At some point or another, you want to be in the Disney movie or just want a particular character with you in real life. I know for many of us, growing up was all about Disney, however, take a look at the Top 10 terrifying, gruesome, often bizarre early versions of ubiquitous fairy tales after the jump.
Maybe you’ll think twice before reading “Little Red Riding Hood” before you go to bed. Here are some of the most super-dark origins behind your favorite popular Disney movies.
10. Aladdin and the King of Thieves
The original Aladdin’s source material is pretty domestic, but the movie’s second sequel has darker origins.
In Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, the character Cassim (father of Aladdin) is killed and pull apart his body parts stacked around a treasure cave as a warning to travelers. Later, Cassim’s body is stitched together by a tailor so his family will think he died of natural causes.
9. Peter Pan
In J.M. Barrie’s novel, Peter kills the Lost Boys when they get too old: “The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according to as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out.” Dude, Peter. That’s rude.
8. The Princess and the Frog
In the earliest version of The Frog Prince fairy tale, the frog’s curse is broken when the princess hurls him against a wall. In some versions, the frog’s head is chopped off or his skin is burned. Why any of these acts would break a curse over a simple kiss is anyone’s guess.
The Disney movie Hercules is based on Greek myths, which are pretty much uniformly messed up. First of all, Zeus tricks Hercules’ mother into having sex with him. Then, as a child, Hercules kills his music teacher with a lyre. Later, he marries Megara, but goes insane and slaughters all of their children. He marries three more times after that and he has countless male lovers.
6. The Fox and the Hound
In the original novel, Tod collapses from exhaustion during a hunt and dies. Copper’s alcoholic owner decides to move into a retirement home but shoots Copper with a shotgun before he leaves. Literally the worst ending imaginable.
Pocahontas was a real person, and her life was kind of sucky. She kinda hated John Smith, who pretty much lied about everything that happened between them. She was also kidnapped, held hostage for a year, renamed Rebecca, paraded around as a propaganda tool, and then died at age 21. And then her grave was destroyed. But isn’t “Colors of the Wind” a great song?
4. The Lion King
Even though The Lion King is completely plagiarized from a Japanese cartoon, Disney claims it’s based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet — a play in which pretty much everybody dies. In the climax, Hamlet (the character Simba is based on) is stabbed to death with a poison blade. Hakuna Matata!
3. The Little Mermaid
When mermaids die, they turn to sea foam and cease to exist.
In the original fairy tale, the prince falls in love with a different girl, breaking the Little Mermaid’s heart. She’s faced with a dilemma: If she slays the prince and lets his blood drip on her feet, she’ll turn back into a mermaid. Ultimately, she can’t bring herself to do the deed, and instead flings herself into the ocean, transforming into sea foam.
The original Cinderella fairy tale is completely disgusting. When neither of her stepsisters can fit into Cindy’s slipper, one of them cuts off her toe and the other cuts off her heel to fool the prince.
Later, Cinderella has her magic birds peck out her sisters’ eyes as punishment for their deceit. Oh, and she also slams the lid of a chest on her stepmother’s neck, breaking it and killing her. Damn, Cinderella, you bad.
1. Sleeping Beauty
In Giambattista Basile’s 1634, the prince is unable to wake Sleeping Beauty from her nap, which is caused by a flax splinter in her finger.
So what does the prince do instead? He rapes her and leaves. Sleeping Beauty, still totally unconscious, becomes pregnant and gives birth to twins.
One of the twins sucks on her finger, drawing out the splinter and waking his mother.