Look, there's just no way that any reader is getting out of this article without their entire childhood ruined. So, everyone should come to terms with that right now... We can wait... Ready? ...Okay, good.
Seriously, just embrace your propensity for self-flagellation. It'll be easier that way because this article is about to dive deep into the truly sinister and downright unfortunate backstories of some of your favorite Disney movies. We're not just talking about the dark fairy-tales that these fluffy, feel-good, sing-songy movies were based on. There's also a number of really awful details that you might have missed or didn't know about the behind-the-scenes of these classics. Hold onto your hats because here are 20 sinister truths behind your favorite Disney movies.
20 The Lion King Was A Total And Utter Rip-Off... #ChildhoodRuined
Yep, plagiarizing is definitely part of Disney's MO. Sure, The Lion King is an homage to Shakespeare's Hamlet, but it's also a total rip-off of Kimba: The White Lion, a movie from Japan that aired in the 1960s. Although Disney vehemently denies having stolen practically all of the major plot points from the film, the connections are endless. For example, both have a Pride Rock, a bunch of incompetent hyenas, a wise-old baboon, a villain lion with a bad eye, and the face of the father-lion appearing in the clouds.
19 Jane Wasn't Tarzan's First Relationship... Just His First Human One
We often forget about the realities that Tarzan would have faced being brought up by a bunch of gorillas. Well, the author of the original novel, Jungle Tales of Tarzan, definitely didn't. In Edgar Rice Burroughs' book, a young Tarzan grows an attraction to one of his ape friends and even battles for the right to mate with her. So, Jane definitely wouldn't have been Tarzan's first love interest, which is very un-Disney-like.
18 The Original Prince Wasn't Nearly As Noble When He Woke Sleeping Beauty From Her Slumber
Disney's Sleeping Beauty may have featured a dashing a noble prince who saved the titular character from her cursed slumber. But the original, published in 1634, Prince Charming was far from respectable. We can't get into the details here, but let's just say that he and Bill Cosby would have gotten along famously. Seriously, the ending of this fairy-tale is so dark and sinister it's enough to haunt children for hundreds of years to come.
17 The Original Mulan Wasn't Cheery Or Inspiring... In Fact, It Was Down Right Savage
Mulan is another famous story that was adapted by Disney and ultimately turned into an inspiring story about a woman finding her strength in a male-dominated world. However, Chu Renhuo's original work, Romance of the Sui and Tang, is anything but inspiring, especially for women. In the end, Mulan becomes a concubine and eventually ends things in order to avoid disappointing the spirit of her dad... Oh, and there was no Mushu...
16 The Voice Of Snow White Had Her Life Ruined By Disney
If you know anything about Walt Disney, you'd know that he was a far cry from a good human being. Although his over-all ideology is more famous, he was a monster on an individual level as well. Actress Adriana Caselotti had voiced Snow White for him and wanted to go off and do more work. But Disney didn't like this as he didn't want to alter the illusion of his character. So, he made sure that she never worked in a credited role ever again... Seriously... the man ended her film life...
15 Aladdin Was Actually A Total Perv
You may not know this, but there was a line in the theatrical cut of Aladdin that was taken out before it went to DVD and Blu-ray years later. The scene depicted Aladdin flirting with Jasmine before being interrupted by her tiger. In the scene, Aladdin can be heard muttering comments about removing her clothing -- although it's far more specific than that. Disney has denied this, saying that he was saying something else entirely. But to avoid any further trouble, they edited out the moment.
14 The Little Mermaid's Dark AF Origin Would Have Left Kids Shook
Once again, the original story of The Little Mermaid is nowhere near as fuzzy or beautiful as the one in the Disney movie. It was full of ancient theories surrounding mermaids, including that they turn into sea foam when they go. In the story, the mermaid gets turned down by the prince and is forced to decide whether to take his life in order to return to her mermaid form or turn herself into sea foam and drift away... So, she turns into sea foam and that's the end... How inspiring!
13 All Those Subliminal Messages Are Enough To Corrupt Any Kid
If you're a child of the 1990s, you almost certainly know about Disney's subliminal messages in their films. After all, we all paused the Disney movies in the right place after being told by our friends on the playground. Among the nearly endless off-color messaging is a phallic tower in The Little Mermaid, The Lion King's readable flower petals flying in the breeze, and Cinderella's beads that are... um... pulled... from a place we can't mention... Seriously, these are kids' movies!!?
12 Icky WW2 References All Around The Lion King And Far Before
Once again, we arrive at the true perspective of Walt Disney. Seriously, do a bit of reading on the man's ideology and you'll be shook. Even after his demise, some of his references made it into his films, such as this moment from The Lion King which is almost a frame-by-frame copy of a monstrous speech given in a propaganda film just before WW2.
Even more uncomfortable is a 1943short-film that featured Donald Duck as a weapons-builder in Germany. Sure, it was supposed to be against what was going on there, but knowing Walt Disney's true ideology, there's something truly sinister about it.
