It is featured in the finale of the 1940 film Fantasia, and conducted by the late Leopold Stokowski. The story that goes with the piece, written by Mussorgsky describes a sabbath of witches worshiping Satan and the witness to the events.
Because of the story, many people associate this work with Hallowe'en; the sabbat it describes actually takes place on Midsummer's Eve/St. John's Eve (June 23rd in the Gregorian calendar, July 6th in the Julian).
This work provides examples of the following tropes:
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: Near the end, the loud, ominous music is interrupted by a single tolling church bell, winding down into a soft finish for the song. In the Fantasia segment, the church bell prompts the retreat of Chernobog the Dark God and his ghouls; the bell denotes his doom. Mussorgsky himself intended the ringing of the church bell as breaking up the witches' sabbat described by the piece; witches and evil spirits traditionally could not bear the sound of consecrated bells.
- Hellgate: The music evokes a witches' sabbath, garnered by Satan himself.
- Monster-Shaped Mountain: The Bald Mountain, where Satan dwells. In Fantasia it is implied that the top of it is actually him hiding behind his wings.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The music is very creepy and brilliantly evokes the idea of a witches' sabbath on a mountain during midnight.
- Rearrange the Song: Mussorgsky's original score was reworked by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and is nowadays always performed in this version.
- The piece itself has been rearranged in more modern times too, including in a synthesizer version by Isao Tomita, as Night On Disco Mountain, and in the Hamilton and Neon Sabbath mixes in Fantasia: Music Evolved.