice it might be too much for me.  It is really scary and certainly starts the film off with a bang.

5. Remains of the Day- Corpse Bride-

(Found out this is not a Disney!  Oh well.  It’s still scary!)

This is more funny than scary but it  is a great song and ghost story.  I love the  brilliant animation.  If you listen to the tale  it is pretty grim stuff. ‘At the end of the day we are all remains of the day!’ Kids will probably laugh but be a little scared too. I love it!

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4. Incinerator Scene- Toy Story 3-  This is a scene that is not scary in the traditional sense like Remains of the Day or the Headless Horseman.  This is scary because it really feels like they are all going to die.  My nieces were all very upset by it.   I mean they get awfully close to that incinerator!

3. Heffalumps and Woozles- Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- I had to pick either Pink Elephants on Parade or Heffalumps and Woozles  because they are very similar.  I went with the latter because it is aimed at smaller children which makes it bolder and scarier. Also I think the song is scarier in the lyrics and way it is sung.  Pink Elephants on Parade is more trippy than scary (same with Alice in Wonderland).  Plus, creepy toys are always effective in scary movies!

2. Boogie Man’s Song- Nightmare before Christmas- a gambling burlap bag of bugs gambles on whether to kill Santa. Yes, I think that makes the list!

1. Pleasure Island- Pinocchio.   Was there any doubt?  This scene is nuts! Pinocchio is a morality tale designed to teach children sin is bad and the wicked are punished.  And boy does it teach it effectively.  I remember as a kid being terrified of the kids turning into donkey scene.  They were bad kids but couldn’t you send them to reform school?  I mean how many donkeys do these salt mines need?

donkeysAs an adult the most terrifying thing about Pleasure Island is the kids stay donkeys!  There is no redemption or forgiveness to the kids.  That’s it.  They are done! And the Coachman is never punished.  Pinocchio escapes and we assume the Coachman continues to rake in the cash. Yikes!

This is a bad clip but it’s the only one I could find with the scene.

13. Honorable Mention- If I was doing live action I would include Return to Oz on the list even though I hate it . It’s too scary, dark and grim.  Not a fan but can’t deny it is very scary Disney!  (I’m also a Wizard of Oz purist.  I love the original and hated, hated, hated, hated every other version that has been made)

Disney Halftime Report Card

blue logo

We are just about to start the Disney Renaissance, have passed the 50 years of Disney mark in the reviews and am at half way through the Disney classics.  So it seemed appropriate to do a little report card of the films I’ve reviewed so far.

At the end of every review I give a grade.  There were only 2 reviews which got 2 grades.  The first was Make Mine Music which I liked on a ‘so bad it’s good level’.  It’s one of the most bizarre cinematic experiences of my life but I can’t say I wasn’t entertained by it.  I’d rather watch a strange failure than a lazy bland movie like Fun and Fancy Free, but that’s just me.  The other double review was The Rescuers because if you can tolerate Medusa it is fine movie.

So with that said, let’s go over my grades:

4 movies received A+

Fantasia

Cinderella

101 Dalmatians

Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

If you had asked me to pick 4 before the project started I don’t think I would have said those 4

6 movies received A

Snow White and 7 Dwarfs

Dumbo

Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad

Alice in Wonderland

Sleeping Beauty

Jungle Book

Only 1 film got an A-

Great Mouse Detective

4 movies received a B+

Pinocchio

Melody Time

Lady and the Tramp

Robin Hood

1 movie received a B-

Bambi

2 movies received a C+

Peter Pan

Fox and the Hound

The Rescuers (for most people)

I look at a C grade as average.  And of course all of these grades are relative to Disney.  I know in the realm of all animation these C’s are not average.  They would be higher when compared with a lot of other pictures.

3 movies received a C

Saludos Amigos

The Black Cauldron

Oliver and Company

2 movies received a C-

Make Mine Music

The Sword in the Stone.

1 movie received a D

The Three Caballeros

3 movies received a D-

Fun and Fancy Free

Aristocats

The Rescuers (for me)

People are always curious to know my favorites and it is such a hard question because I like them all for different reasons.  Even the D’s I’m not sad I watched them.  They aren’t the kind of terrible movies where I want to rip my hair out and hope for death.  Usually I just felt like the tone was off and it wasn’t original or creative enough for me to like.

I will try though. I’ll give a gold, silver and bronze on a few categories.

