"Disney scared the pants off of me when I was a little kid. Disney needs to scare kids!"
— Warren Spector on why he made Epic Mickey the way it is.
Disney is for kids, right? Well, yeah, it is (usually).note Before you toss bricks at us, adults can enjoy it as well. Disney is Family Entertainment, after all. But that doesn't mean that they can't scare the pants off of you with moments that were meant to frighten said audience. And there's adult Disney works too.
These moments might not be as scary as, say, this, that or the other but still...
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: The last 15 minutes of the Sleepy Hollow segment is all about the mental shock-and-trauma. Not only do we have Brom Bones's ultra-creepy song to put Ichabod on edge, Icky then has to trek home through a Forrest O'Doom where everything seems to want to kill him. And then something wants to kill him. And it does. "And some don't even wear their skin!!"
David Hall's early concept art for Alice in Wonderland shown in various books and the DVD documentary Reflections On Alice. The Cheshire Cat has a mouth of pointy shark-like teeth and horrifically staring eyes, The baby's morph into the pig is horrific, the Mad Hatter and March Hare chase Alice with a large pair of scissors and a knife respectively, Alice is about to be decapitated by a grinding gear that may as well flay her, and it's all drawn in a horribly grotesquely realistic, ghastly style."Someone's head's gonna roll for this!!!"
To quote website Topless Robot, here's two of the scenes that Disney cut out of the movie:
In one of these missing shots, an undead warrior spawned by the title cauldron gorily slices through an unsuspecting villager. In the other, one of the villain's more disposable henchmen gets a dose of cauldron-born mist and dissolves quite messily.note A rare animation cel that depicts the latter scene can be viewed here◊.
A Christmas Carol 2009. The epitome of this actually comes before The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come. The Ghost Of Christmas Present ages rapidly as the night progresses, and begins decaying realistically. The children "Ignorance" and "Want" appear, looking like vampires. They also grow older, morphing into representations of the fates that commonly befall the poor: the boy becomes a knife-wielding thief (who tries to stab Scrooge), then a prisoner behind iron bars; the girl turns into a bedraggled prostitute, then is bound in a straightjacket. All the while, they repeat the statements Scrooge made about the poor. And through the whole thing, Christmas Present is laughing. His skull even laughs. This is one Disney movie you should not take your 5-year-old kids to see.
Cinderella: The scene where the stepsisters rip Cinderella's homemade ball gown to shreds and when the Evil Stepmother locks Cinderella in her room.
Darkwing Duck: DarkWarrior Duck. Behind the cartoonish comedy, the bright colors and the hammy over-the-top performance and you'll see a man who has become so consumed by his grudges and madness that a big city has to suffer. If the big and scary-looking war machines he uses don't scares you than his new and terrifying appearance, his red eyes and angry-looking face will do it, and if not even that than the fact that he sends people into jail for years for such petty thing as jaywalking will do it. And if his entrance wasn't enough to make it clear what something is wrong with Mallard's head, than Launchpad will make it clear when he tells his story on how he got fired from the sidekick job because he though they "should arrest the crooks before giving them the electric chair". And then you'll ask where Negaduck went, or where the other heroes of St. Canard, including Morgana, went, or why the democratic government would allow one man having totalitarian control of a city inside their borders, Joseph Stalin style, without trying to take him out. And it ain't stopping there; when Darkwarrior Duck gets his hands on Quackerjack's time machine, he's planning to use it to go back in time so that he can rewrite the Code of Hammurabi so that even "being cranky in the morning" will be punishable by death. It would make the medieval juridical system look humane in comparison. Or go back right at the time when the evolution of landwalking animals is being started, and then delaying it until he would get "few rules straight". But the moment when Drake Mallard's insanity hits the high point is when he aims a missile launcher right at his daughter just some few inches from her face, with a closeness enough to get himself blown up as well if he pulls the trigger, while angrily rants on her past "criminal tendencies". Sure he don't pulls the trigger but Darkwarrior Duck's Knight Templar personality was so great that it made the Justice Lords look like your friendly neighbourhood patrol police officers. They at least had the mercy enough to just lobotomize the supervillains, and not even Negaduck was this extreme when he found out his daughter had turned against him.