11 If Finding Nemo Were Biologically Accurate It'd Be Game Of Thrones
Finding Nemo definitely didn't need to be biologically accurate, although the talented artists at Disney Pixar tried making things as realistic as possible. However, they totally left one sinister thing out. If they had depicted clownfish properly, the relationship between Marlin and Nemo would have been closer to Jaime and Cersei on Game of Thrones... Yeah... ick... This is because when the alpha female of a clownfish colony goes, the immature male switches genders and mates with the other fish... We're not joking...
10 Cinderella Was The Very First Saw Movie
The original story of Cinderella was nowhere near as romantic as the one Disney gave us. In fact, the story is closer to Saw than to the Disney classic. For example, when the Prince takes the slipper around town to find Cinderella, her wicked stepmother orders her daughters to remove their toes in order for the slipper to fit... Oh, then pigeons feast on Cinderella's stepsisters' eyes at the wedding ceremony...
9 Pocahontas Changed History And Nobody Noticed
The level of inaccuracy in Disney's Pocahontas is astounding. Although it's an adaptation of history for dramatic and entertainment purposes, it does undermine the true story of Matoaka, AKA Pocahontas, and her people. In reality, Pocahontas never got together with John Smith, although she did save his life. But their fictionalized relationship was nowhere near as sinister as to what actually happened to Matoaka.
After the conflict between her people and the invaders, he was captured and paraded in front of a bunch of Englishmen. She was pushed into marriage and eventually passed before she was 22.
8 Animators Had A Bit TOO Much Fun With The Rescuers
We've already spoken about Disney's subliminal messages, but we haven't mentioned just downright obvious things got in The Rescuers. While the film was being distributed, the animators actually snuck in an image of a woman without a piece of clothing on. It was featured in the background of the shot you see above. Once parents saw this, Disney was forced to go back and edited it out.
7 David Fincher And Quentin Tarantino Should Have Directed Aladdin And The Forty Thieves
Although the sequel to Aladdin was a kids' movie, it really should have been directed by the likes of Quentin Tarantino or David Fincher; essentially someone who knows how to handle action. After all, in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Aladdin's father, Cassim, is taken and put through events that are akin to the most-full on Tarantino moments. Seriously, we can't even get into it here.
6 Hyena Researchers Were Thrown Total Shade By The Lion King
Hyena researchers were less than happy with Disney after they failed to keep their promise when making The Lion King. Disney had gone to these researchers in order to realistically depict hyenas in the movie. However, the researchers only took part in the film if the animals weren't portrayed as mindless monsters. Disney lied and said that they'd give the hyenas some dimension and not put them in a bad light. As we know, the hyenas are nothing but villains in the film. After The Lion King came out, the researchers sued Disney but the court threw out the case.
5 Being Culturally Inappropriate Was Disney's MO
There's absolutely no shortage of culturally inappropriate stereotypes in Disney movies. All lot of this came with the time these films were released, but it also had to do with Walt Disney's own personal views. As children, chances are, we didn't know these images were negative. But looking back, they appear truly sinister.
For example, the leader of a bunch of black crows in Dumbo was named "Jim" (educate yourselves on that one)... Then there's how the tribe was portrayed and mocked in Peter Pan or the depiction of the Siamese cats in the film pictured above. Look, we should all be able to take a joke, but this wasn't in your face, it was sneaky and downright mean.
4 Mary Poppins Was A Total Car-Wreck For Author P.L. Travers
In the biopic, Saving Mr. Banks, we were presented with a version of history that wasn't precisely accurate. Author P.L. Travers absolutely didn't want Disney to make a movie out of her book Mary Poppins, especially if it involved animation and singing or dancing. But Disney pretty much backed her into a corner. After Mary Poppins was made into a film, Travers was irate and was brought to tears. She would never again work with Disney nor wanted Disney to be involved with any future Mary Poppins projects... But we know how that worked out for her... ahem... ahem... Mary Poppins Returns...
3 Beauty And The Beast Was Actually About Viciously Jealous Sisters
The original Beauty and the Beast was very different from either of the Disney versions of the classic story. In the old folktale, featured in The Little Broomstick, the character that was the basis for Belle actually had a couple of sisters. These sisters were unbelievably jealous when the Beast turned into a handsome prince and married her. This caused them to take her out in a pretty sinister way. On the positive side, the sisters were turned into columns of stone by the enchantress that cursed the Beast.
2 The Popularity Of Finding Nemo Led To Worldwide Extinctions
After Finding Nemo came out in 2003, the sale of clownfish skyrocketed around the world. This meant that more had to be captured in the wild. Without a large number of them in the ocean, their numbers dwindled. In fact, they were put on the Endangered Species List in 2012. This encouraged a group called the Saving Nemo Conservation Fund which has tried to protect clownfish, as well a blue tang fish (Dory), all around the globe.
1 The Tragic Reason Why So Many Disney Heroes Don't Have A Mom
There's a reason why so many Disney films feature the demise of the protagonist's mother or a lack of a mother, to begin with. This wasn't just for story-purposes. After all, we can easily sympathize with a character without a mom, which is vital for getting an audience onboard. But the real reason for this choice had to do with honoring Walt Disney's real mom, who passed in 1938. Although there's a lot that's sinister about Walt Disney, as well as some of his films, we can sympathize with this truly saddening moment in his history.
Sources: Buzzfeed, The Gamer, Hour Loop, The Cleverer, All That Interesting