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Nightmare Fuel / The Fox and the Hound

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Nothing can do Death Glares like furious animals.

From the novel

  • Tod and Copper's personalities, for some. Their very inhuman priorities and morals (or lack thereof) pitch some readers into a case of Too Bleak, Stopped Caring.
  • The effects of rabies and strychnine on their victims. And the way strychnine just keeps passing up the food chain. Both are made all the more awful by being chilling Truth in Television.
    • The rabies outbreak is almost like a zombie outbreak, the way the foxes and other animals slowly succumb to agonizing illness and mindless aggression.
    • That's not far from the truth. Rabies attacks the brain and central nervous system. By the time the "mindless aggression" stage happens, most of what we would consider one's mind is simply gone, eaten by the virus.
  • A lot of Tod's closer shaves with death are horrifying. In particular, he gets a few close calls when he learns about steel traps, but always figures out ways to spring them safely, and begins to make a game out of doing so. Then one day he pushes his luck too far, is fooled by a new bit added onto a trap to make it spring easily, and gets caught. He escapes and keeps his foot, but not without essentially ripping himself free, and he's slightly crippled from that point on.
    • Later on, his first mate is also caught in a trap, and doesn't get out again.
  • Tod's death. He's not shot, not caught in a trap, not ripped apart by dogs. He's chased for more than 24 hours by Copper, until he drops dead of exhaustion moments before Copper even reaches his body.
  • The death of Tod's first litter. His biggest pup gets into the habit of stealing chickens, and draws the ire of a farmer, who calls on Copper's master to help. They find the den, and pump car exhaust into it. Since there's only one tunnel, it's a death trap.

From the Disney film

  • Despite being, for the most part, Lighter and Softer compared to the original novel, The Fox and the Hound has no shortage of disturbing moments such as animals being left behind, vicious bears and a frighteningly realistic villain (though, he's more of an Anti-Villain than an actual villain, Amos still has to qualify). What with this and all of the large amounts of disturbing moments on display, it makes one wonder how this movie managed to get a G-rating from the MPA.
  • That confrontation just before the scene with the bear. And of course, the bear itself.
    • In particular, right after Amos wounds the bear's shoulder. It roars in pain, then looks down at Amos with a Death Glare and a Slasher Smile that the Joker would be proud of. Instead of "just" an angry bear, they now have an enraged bear to deal with.
    • Copper getting mercilessly swatted by the bear is pretty brutal, even for Disney. So brutal in fact, that even Tod, the fox he's been tracking down is horrified to see his childhood friend nearly getting killed in a vicious fight. It truly is a relief that he nobly decided to rush in and save his friend.
    • It gets even scarier on Amos' end: That was a protected forest, so he was never supposed to be there in the first place. There wouldn't be any other people for miles around. He is essentially Alone with the Psycho in the middle of the wilderness, with this bear who could snap his bones like toothpicks. The look of sheer, utter terror that comes over his face as he sees the bear emerge from its den and loom up over him on its hind feet speaks volumes. Thank goodness Copper was there to come to the rescue!
    • The bear chasing Tod just adds to the terror. Tod bravely ran to save Copper, but despite biting and yanking the bear's ear, all he does is divert his attention before he's thrown off. And as he chases the fox, the bear shows what a monster he is as he uproots a dead tree with a causal swat. As Tod runs up the mountain, he trips and has to dart in between the bear's legs to avoid getting hit. The bear seems to get more annoyed and tries to bite Tod, misses, and the impact breaks off bits of stone.
  • Combined with Tear Jerker: Big Mama sings a song about how Copper is going to become a hunter, which Tod must be wary of. The song is dark enough, but the situation becomes darker when Dicky and Boomer open Amos’ shed to show Tod a wall of animal pelts.
  • The confrontation between Tod and Copper at the den. You want to see what a real Death Glare looks like? That kind of snarl is not a bluff or a threat. That is the face of an animal signaling its intent to defend something to the death and no less.
  • The first time Tod is discovered by Chief, it leads to a lengthy chase that escalates to Amos taking a few shots at him before Widow Tweed finally intervenes. It may be a bit intense for the young fox, but it's mostly played for laughs. Once Tod has grown up though, and Chief discovers him yet again while he's trying to talk to Copper, all sense of comedy is gone, and Chief and Amos are out for blood.
    • The scenes before both of the above chases are pretty tense, with Tod basically tiptoeing around Chief while on Amos' property. Chief kicks off the second chase in particular with a very effective Jump Scare.
  • Chief getting hit by the oncoming train in his obsessive effort to kill Tod. Even Amos is shouting at him to get out of the way, and all Chief can do is look upon the train in sheer terror as he realizes his mistake far too late, and is sent flying into the ravine below, much to Copper's grief. It truly is a miracle (or rather, Executive Meddling from the higher ups working on the film) that the worst he suffered was a busted leg. Unfortunately, it also triggers Copper's newfound hatred for Tod as he vows revenge for his father figure's brush with death.
    Coper: "Tod! If it's the last thing I do, I'll get you for this!"
  • There's something particularly adult about the way Amos and Copper confront Tweed at her door and demand Tod's head. Amos has always been aggressive, but never to this level. Have you ever had an older man, taller and stronger than you, gun in hand, trying to force his way into your home? It's worrying to its logical extreme, even discounting the fact that they're there for the closest thing Tweed has to a child. Just look at her expression when she's got her back against the door blocking Amos outside; this isn't sustainable, and she bloody well knows it.
  • Dinky and Boomer getting electrocuted is jarring, especially if you're a bird lover as it frequently happens to birds in real life. Thank goodness this instance was just Played for Laughs.
  • Not as blatant of an example as Bambi, but the film has its scenes of portraying the terror forest animals must feel upon being targeted by a human and his hound. There's the chilling opening scene where Nothing Is Scarier as you never see the dog chasing the fox, only its haunting barks and howls that never stops following her no matter how fast or far she runs, until she is finally driven into the hunter's line of sight and killed. Later in the film when Amos and Copper are searching for Tod in the reservation, another haunting melody plays in the background as Copper is tracking through the woods, with the occasional shot of animals hiding as they see him. There's also a pretty terrifying score playing the second time Chief chases Tod.
    • The scene where Tod treks through the copse where Copper and Amos laid waiting is just as eerie. Despite Tod not realizing he was being hunted and the copious amounts of bear traps that lied in wait for him, the unnerving silence and shadiness of the whole brush (as Vixie warned) is enough to visibly put him on edge. He gets so unnerved at one point that he pauses (just vicinal of Amos and Copper's hiding spot) as if somehow sensing the imminent danger. Then Tod hears the one perilous noise he knows better than any animal in the reserve: the cocking of a rifle; this causes Tod to immediately start doubling back and he just narrowly avoids get his feet caught in the beartraps as they're set off.
  • Tod and Vixey almost being burnt alive.
  • Just the way the movie opens itself is enough to instill a sense of foreboding dread in the viewer. It opens on an Ominous Fog-shrouded screen with no music at all, apart from a low, keening wind that just sounds cold before the film's title card appears on the screen, which itself lends to the opening's ominous atmosphere. Something about the font and its color, which is so similar in tone to the fog in the background it feels as if the title is forming out of the fog itself, just sets your hair on end, and lets you know right from the get-go that this is not going to be your standard happy-go-lucky Disney film.