During his more than 90 years of historyDisney has produced some of the most important and popular animated films in history. Starting with ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937) through ‘Frozen 2’ (2019), his films depict the quintessential family cinema. However, thanks to Disney + we can see that in its extensive archive there are some films that are not what we consider Pure Disney.
The house of the mouse has also had a study that goes beyond the live action versions of his classics. Some of them are famous for having scared children of all generations. Others have been little promoted or forgotten for the same reason. Especially in the early 1980s, a time when Disney was experimenting with diversification of its content and material, and as a result some cult pieces remained. We review its dark history through 13 classics and we see if they are available or not in Disney +.
The fourth wish (Darby O'Gill and the Little People, 1959)
A movie classic Disney family, with fantasy, cute dwarfs and Irish myths. But of course, within these are also the banshee and the death cart. They both make an appearance in two scenes that could perfectly be somewhere classic hammer of the time. Especially creepy is the climax, when old Darby must face his fate, ride the wagon that takes souls beyond, and terrifying green specter of the Banshee, a soul in pain that appears as a glowing covert spirit.
It would not be so shocking if it were not otherwise a bright and pleasant film designed for children, but the shock appears when we see that the legends of fear are also true. It has a lot of Irish stereotypes, but it is a small wonder that includes a young man Sean Connery pre-bond. Its director, Robert Stevenson, would direct other classics such as ‘Mary Poppins’ (1964) and ‘The Novice Witch’ (Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971), whose climax with a ghost army also the obscometer was rising significantly.
At Disney +
The Forest of No Return (Babes in Toyland, 1961)
In the world in which it takes place ‘The forest of no return’Fairy tales and lullabies are part of everyday life, the dolls come alive and magic is the order of the day. An unsuspecting newlywed couple is separated by a creepy trio seeking to steal the wife's inheritance by forcing her to marry a disgusting babadook cousin or the ro child robberChitty Chitty Bang Bang’(1968).
The film is like taking a colored candy full of acid. There have been other versions of the film with no less disturbing moments, but the saturated color and the omnipresent dolls make it seem like a weird dream. The most nightmarish moment is itself ‘forest of no return’Of the Spanish title, where the trees have a life of their own but they are not good-natured like the Ents, but diabolical for no apparent reason.
At Disney +
The island at the end of the world (The Island at the Top of the World, 1974)
Many Disney fans have probably never heard of this movie, whose box office failure is cited as the reason the project Discovery Bay by Tony Baxter was not built in Disneyland. However, within the rarities of Disney it is highly recoverable. Based on a book by Ian Cameron, it is an entertaining adventure steampunk that could go hand in hand with the films of Kevin Connor and British adaptations of Edgar Rice Burrough full of monsters.
Without being as full of creatures and violent elements as those, it is a strange film and not entirely for children, although it is presented with the naivety typical of Disney movies. There is a mythical Viking island what looks like hell and presenting their leader is like a high priest of a magical cult, typical of a folk horror paranormal. But the bulk of its darkest elements is a almost gothic whale graveyard and a killer whale attack disturbing music and very impressive animatronics for its time.
The black abyss (The Black Hole, 1979)
Before owning the largest galactic franchise in history, Disney was another of the many who tried their luck with the space opera behind the success of George Lucas. However, at times it had more to do with the space terror of, Alien, the eighth passenger ’(Alien 1979). He sets out in the future and follows the crew of a spacecraft called USS Palomino and they go in search of Kate McCrae he's on a missing ship.
The crew learns that the ship is occupied by Dr. Reindhardt and a strange faceless army who plans to explore a black hole. There are some details of childish humor – the typical robot – and now the effects are pretty dated, but sometimes the movie is really scary, with many spatial images and designs that could have come out of the Ken Russell more delusional.