Best Villain-

Gold- Maleficent

Silver- Lady Tremaine

Bronze- Cruella De Vil

Honorable Mention- Ratigan

Best Artistry-

Gold- Fantasia

Silver- Alice in Wonderland

Bronze- Sleeping Beauty

Favorite Lead Character/Hero-

Gold- Cinderella

Silver- Winnie the Pooh

Bronze- Lady, Lady and the Tramp

Favorite Side Character-

Gold- Baloo the Bear

Silver- Tinker Bell

Bronze- Trusty and Jock from Lady and the Tramp

Even More Minor Characters-

Gold- Timothy Q Mouse, Dumbo

Silver- Jaq and Gus, Cinderella

Bronze- Olivia, Great Mouse Detective

Worst Vocal Performance-

Gold- Gurghi, Black Cauldron

Silver- Snow White

Bronze- Aristocats

Best Vocal Performance-

Gold- Verna Felton- Dumbo, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty etc

Silver- Sterling Holloway- Dumbo, Bambi, Three Cabelleros, Peter and the Wolf, Alice in Wonderland, Jungle Book, Aristocats and of course Winnie the Pooh

Bronze- Phil Harris- Jungle Book, Robin Hood, Aristocats

Strangest Scene- love all these scenes

Gold- Pink Elephants on Parade, Dumbo

Silver- Heffalumps and Woozles, Winnie the Pooh

Bronze- All of Alice in Wonderland

Best Original Score-

Gold- Black Cauldron by Elmer Bernstein

Silver- Bambi by Frank Churchill

Bronze- Jungle Book- Sherman Brothers

Best Song- (this is tough)

Gold- When You Wish Upon a Star by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington

Silver- Bear Necessities by Sherman Brothers

Bronze- Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston

Saddest Moment-

Gold- Snow White’s death and Grumpy crying

Silver- Dumbo Baby of Mine scene

Bronze- Christopher Robin goes to school (I know but it just struck a nerve with me)

Best Comedy-

Gold- Robin Hood

Silver- Peter Pan (the slapstick is very funny)

Bronze- Great Mouse Detective (not a comedy but some good laughs)

Scariest Moment-

Gold- Pleasure Island,  Pinocchio

Silver- Grizzly Bear Scene, Fox and the Hound

Bronze- Headless Horseman, Ichabod and Mr Toad

Cringe-worthy Moment

Gold- Red Man, Peter Pan

Silver- Siamese cats, Lady and the Tramp and Aristocats

Bronze- Bongo, Fun and Fancy Free

Honorable Mention- Every instant love scene but specially Vixey and end of Jungle Book…

Not that Bad (Big problems but not as bad as I expected)

Gold-  Black Cauldron

Silver- Melody Time

Bronze- Saludos Amigos

Film Everyone Else Loves but I Just Liked OK

Gold- Fun and Fancy Free particularly Mickey and the Beanstalk which I thought was lazy.

Silver- Sword in the Stone

Most Sentimental/Corniest Moment

Gold- Fox and the Hound (whole movie but especially the Widow’s poem. I know I’m made of stone)

Most Romantic Moment-

Gold- Spaghetti, Lady and the Tramp

Silver- Phillip and Aurora dancing, Sleeping Beauty

Bronze- Pongo and Perdi, 101 Dalmatians

Grand Champions-

Worst- The Rescuers (just for me and my taste would never want to watch again)

Best- Cinderella

I guess out of the 4 A+ movies I will go with Cinderella.  I have every version of Cinderella I can get on film.  I love the story and Disney pulls it off pretty flawlessly.

Thanks for Reading!

So there you go!  It’s funny we are down to 89 and have 1/2 left.  That old releasing a film every year makes the 90s and 2000’s very productive times for Disney.  Should be a blast.  Please keep up with the blog and let me know if any of these rankings surprised you.

How would you rate your favorites?  I always enjoy a good back and forth with my commentors, especially when we are talking Disney so put your thoughts below!

Movie 9: Fun Fancy Free

Phew!  These package films are rough going.  2 more after this.  The end is in sight…

I think for the first couple I was a little bit nicer than I should have been.  They really are awful but I figured they had little to work with with the war, but I was thinking today recently I watched the Looney Tunes gold collection boxed sets and their golden era was also during the war and they were much more creative and funny and well done than any of these package films.  My thoughts on Looney Tunes can be found here

So, I’m afraid I’m going to be tougher on Fun and Fancy Free, Ichabod and Mr Toad and Melody Time.  I can tell you one thing I have never looked forward to watching Cinderella more in my life.

fun and fancy free poster

But today we are talking about Fun and Fancy Free.  I don’t know if it is better or worse than the other package films or I’m just getting tired of them but certainly it is very thin gruel and in a way Make Mine Music took more chances so was more entertaining.

