Disney movies based on seriously dark stories (Part I)


Disney movies are big business in Hollywood, precisely because audiences know exactly what they're getting. You want singing, dancing animals? You got 'em! You want year after year of continuously disappointing ‘Star Wars’ sequels? You got that, too! Ever since Walt Disney first picked up a battered old copy of Cinderella, read the scene where the ugly stepsisters hack off parts of their own feet to fit them in the glass slipper, and said “you know what? This would make an awesome kids’ film,” Disney movies have been borrowing their plots from some seriously dark places.

Everyone in the Hunchback of Notre Dame dies horribly

It is a family film about singing gargoyles and how Hollywood can't let an ugly dude get the girl even in his own movie. Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris is a weighty 19th-century French tome about how monsters can lurk inside us all. If that sentence is making you wonder how anyone could make a feel-good animation from it, you're not the only one. Disney jettisoned most of the novel when they brought it to screen in 1996. Good job, too. Hugo's book is nightmarish.

Pinocchio kills Jiminy Cricket

The story of a puppet who wants to be a real boy, Pinocchio has both charmed generations of kids who identify with its naughty protagonist and traumatised generations more with that super-screwed up scene where children start turning into donkeys. Had Walt Disney done a completely faithful adaptation of Carlo Collodi's 1881 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, he'd have traumatised plenty of adults, too. Forget growing a pair of unexpected donkey ears, the original Pinocchio features the puppet killing his own best friend.

Oliver and Company's breathtakingly anti-semitic origins

Usually, any Disney movie made from a book winds up becoming the definitive version. That's not the case with Oliver and Company, a 1988 film that took Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and turned all the characters into cats and dogs. Well, almost all of them. Villain Bill Sikes is still human, as is lovable rascal Fagin. All of which brings us to the problem with Dickens' original story. In the novel, Fagin is less "lovable rascal" than he is "evil Jewish stereotype" – (via the Telegraph).

to be continued...