At Disney +
The eyes of the forest (Watcher in the Woods, 1980)
Of all the movies on the list, this is the one that is purely and purposefully terror without excuses or concessions. A paranormal thriller with just a touch of science fiction directed by none other than John Hough, director of ‘The Legend of Hell House’(The Legend of Hell House, 1973) and features Bette davis in her time as a genre film lady in another new haunted house movie with a terrible story, a missing girl and a presence or entity that lurks to the main characters.
Actually, despite not being for adults, it is a very good horror movie that surpasses recent movies like en in atmosphere and stagingTerror in Amityville’(The Amityville Horror, 1979), with details from other classier British gothic horror films. Often haunting is one of the rare films Disney gender without excuses. The original ending clearly showed a being almost lovecraftian but the effects didn't convince an audience who laughed, prompting Hough to re-shoot the climactic final scene imagining everything as a vague blur of light. Actually the appearance was bizarre and quite memorable.
The Dragon of the Lake of Fire (Dragonslayer, 1981)
With the previous film, the shift from live-action film production to something less pleasant and maybe ‘The Dragon of the Lake of Fire’Be the example less Disney than Disney ever produced. Shot in the rugged peaks of Wales, she was trying to take advantage of the popularity of the role-playing game ‘Dungeons and Dragons'Making it probably one of the best fantasy films of its time, with the most imposing dragon ever to appear in the genre, courtesy of Phil Tippet and his personal stop-motion technique.
Despite being theoretically aimed at teenagers, it is full of virgin sacrifices, burned people alive, transvestites in a dirty and dark kingdom in which the evil dragon Vermithrax Peyorative terrifies the population. We can see baby dragons that eat meat of the dead, black magic and a almost gothic horror tone which created confusion among important criticism and created expected rejection among scared children who would see her.
The carnival of the darknesses (Something Wicked This Way Comes, 1983)
The works of Ray Bradbury they have been adapted into many films and some of them were written by the author himself. The last feature film that the creator of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ wrote for the cinema was ‘The carnival of darkness’A dark fantasy that surely inspired Stephen King for many of his works, clearly in ‘The store’(Needful Things, 1993) and many in which he describes life in the American rural environment.
Precisely, in its first act the film is a drama typical, warm, if somewhat dark, about two children growing up in a small Midwestern town. Then a fair comes to town, and things get weird. The director of the fair is Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce), who grants the wishes of the townspeople in a way with second intention, something like a variation of the classic account of monkey's paw. Although it has quite murky scenes –a decapitated child– the movie of Jack clayton It had a much more terrifying original montage and a replaced horror soundtrack.
Oz, a fantastic world (Return to Oz, 1985)
When this sequel to the mythical film by Victor Fleming first released, it had all kinds of criticism for being too scary. And no, they were not wrong, it is an imaginative and creative children's film, but it also works as an almost dreamlike journey surreal or twisted nightmare. Starring a young woman Fairuza Balk turns the fairy tale around, choosing to take a dark approach, from the author's material L. Frank Baum. Although being fair, the original novels are rather murkier of what the 1939 film makes it look like.
This time, Dorothy escapes from a madhouse – about to receive shock treatment, typical in a children's movie— in Kansas and is transported back to Oz by a river, finding the magical land in ruins. In that apocalyptic place faces terrifying rock monsters, a headless witch (with stored living heads) and characters known as Wheelies that are quite scary. Although if your friend is the prototype of Jack skeleton pumpkin-headed, what won't monsters be? It is, in a way, an essay of the famous ‘Inside of the labyrinth’(Labyrinth, 1986) of Jim Henson.
At Disney +
Mr Boogedy (1986)
This unknown movie from the 80s was made directly for television. It's about a gift vendor and his family moving into a dilapidated mansion in a city called Lucifer Falls, so no one should expect anything good from the mansion, which is haunted by not one but three spirits: a widow, her son and Mr. Boogedy himselfwho in colonial times sold his soul to Satan by a cloak that gives it magical powers.