First of all, the name Fun and Fancy Free is a misnomer because there is nothing fancy or free.  Fun is a toss up.  It consists of two longer animated stories with Jiminy Cricket narrating and then it changes to a party with Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy and kids.

Released in 1947 Fun and Fancy Free was an attempt by Disney to keep the studio afloat after being basically co-opted by the US Government for propaganda films.   However, as I will show later other studios are still producing good animation at this time period so I am less forgiving of that excuse.

I am also so tired of music like this with the choral singing and long swaying loud instrumentals.  It’s so boring and forgettable.  It worked in Bambi because it was used in a few songs that were part of the plot but these 40s choral introductions are the worst. (I guess this is Dinah Shore and I’m not a fan)

Bongo

The first segment Jiminy introduces us to is called Bongo and it is a strange piece of work but where Make Mine Music did strange for 6 minutes this is 30 so it tried my patience more

Bongo is a circus bear that yearns to live in nature outside of his circus cage.  Eventually he breaks free and struggles with the forest where all the bears are three times bigger than Bongo except for one girl he immeditely falls in love with.  bongo

Disney at this point is big on the instant love but that is so boring.  Even for an animated short it is boring.

bongo finds love2But then it takes an unexpected and perplexing turn when the girl bear slaps Bongo as hard as she can.  He feels sad but then he learns that evidently bears in the forest show love for each other when they slap.  There is even a song about it…

I’m sorry Disney but I can’t endorse your Say it with a Slap song unless it’s a Saturday Night Live parody…

So that’s all of Bongo

Then Jiminy gets invited to a birthday party.  And at this party is a little girl, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy (and other puppets).  I know that Bergen is practically the father of ventriloquism and a comedic genius in the minds of many.  However, I don’t think this particular movie is a good showcase of that ability.  I hate to say it but I could see his lips moving every time the puppets spoke.  Sometimes very visibly making the words with his mouth. I wish I could find a clip to show you.

FFF - Edgar Bergen and Luana Patten

Like I said, I’m sure he is brilliant but just not in this movie.  It ends up coming off as kind of strange bordering on creepy.

After chit-chat we get to the best but still frustrating part of the film

Mickey and the Beanstalk

In this piece we tell the story of Jack and the Beanstalk but with Mickey as Jack.   Mickey is living as a farmer in Happy Valley.  They are happy and everything is growing because of a magic harp that plays peaceful music.

The harp is stolen and then the town turns to ruin.  This leaves Mickey, Goofy and Donald with basically no food.  The situation is bleak and low.

whole gang

The starvation makes Donald have crazy eyes and do strange things with a hatchet.

crazy donaldThen Mickey goes and trades the last cow for magic beans which of course become our beanstalk leading the giant who in this film is a big duffas.

Fun_and_Fancy_free_Mickey_Mouse_and_Willie_the_GiantIn a strange choice they decide to make fee, fie, foe, fum a magic spell where the giant can change into anything he wants; although why he picks a giant pink bunny is never really explained.  I might pick a dragon or eagle. Just saying

giant-pink-bunnyMickey and the gang find the harp and need to take it from the giant which they do relatively easily.  And seriously it all resolves in like 5 minutes.    The harp is rescued and Happy Valley is back to it’s happy self.

harp

Oh and the giant ends up in Hollywood looking down at Edgar and the little girl’s party. (A little strange to have a man, little girl, and 2 puppets at a child’s party…)

giant peekingMickey and the Beanstalk is fine but not especially memorable.  Aside from the giant having magic there is no attempt to make it different and even those powers aren’t really used in an interesting way.  If there ever was a phoned in fairy tale this was it.   The only thing that makes it of real note is it is the last time Mickey is voiced by Walt Disney.

To see a much funnier and original version of Jack and the Beanstalk watch the Looney Tunes Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk.

I think most people would agree Looney Tunes for the win.

It’s funnier.  It’s shorter.  It’s stranger.  The iconic characters get more to do.  It’s just more creative and interesting.

So, that’s it for Fun, Fancy Free.  A bear that learns to slap women to show love (great message for kids…) and a 40 minute fairy tale bit that Warner Brothers did better in 7 minutes.

Conclusion-

I hate to say it but this is my least favorite Disney so far. It’s not creative, funny, beautiful or unique.  Bland, bland, bland and the live action sections don’t work and are awkward.

I’m giving this my lowest grade yet D-