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Nightmare Fuel / Classic Disney Shorts

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Even in those charming seven minute cartoons, Disney sometimes managed to scare the audience.

1928

  • Steamboat Willie: While not as bad as other examples, Mickey torturing animals, so that their sounds can be used as musical sounds, is somewhat disturbing.

1929

  • The Skeleton Dance: The entire short is creepy, but especially the two shots where the skeleton jumps at the camera and seems to devour it.
  • The Haunted House: Especially when the head grim reaper skeleton is revealed. Oddly, it is referred to as “ma’am”, although it has a male voice.
    “PLAAAAAY!” “I c-can’t play.” “PLAAAAAY!” “Y-yes, ma’am.” “PLAAAAAY...”
  • Hell's Bells: A 1929 cartoon about Hell. In the opening scenes a big fat spider with teeth swings back and forth and snaps at the viewer.

1930

  • The Fire Fighters: features a scene where Minnie is seen coughing up smoke and nearly suffocating.
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  • The way the Pluto-prototype bloodhounds in "The Chain Gang" loudly bark up close to the screen.

1932

  • Not only does the witch in Babes in the Wood have a potion that can turn children into animals, but she also has a potion that can turn living things to stone. However, the end, where she falls in it and the boy-turned-cat-turned-stone-cat-statue not only becomes a boy again, but ceases to be a stone statue, negates the scariness value.

1933

1934

  • Gulliver Mickey, where Mickey has to fight off a giant spider who bears a canny resemblance to Pegleg Pete.

1935

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1938

1942

  • The Winged Scrounge: A 1942 propaganda cartoon about fighting off malaria. Complete with a shot where a giant mosquito is peering down over a house and chilling voiceover lines like, "Little does he suspect he's to be the victim of this bloodthirsty vampire!" and, after all is said and done, describing the mosquito as "this tiny criminal, which has assumed the proportions of a monster!"

1943

  • Chicken Little: The very disturbing ending where the fox devours every chicken, duck and turkey. When the narrator asks him "Hey that's not the way the story is supposed to end!", the fox just calmly tells him not to believe everything he reads.
    • Made more disturbing when you think about what it would be like to be in their shoes, panicking, crowded, trapped in a dark cave with a large (to them) carnivore that going to kill and eat them all, and they can't do a thing about it, and no help is coming.
  • Education for Death: Has its own page.

1946

  • Peter and the Wolf: The wolf itself is the main source of scary moments.
    • The first appearance of it is especially scary, with its theme playing in the background at the beginning as it snows and we hear Sterling Holloway’s ominous line, “There is also a wolf” after introducing the characters and the instruments they’re portrayed with. Then we see the wolf's footprints in the snow, the camera travels through the woods where we see a silhouette of something between the trees, then more trees group together, then the camera fades to the end of the trees and then it comes out from behind the trees and roars at the audience.

1952

  • The green and purple mansions burning to the ground in The Little House. In the same scene, somebody yells out a bloodcurdling "THE ALARM! SOUND THE ALARM!". Miraculously, the Little House, situated right between the two, survives (albeit with some damages done).

1954


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