The movie in general is perhaps Disney's scariest picture ever,
especially since none of the villains are actually punished for their crimes. Thus leaving children with the horrifying realization that not all evil can be beaten and that the world will always remain a dangerous place for them...note
- When Pinocchio gets the tip of his finger burned at the beginning—and can't feel it. In the book, he slept too close to a fire and woke up to find his feet burned away.
- Especially when you get older and have kids of your own: Geppetto sends Pinocchio off to school, hoping that he will have a nice day. And then all kinds of horrible things happen to him that seem to come out of parents' worst fears and nightmares: he is lured off by two strangers, exploited by a traveling entertainer, forced into slave labour, sent to a place where bad behaviour like drinking, smoking and vandalism is encouraged and almost transformed into something that would make identification by police officers who search for this lost boy impossible. All this makes the scenes where Geppetto is waiting desperately in vain until Pinocchio gets home all the more unnerving.
- Stromboli◊ was particularly frightening, especially telling Pinocchio when he's worn-out he'll make good firewood...and then throwing an axe at a (fortunately lifeless) puppet.
- The Coachman is one of the only Disney villains to be a complete Karma Houdini. For all we know, he could still be turning kids into donkeys and selling them off to the circus, salt mines, etc. Sometimes evil gets away scot-free kids!
- The face the Coachman makes as he says those last two lines rivals the face from Inland Empire in pants-soiling scariness. Specifically the line: "They never come back... as BOYS! " Along with that Wario-esque pants wetting inducing Slasher Smile right when he says "BOYS!"
- That face? His skin turns red and the tufts of hair become pointed, like horns. Does that remind you of anything?
- The whole concept of Pleasure Island, an amusement park that's actually a trap for unsuspecting little boys! Even Honest john and Foulfellow are freaked about it...
- The entirety of the scene where the donkeys are being sorted at Pleasure Island. The shadowy, featureless henchmen. The little children, transformed into voiceless beasts of burden, sent off to a life of being abused and worked to death in the coal mines. The ones who can still talk in the holding pen, crying and begging to be returned to their families. Pinocchio was likely the only boy who ever escaped.
- This particular Fridge Horror aspect: If you look at the coach taking the children to Pleasure Island, it appears to be pulled by donkeys. Thus, little boys are kidnapped and changed into donkeys, losing everything they ever loved in life and on top of that, some are forced to pull the coach of the man who changed them in the first place and carry other children so that they can share the same monstrous fate as themselves. (In the book, this is definitely stated.)
- We never quite find out just what happens to the donkey-boys who can still talk... Cue Fridge Horror, people!
- The Transformation Trauma inducing scene: Lampwick's transformation into a donkey. Especially his voice changing into braying while crying "Mama!" What makes it worse is that Lampwick is not initially aware of it, while Pinocchio is slowly becoming unnerved by the scene (initially believing it to be caused by heavy drinking or smoking), and once Lampwick realizes what's going on, he utterly breaks down and begs Pinocchio to help him before eventually being reduced into a braying, wild ass. Pinocchio leaves in horror before he can suffer the same fate. No other adaptation has ever tried to bring this element to the transformation as it is far too disturbing.
- Monstro, that enormous whale. Getting chased and devoured by something at LEAST 500 feet long is horrifying. Plus, he has at least two of those intense chase scenes! Especially the scene where he charges right at the viewer.
- Pinocchio floating lifeless face down in the puddle, after saving his father from Monstro.