Launchpad's future vision of Darkwing's death in "Heavy Mental." Not only do we get to see Darkwing get crushed to death, but it's topped off by the villains of the episode standing over and suddenly laughing as their faces transform into grotesque abominations.
Twinkle the Marvel Horse: But I didn't even get to the part about the shrieking maggots of grief, yet.
The breakdown from "Der Fuehrer's Face". "Education For Death" is even worse: a short where a little boy becomes a Nazi and lives a crappy dystopia life before dying at the end of the film. The really scary part is how close this was to the reality...
Donald Duck's breakdown in the "Mickey and the Beanstalk" segment of Fun and Fancy Free. Surrounded by death, no possible source of food beyond the bit of bread and beans, and absolutely no hope. He freaks out and tries to eat his plate and silverware. Mickey and Goofy almost have to strangle him to get him to stop. Then he sees the cow they own and goes Ax Crazy on it in an attempt to kill it. The scariest things about these scenes weren't Donald suddenly going mad or his murderous impulses, but the realism of said portrayal. Donald's insanity is the result of desperate starvation due to an extreme famine, and it's a common fact that desperation due to near-death situations usually brings out the most violent, ugliest sides of human nature.
You wouldn't expect the Disney version of a popular story to be the most graphic version, but that's what happened with Mickey's Christmas Carol. When Scrooge (played by Scrooge McDuck, naturally) is in the graveyard scene with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the Ghost shoves Scrooge into his own open grave. The bottom of the grave then begins to open up, and smoke and fire begin wafting up from it. A terrified Scrooge begins scrambling up the sides of the grave to try and get out, but the Ghost doesn't let him. The Ghost then takes off his hood and reveals himself as Big Bad Pete, Mickey Mouse's Arch-Enemy. We're then treated to a bone-rattling scene of Pete laughing hysterically as the bottom of the grave completely falls away to become a pit of fire and brimstone, with Scrooge frantically begging for his life and trying to avoid falling into the pit. Most other adaptations typically only have Scrooge dying alone and unmourned, or suffering some sort of Laser-Guided Karma for being such an asshole (the adaptations done by The Jetsons and Animaniacs, for instance) but the Disney one is the only version of the story that actually shows Scrooge at the risk of burning in hell.
Cruella De Vil has some pretty scary moments. Maybe the worst is when she drives right at the camera with this face◊, but there's also the scene where the dogs are hiding in an old shed and she suddenly drives past really slowly, glaring in the window. Turned Up to Eleven when she comes back shortly thereafter, going the other way.
Pongo and Perdita's attack on Horace and Jasper. It's supposed to be epic, but they look scary!
Jasper: What have we got here? A couple of spotted hyenas?
The scene where Muntz knocks over the flight caps of all the people he has ostensibly killed.
And the fact that he wants to murder a child, and we see it explicitly shown, not just by trying to drop him off the side of the house, or something, but with a realistic looking rifle. Pixar actually made a kids' film where a creepy old man tries to shoot a little kid.
"An old man taking his house to Paradise Falls... (drops a helmet which rolls over to hit Carl's chair) and that's the best one yet. I can't wait to hear how it ends." *insert creepy Slasher Smile here*
Similarly, the "Rock-a-Bye Pooh Bear" episode of The New Adventures Of Winniethe Pooh in which a tornado or hurricane or something strikes and carries everyone away in increasingly convoluted ways, leaving poor Piglet all alone when it passed. Scary as they were being carried away, and scary when it passed and everything was too calm. And it was more or less focusing on Piglet because he's the one who'd be the most frightened in such a situation.
In "Luck Amok", Tigger tries to hide Piglet from seven years of bad luck by hiding him in an isolated refuge for seven years, which is topped by a lightning rod because "lightning will be afraid to come around". However, a lightning bolt strikes the rod, which destroys the entire refuge, leaving only Piglet. This leaves Piglet extremely traumatized and spends the rest of the episode muttering to himself with a terrified look on his face.
At one point, two heffalumps extend their noses like accordions and proceed to play the (already terrifying) main melody of the song in a very slow, much higher pitch. The resulting sound effect turns out like Death's violin in G major.
Not to mention the bit where a heffalump is walking behind a honey pot (which, itself, is walking onhumanlegs). She removes the lid with her trunk and it laughs/cries (?) hysterically until she puts the lid back on. What was that all about!?