The film is more a comedy than anything else, but it plays with everyone the tropes of horror cinema of those years, and Mr. Boogedy's character design — far away it could be the Babadook– gives the film elements of horror thanks to the makeup of Rick Stratton, winner of two Emmy Awards. It had a sequel and sets the pulse for other special Halloween movies like ‘Tower of terror’(1997) which become a good preparatory step for the genre at an early age.
At Disney +: yes.
The Return of the Witches (Hocus Pocus, 1993)
More a comedy than a horror movie, but one that plays with all the elements of the genre. The Sanderson sisters are witches who prey on infants, and by kidnapping a little girl hang them and then burn them aliveSo his plan is pure revenge. Despite its PG rating, balancing horror with humor well, but always macabre and in the vein of films like 'The Addams Family' (The Addams Family, 1990).
Although it may not be like ‘The curse of the witches’ (The Witches, 1990), it does have zombies, and it is not to be forgotten that it is written by the pope of the terror masters' dinners Mick Garris, whose work includes many adaptations of Stephen King. It has a production design as gothic as the most sinister films of Tim Burton, books with eyes, and children wandering enchanted by the people. Time has turned it into a cult title for kids grown up in the 90s.
At Disney +
‘Don't look under the bed’ (Don’t Look Under the Bed, 1999)
One of the original films of Disney Channel Stranger than the channel broadcast. A young woman named Frances, lives in a small idyllic town that is white of a sack man It wreaks havoc and makes strange things happen. He is joined by an imaginary friend named Larry, and together with his younger brother Darwin, they are transported to a dimension of dreams that exists under the bed Frances to beat the bad guy.
Although it is a kind of copy of ‘Monsters boys’(Little Monsters, 1989) —to which Disney would copy again, via Pixar in‘SA monsters.’—The Boogey dimension is a terrifying kingdom out of childhood childish bad dreams. Larry transforms into a rather monstrous version of the sack man. Overall it could be an episode of ‘Nightmares ’by R.L. Stine for slightly older kids, but Disney never doing anything similar means that they are not entirely convinced that this type of film goes now with their brand.
At Disney +
The Haunted Mansion (The Haunted Mansion, 2003)
One of the strangest attempts to extract as much as possible from the Disney empire: movies based on the attractions of its parks thematic. Rob Minkoff, a former Disney animator who co-directed ‘The Lion King’(The Lion King, 1994) shoots a classic ghost film, with some revived corpses and some soundtrack impacts Scooby Doo style, brought to the field of safe comedy through the presence of Eddie Murphy.
However, it has the special effects master Rick Baker, for the design of the mansion and creates a somewhat more tangible atmosphere within a logical digital use that improves, yes, that of ‘The den'(The Haunting, 1999). There is a few skeletons a la Harryhausen, looking like zombies from ‘walking Dead’And swarms of menacing spiders, que-style breathing wallsVideodrome’, And visual references to suicide. In general it is more fun than what was said and should be cited as an important piece in the commercial horror noire before it came Jordan Peele.
At Disney +
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, 2018)
A hybrid between dickens christmas tale and stylized remake of 'The forest of no return'as if it were shot by a Michael Powell after a bundle of Russian animation from the 1940s. Far removed from the tone of others live action Disney is a complete sample of fantastic, precious and strange cinema. A little ignored in his promotion, perhaps for having Morgan Freemanit is adventure bizarre, vintage and creepy hallucinated colors that integrates music, dance and production design in an almost theatrical play.
Surprised at many times, such as the recreation of king of mice. Instead of 7 heads, like the one described in the text, it is posed as a rodent humanoid amalgam, almost a direct tribute to 'Bram Stoker's Dracula’(1992) of Coppola. Do not miss the opportunity to describe the abandoned kingdom of toys as a cursed amusement park, full of spooky lifeless puppets and silent matrioska clowns that could appear on the tape that James wan never had a budget to create.
Disney +: No (but yes on Movistar +)