Nightmare Fuel: Pinocchio
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 whole concept of Pleasure Island, an amusement park that's actually a trap for unsuspecting little boys! Even Honest John and Gideon are freaked about it...
- The entirety of the scene where the donkeys are being sorted at Pleasure Island. The shadowy, featureless henchmen. The little boys, 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 one who ever escaped.
- And that's not considering The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body in which the boys not turn into donkeys physically but mentally as well which might explain why none of them ever plotted a way to turn to normal and gang up against the Coachman. The reason some of those donkeys are heard talking while the rest just bray... they're probably the ones who still remember how to talk.
- 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!
- We know that another one of them besides Pinocchio eventually escaped and made friends with an ogre!
- The scene of Lampwick's transformation into a donkey is quite possibly the most terrifying scene ever created by Disney. Especially his reaction to finding out he's become a donkey. And instead of just braying, he sounds like he's hyperventilating. Even worse is that he screams out "MAAAAMAAAAA!!!!" 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.
- In the book, he does suffer the same fate.
- Lampwick flees the scene immediately after he has transformed, vanishing from sight and leaving his fate unknown. Naturally one must assume that the terrified boy must have been captured offscreen to be sold off along with all the other boys rounded up earlier.
- 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.
- More horrifying? He's stated to be feared by all creatures of the sea...what if this includes badasses like Godzilla and Cthulhu? Oh, and apparently, he's big enough to eat entire ships. No matter how big, or well-armed a ship was at the time, it could not escape Monstro.
- Pinocchio floating lifeless face down in the puddle, after saving his father from Monstro.
- A meta example came in 2014/2015 when "I've Got No Strings" got a Dark Reprise as Ultron's theme for Avengers: Age of Ultron, which became an instant nightmare meme regarding robotics.