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YMMV: The Black Cauldron

  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Gurgi sacrifices himself to destroy the Cauldron Born Army, but he is resurrected.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Despite all the build up the character had, the Horned King doesn't put up much of a fight before he is sucked into the cauldron: He lunges unarmed at Taran and grabs him, showing no display of powers or fighting abilities whatsoever, and is killed when Taran pushes him in the general direction of the cauldron.
  • Complete Monster: The Horned King, a dark, terrifying, power-hungry lich tyrant with a god complex and absolutely No Sense of Humor (a rare case for a Disney villain which makes him more creepy). He plans to obtain the powers of the eponymous Cauldron in order to raise an army of undead skeletons to rule the world and so destroy thousands of human lives. He stops at nothing to achieve his goal, even if it means kidnapping and/or killing an innocent girl or a harmless little pig, or harvesting his own perfectly loyal men to make more skeletal warriors. When it seems the Cauldron might need another body he immediately decides to sacrifice his most sycophantic servant to it. He also has a bit of an ego to him since his motive behind conquering the world is forcing all of humanity to worship him as a god. Because the mindless Cauldron Born turn their enemies into more of themselves, he's planning to turn the world into a graveyard so he can be king of the dead if he can't be king of the living.
  • Counterpart Comparison: With Link. Predating The Legend of Zelda by a year, Taran wears clothes and carries a sword strikingly similar to those of Link in his very early years. Plus looting dungeons, working well with animals, wielding a magic sword, having to stop a very old Big Bad from getting an artifact of great power, and breaking lots of pots. Also, Eilonwy seems to be this to Zelda.
    • Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis seem to have taken inspiration from Gurgi's voice and mannerisms...
  • Cult Classic: One of the few films in Disney Animated Canon to earn this
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The Horned King. Even if the movie failed at the box office and is one of the lesser known Disney feature films, The Horned King is a cult favorite within the Disney fandom and many times is compared with the likes of Maleficent and Chernabog. Probably the only reason why this movie is his only appearance within the Disney universe is because he's Nightmare Fuel incarnate and so would traumatize younger viewers in further appearances. Fans have even already demanded Disney to let The Horned King to make a main appearance in future Kingdom Hearts games. Being played by John Hurt probably has quite a bit to do with it. He had a cameo in House of Mouse, for what that's worth.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In France, it was the fifth greatest success of 1985.
    • And Japanese Love the Horned King: Popular enough to appear in several video games as the Final Boss and to be the center of the Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour at Tokyo Disneyland. Heck, if anything, he's a constant throw in for a possible Kingdom Hearts villain for what it's worth.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Most of the violence and death in the movie (both what was allowed to be shown and what was left on the cutting room floor) these days wouldn't be out of place on Cartoon Network's Adventure Time.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The Horned King's theme music is frightening—until that theremin kicks in and makes the sound of a B-movie slide whistle.
  • Older Than They Think: Everyone seems to think The Little Mermaid's Ariel started the trend of assertive Disney heroines — see the Rebellious Princess entry. But it started with Eilonwy here. Glen Keane, who later made Ariel, even designed her.
    • Same with Taran and three-dimensional Disney characters; he has a very flawed personality, but because of that, a very human one.
  • Quality by Popular Vote: it could be argued that the film has suffered from this. Because it was unpopular in the theaters, it's been severely underrated. Although there is good reason it was unpopular in theaters. Many, if not all, characters in the movie are considered to be the Scrappies of the Disney Universe, with Gurgi and Creeper being the most universal. It doesn't help that the plotting and pacing of the movie is quite inconsistent and it seems to lack a proper theme.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Gurgi, once he makes his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Squick: Orwen's unsettling attraction to Fflewddur.
  • Toy Ship: Eilonwy and Taran.
  • True Neutral: The three witches. They're more concerned with serving their own goals than getting involved in the war between good and evil happening just outside their swamp. It's possible that this is the very reason they were appointed to guard the Black Cauldron in the first place—they have no interest in using it, only having it, and it's apparently completely safe from the Horned King so long as it's theirs. The only nasty thing they do is transform people into frogs and eat them, but judging by their actions, it's possible they only do that to intruders.
  • Ugly Cute: Creeper.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Most definitely not. Or at least not originally intended to be before the Executive Meddling. Adverts lured kids in with a light-hearted fantasy adventure of wonder and magic. The actual product is nothing like that. Still didn't stop it from getting a Universal - suitable for everyone rating in the UK though (it got a PG rating in the US). Yeah... you might wanna run that classification check through again guys.
  • The Woobie: Gurgi, to some.

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