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Nightmare Fuel / Bambi

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Novel

  • The discussions about Man in the novel are truly chilling because, unlike the movie where they only vaguely comment on Man and we never see or hear him, the book goes to great length to show just how alien and terrifying a human is to a wild animal, to the extent that their mere presence—or even the thought of them encountering man, is enough to freeze the animals in fear and make them exercise extreme caution when going through the woods. Their interpretations of what man even is—such as the in-universe stories of him having fire in his body or having a "third hand" that shoots thunder and fire (a gun)—make them seem like horrifying, godlike entities to them.
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  • If you thought the scene where Bambi's mother died was frightening in the movie, the novel made it even worse, because in it, she isn't the only victim of the hunters wrath. The scene is almost like a proto-Predator scene, where many innocent animals, deer, rabbits, bird and even their common enemy the fox are at the mercy of an unseen hunter, all of them scrambling and fleeing in a desperate effort to evade his wrath. And unlike the movie, where the poachers intentions are left ambiguous, his feelings are made crystal clear here—he sadistically laughs the whole time while he's mercilessly slaughtering the animals. And to say nothing of Faline and Aunt Ena's terror when they believe that Gobo, who Bambi was forced to leave behind, was killed and his body was hauled away.
  • In the book, Bambi and his father examine the body of a poacher who has just been shot dead note :
    "Do you see how He's lying there dead, like one of us? Listen, Bambi. He isn't all-powerful as they say. Everything that lives and grows doesn't come from Him. He isn't above us. He's just the same as we are. He has the same fears, the same needs, and suffers in the same way. He can be killed like us, and then He lies helpless on the ground like all the rest of us, as you see Him now."
    There was a silence.
    "Do you understand me, Bambi?" asked the old stag.
    "I think so." Bambi said in a whisper.
    "Then speak." the old stag commanded.
    Bambi was inspired and said trembling, "There is Another who is over us all, over us and over Him."
    • Fun fact: This sequence was storyboarded to be included in the animated movie. Walt Disney himself intervened to say he found it too graphic and wanted it cut. Well, thank the gods for that.
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  • Gobo's death. After a graphic description of his mortal wound ("bloody entrails oozing from his torn flank") Gobo screams in agony as the human, whom he was so certain would be friendly, finishes him off. To top it off, the only deer who actually sees this happen is Gobo's mate.

Bambi (1942)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/forest_fire.jpg
  • The first scene in the meadow, the first appearance of Man. Having been warned that hunters are on the way to kill them all, the herd Bambi belongs to clears out of the meadow rapidly. Except, Bambi hasn't been warned about the terrible danger Man possesses. He has no idea what's happening or why he should be running, and he can't find his mother in the chaos. Before Bambi knows it, he's seemingly the only deer left in the meadow, the only target in plain sight, as Man's theme becomes unbearable tense. Thankfully, the Great Prince doubles back and rescues him, but it's very apparent what would have happened to Bambi if his father had been a few seconds slower. He was only a few months old at the time and he was already almost killed.
  • Do we need to say it? The mother's death, while sad, is also kind of creepy in that it happens offscreen. A whole generation of kids was traumatized. Now, movies for kids don't always sugar-coat reality nor should they start now, but the death of a parent is quite disturbing to any child. This one is fairly famous for all the denial associated therewith. Apparently, they were going to show Bambi's mother lying in a pool of blood, but they decided that would be far too traumatizing.
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    • What helps make it work is the build-up. The music switches to chilling strings, like out of Jaws, and is followed by Bambi's mother looking bolt upright and scanning the area with wide open eyes, before she tells Bambi to run, suggesting she didn't even spot Man herself. These two elements combine to create a building feeling that something is wrong.
  • After Faline licks his cheek, Bambi imagines himself prancing around in the clouds.. and then suddenly, Ronno jumps out of the cloud instead of Faline, starting a fight. He came outta nowhere, destroying the Imagine Spot and even accompanied by a Scare Chord.
    • Just Ronno as a whole. He says nothing, but just glares a big hateful hole through Bambi before deciding to take Faline, whether she wants him or not, forcing her into the darkness before Bambi intervenes. He's even creepier after watching the Interquel, knowing he's gone from merely an arrogant brat to a sinister hulking stag out of bitter jealousy and resentment towards Bambi.
    • Ronno arrives to steal Faline away from Bambi. Faline's not interested, but Ronno's not taking no for an answer and he starts shoving her into the bushes. Thankfully, Bambi steps in, because whatever Ronno had in store for her, it couldn't have been good. Keep in mind, this is still a family film, where the main character saves his would-be girlfriend from attempted deer rape.
    • Something that might be scarier? Bambi was following Faline into the territory of Ronno, this is how bucks begin fights over potential mates. Had they been in a different part of the forest, they could have entered the territory of a more powerful buck that could have killed Bambi, as bucks will sometimes fight to the death for a doe.
  • The forest fire.
  • There's also the scene where Bambi wakes up in the middle of the night, walks through the forest and looks down a cliff showing Man's camp. It doesn't help that the music playing in the background is downright chilling.
    • Not to mention the fact that the scene shows Bambi and Faline sleeping. Bambi wakes up the moment the music begins in 0:11.
    • Moreover, the way Bambi's father talks about them is downright chilling; his tone is forlorn and resigned, as though he had hoped that they would never come back, but knew that they would and dreaded that day. He sounds like he's describing some alien, unstoppable force and that all they can do is hide.
      King of the Forest: It is Man. He is here again. There are many this time. We must go deep into the forest. Hurry! Follow me!
  • The scene where three birds are hiding from the hunters in the bush and one of them gets scared, flies up and gets shot and the body falling down to ground is shown.
    • Here's a fun fact: The music that plays for that scene? John Williams was inspired by it for another famous movie score...
    • The last thing that poor bird says just before it happens...
      Bird: He's almost here...I CAN'T STAND IT ANY LONGER!
      • It doesn't help that it looks like her head was blown off.
    • The most obvious Tear Jerker also overlaps with this.
    • It'll cause a good bit of discomfort if you're an actual hunter because that really is how you hunt birds if you dont sit in a sniper nest the whole time. You move around the area where you think the birds are hiding slooooowly, and eventually, they'll freak out and try to make a break for it, and that's when you got them. It's unpleasant to think about but you have to lure them out somehow...
  • The dogs that pursue Faline. Made even more unsettling by the fact that they don't look or move entirely like normal dogs; the animators modeled their appearance and movements on panthers, presumably for that extra dose of creepiness. Some even have inverted eyes, making them look extra demonic.
    • The dogs also manage to get a few good bites on Bambi when he comes to fight them. Only Bloodless Carnage prevents visible injuries from being seen.
  • You never actually see the hunters at all, not even the one who kills Bambi's mother. You just see how the animals see it. And when several hunters go out in force at the climax, every forest animal is sent scattering in all directions for their lives.
    • At one point, while Bambi is searching for Faline, he spots one of the hunters (who is offscreen). Bambi has just enough time to sprint away before a shot is fired where his head had been moments earlier.

Bambi II (2006)

Go to film's page.


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