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Nightmare Fuel / Pinocchio

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The movie in general is perhaps one of Disney's scariest pictures ever, especially since none of the villains are actually punished for their crimes, thus leaving children with the horrifying idea that not all evil can be beaten and that the world is a dark, cruel place for everybody...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.
  • Adult Fear. Plenty of it!
    • 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.
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    • Add to this the scene where Pinocchio finally does come home, only to find his home abandoned, with no one waiting for him. Pinocchio's first thought is that something terrible has happened to his father.
  • 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. One has to wonder just what in God's name is wrong with the man.
    • The scene where Stromboli drives away, and a thunderstorm starts while all the lifeless puppets sway around on their strings is rather unsettling, looking like strung up corpses in comparison to Pinocchio.
  • The Coachman is one of the very few 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 out about it...
    • The entirety of the scene where the donkeys are being sorted at Pleasure Island. The shadowy, featureless henchmen. The boys, transformed into voiceless beasts of burden, sent off to a life of being abused and worked to death in the salt 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 the last we hear of the Coachman, he drops this little gem:
    Coachman: You boys have had your fun. Now pay for it!
    • And that's not considering The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body in which the boys not only turn into donkeys physically, but mentally as well, which might explain why none of them ever plotted a way to return 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.
      • The aforementioned is debatable as the children seem to remain fully self-aware in spite of their inability to talk, and it could be fear more than anything that keeps them from resisting. However, it doesn't make it any less cruel to know that they are condemned to a life where they can no longer function as humans and have no way of pleading for help from the outside world.
    • This particular Fridge Horror aspect: If you look at the coach taking the children to Pleasure Island, it appears to be pulled by donkeys. It is implied that these are the little boys who can still talk - the Coachman keeps them for grunt work. He is whipping them mercilessly, only adding to his wickedness.
    • The scene of Lampwick's transformation into a donkey is quite possibly the most terrifying scene ever created by Disney (Andreas Deja even compared the staging to an Alfred Hitchcock film). 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 "MAMA! 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 flees 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.
      • Roger Ebert once admitted that this scene was the reason he never smoked a cigar in his life (though he did play pool).
      • Lampwick completely destroying the pool hall with his hind legs, kicking off all of his clothes and thus the last signs of his former humanity. Even worse, at some points even while braying he still sounds like he's screaming for help.
      • The final time Lampwick screams for his mother; you can hear his voice reducing itself to a mere bray as he screams at the top of his lungs. By the time he hits the floor, all he can do is bray helplessly.
      • Lampwick flees the scene immediately after he has transformed, vanishing from sight and leaving his fate unknown. While a deleted scene indicates he was captured just like the others, not including it actually makes things worse; even if he escaped, his life from then on was surely a cruel and horrible existence.
      • The worst part of all about this scene is the moral horror that comes from asking whether Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio should have done anything to rescue the other boys, especially Lampwick. Any way you look at it, there truly was nothing they could do but what they did: even if they hadn't been hopelessly outnumbered (and assuming the island's enchantment didn't have Pinocchio facing a deadline), they had no way to undo the enchantment. Even knowing that the situation was every boy for himself and that he couldn't have saved anyone but himself, the Survivor's Guilt would likely stick to Pinocchio for as long as he lives.
      • There is a hint of real life Nightmare Fuel since the children's fate can be considered applicable to all forms of child exploitation and human trafficking.
      • Adding to that, Pleasure Island is apparently well known enough to have a law against it, and yet the Coachman is still able to take hordes of unsuspecting boys there seemingly every night with no fear of repercussions. A sobering reality of how easy it can be to circumvent any laws made for child protection if one is wicked enough.
  • 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.
    • Depending on your perspective, his uncanny resemblance to the Xenomorph can make him more or less frightening.
    • More horrifying? He's shown to be feared by all creatures of the sea...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.
    • At least nothing like Monstro ever existed in real li...oh wait.
    • When Pinocchio and Geppetto escape, Monstro goes from being a force of nature, to something akin to a Terminator as he goes after them. He's now a merciless enraged machine that cannot feel sympathy, cannot be reasoned with. No animal so fierce doesn't have some regard for its own safety, or let its prey escape even if it proves itself not worth the effort. But Monstro will never stop, he will never give up his prey. NEVER.
      • Its a terrifying example of Swapped Roles, imagine if Moby Dick had the vendetta against Captain Ahab, and was hunting him down, chasing him across the oceans. A nigh-invulnerable sea monster is hot on your heels. Your only hope is to pray by some miracle you reach land... before it catches up with you.
    • Monstro opening his mouth and coming straight at the camera, just as Pinocchio gets Geppetto into the cave.
      • The dreadful prospect of being recaptured by the gigantic monster. He'd ensure there'd be no second escape attempt.
      • If this demonic whale is still alive and out there, after the end, he's now the wrathful Smaug of the oceans. As unnerving as that thought is, the leviathan would never forget or forgive the escapees, not if a thousand years turned him into an island. He can afford to wait. Which means Geppetto and Pinocchio can never go to sea ever again.
    • And to top this all off, at the end of the film we see Pinocchio floating face down in a puddle, apparently dead.
  • 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. It got to the point where Age of Ultron has been popularly cited as the reason why this one didn't get a Diamond Edition release.
  • There's a deleted scene involving Geppetto and Figaro being fustrated over not having food while inside Monstro. Figaro repeatedly tries to eat Cleo and Geppetto is tempted to eat her before quickly snapping out of it.


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