Disney movies are cute and child-friendly on the outside, but their origins stem from some pretty dark places. Whoever was the first guy to think, “Hey, let’s take these stories about death and turn them into kids’ movies!” was pretty morbid.
The stories aren’t bad stories—they’re just not children’s stories. But Disney was apparently mistaken, and the tales are further screwed up by embedding glossy messages (some would call these ‘morals’) into the stories. But if one were to really watch Disney films, it would become all too obvious that they’re not all about friendship and singing animals.
Here’s a crash course on what these childhood stories lied about.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is actually one of the more accurate of Disney’s animated films. Quasimodo, the ugly bell-ringer of Notre Dame, falls in love with Esmeralda, a beautiful gypsy girl. Unfortunately for the unattractive Quasi, Esmeralda is hot, and according to the morals of Disney, pretty people just can’t date ugly people. (That’s obviously the best thing to teach children these days.)
As Esmeralda brings all the boys to the yard, the rest of the movie is a fight between all those boys for Esmeralda’s love. At the end, Esmeralda and Phoebus (the most handsome man, of course) hold hands, with Quasimodo third wheelin’ it behind them. It makes perfect sense; who would want to date Quasi? He doesn’t even have flowing blond locks.
The biggest difference between the Disney and Hugo versions is the ending.
In the actual The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, the ending wasn’t quite as ideal. Phoebus dies, Esmeralda dies, and Quasimodo dies next to Esmeralda’s dead body… actually, pretty much everybody dies. Also, no one gets what they want.
Maybe that would make for a good sequel, on second thought.
This is truthfully the most effed-up of Disney’s movie choices, but Disney finds a way to make the awful original tale kind of cute and pretty. In Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty,” Aurora, a princess, is cursed to die after pricking her finger on a splinter on her 16th birthday. However, three fairies counter this curse with a spell that will instead make her fall asleep, and wake up unharmed after being kissed by her true love.
Her true love kisses her, she wakes up, marries him and lives happily ever after.
But the Grimm version is like a really horrible sequel to “The Hangover.” In this story, Aurora is found asleep by the king, who rapes her. A lot. While Aurora is still asleep, she births two children and is never aware of it until one of them pulls the magical wooden splinter out of her finger, and she wakes up to a world that she doesn’t understand.
The king then probably has a lot of explaining to do.
“So uh… yeah, you’re like, a mom now. We cool though?”
Out of all the Disney princess tales, “Cinderella” has got to be the most glamorous. Where’s Fergie when you need her?
The tale follows the poor little slave who must follow her evil stepmother’s orders, but eventually sneaks by enough to fall in love with a prince and be carried away to a magical kingdom.
… once again, it’s getting difficult to see Disney’s creativity here. A girl and a boy fall in love and they live happily ever after? She gets a really pretty dress? They look longingly at each other and get married? Viewers have obviously never seen that before.
The Brothers Grimm version was a bit more original (and horrifying) than the Disney one. Here, Cinderella still has an evil stepmother who hates her and makes her do her chores, but she is also sold as a prostitute to earn more money and abused by her whole family.
Later, when the prince is trying to find his love with the classic “fit the shoe, get married” test, Cinderella’s two evil stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to try to get the shoe on. The prince notices because of their bloody socks and rejects them.
Hopefully that prince had those flowing blond locks, or it would never have been worth it.
The Little Mermaid
Ariel, the dancing and singing half-fish hero in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” is a princess who gets everything she ultimately wants. Curiously enough, as per Disney usual, it’s a beautiful man that she turns out to crave the most.
Not, you know, a good job, or a long, fruitful life; but a boy.
Ariel finds her true love when she travels near the surface of the water and saves him. Later, she gives up her voice to get human legs, eventually marrying him and getting ver voice back at the end. Cue: Awwwwww
The original’s not so much of an “Awwwww” but a “Well… that’s shitty.”
Just as the mermaid saved her sailor in the Disney version, the mermaid in the tale saved her sailor too. However, instead of seeing her face and recognizing her later as the hero who saved him, the sailor instead attributes his thanks (and love) to a nearby woman on the shore. The little mermaid, who doesn’t even have a name in the story, then jumps into the water at the wedding and turns into ocean froth. The boy probably didn’t even notice her death, and never cared about her love for him.
There’s no dancing dolphins or snarky crabs in this version, just some good old-fashioned rejection.