Posted by Tom Chapman @tchapman
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Tom Chapman

Making your wildest dreams come true and fueling your darkest nightmares since 1923 — what is Disney really hiding in the dark underbelly of its films? Lurking among the fairytale endings of the Walt Disney corporation lies the subreddit of Grimm-style stories you wouldn't expect. On the surface, A Bug's Life may be about hardworking ants fighting off grasshoppers, but underneath it is based on 1954's Japanese epic Seven Samurai — meaning A Bug's Life is about slavery, alcoholism, and cannibalism.

Meanwhile The Lion King is full of sexual connotations, and Andy's mom is that bitch who abandoned Jessie in Toy Story. We have heard them all before, but here are the darkest theories to crawl out of the Disney/Pixar woodwork. Be warned, these will make gunning down Mrs. Bambi look like a treasured family picnic.

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10. Peter Pan Gets Dragged To Hell

Image: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Film: Peter Pan (1953)
  • Grimm rating: 1/5 axes

Everyone thinks that Peter Pan and his mischievous shadow have a playful relationship, but is it actually the doing of Dark Voodoo magic. As a window into Hell, Peter's shadow is an extension of him. We saw that it was actually able to move objects, and is more than just a spooky follow-around. Redditor trytostopmenow points out that the only other person capable of such a skill is The Princess and the Frog's Dr. Facilier. Facilier found himself being dragged into the underworld by his "friends from the other side."

Image: FX
Image: FX

But why would Peter make a deal with the Devil? For a chance at eternal life of course. We have seen it in American Horror Story, when Marie Laveau bargained with Papa Legba. If Peter made the same deal to never grow up, let's just hope he keeps up his side of the bargain.

9. Calhoun Killed Her Husband In Wreck It Ralph

  • Film: Wreck It Ralph (2012)
  • Grimm rating: 2/4 axes

Jane Lynch was kick-ass as the tough as old boots Sergeant. Programmed to have "the most tragic backstory ever," the real truth behind Calhoun's wedding day is even more depressing than we thought. The course of the film sees our video game heroes go up against the cy-bugs from Hero's Duty. The race of genetically-enhanced aliens literally become what they eat. One eats Ralph's gun and transforms into one, another eats the candy to become a striped version, while another eats the evil King Candy to become a Goldblum hybrid.

Calhoun's wedding day ends in tragedy as it is swarmed by cy-bugs, and one eats her betrothed. Redditor ItsGotToMakeSense says that as the scene zooms in on Calhoun's face we miss that she is actually gunning down the transformed remains of her groom to be. He was technically already dead, but it makes it no less gutting!

8. Aladdin Is Set In An Apocalyptic Wasteland

Image: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Film: Aladdin (1992)
  • Grimm Rating: 2/5 axes

It was Earth all along! No, this isn't Planet of the Apes, but Disney's Arabian adventure Aladdin. Robin Williams's flawless impressions of Arnie, Jack Nicholson, and Groucho Marx seem like well-timed comedy, but how would a genie that has spent 10,000 years trapped in a lamp know that all these people existed? Enter the theory that Aladdin is actually set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland — think Mad Max with carpets. The film never does state a time period, and Agrabah could easily be some long evolved version of the world Arabia. Disneytheory.com goes on to see unexploded atom bombs and even Nintendo Wiis lurking in the backdrops of Aladdin. If you still aren't buying it, fans of a certain retro Aladdin game may notice that buried in the sands of Agrabah is a very clear STOP sign.

Image: Disney Software
Image: Disney Software

Two YouTubers who picked up on that Easter egg then go on to discuss the well-known theory themselves. A funny nod to modern society, or a grim depiction of our sandy-cracked future?

7. Sully Is A Toilet Seat Cover

Image: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Film: Partysaurus Rex - short (2012)
  • Grimm rating: 3/5 axes

Hooray, they continued the Toy Story franchise with a cutesy short about a kid taking a bath. It even had its own iTunes song "Partysaurus Overflow." However, under the barrage of bubbles and candy pink tiles, do you notice a rather familiar toilet seat? Whatever became of James P. Sullivan, and is this why we never got a Monsters, Inc. sequel? The human world is a scary place for closet-lurking monsters, and you can see why. In the original Monsters, Inc. slimy Randall recited an old monster urban legend:

"I heard humans skin monsters and make toilet covers out of their fur."

We know that Pixar like to scatter Easter Eggs around their films to connect the Pixarverse, but the skinned corpse of John Goodman's Sully might be a bit far. Mike Wazowski lampshades, coming to a Walmart near you soon!

6. Beast Murdered Some Of His Servants

Image: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • From: Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • Grimm rating: 3/5 axes

A charming tale of dinner party singing and unfortunately cursed servants. Beauty and the Beast doesn't need to explore the backstory of the castle, it's pretty self-explanatory: witch comes, Beast is rude, the witch places a curse, everyone hates life, enter Belle. But how do you explain Mrs. Potts spawning literally hundreds of children? And how come no one gets burnt by Lumière? On the surface Beauty and the Beast is a tale of redemption — but could the Beast actually murder his staff?

Curiosity got the better of Belle and she went on a little stroll around the forbidden West Wing of the castle. Not only did we come across the cursed rose, but we also saw a trashed room and the painting of the former prince in human form. Beast is the only member of the house who appears to be anything other than an Ikea catalog fixture. One theory is that the inhabitants of the West Wing found themselves on the receiving end of some serious rage. Redditor PixelDust73 then asks:

You can then go on to guess that it could have been Beast's parents residing in the West Wing, which would explain their absence. Even if the King and Queen weren't caught in the collateral damage of Beast Mode, the tale still starts with an 11-year-old boy being abandoned in a castle by his parents. Whatever happened, someone definitely ended up as kindling after Beast's tantrum. Maybe it was Beast who gave Chip his signature defect — someone call the NSPCC!

5. Cannibalism In The Emperor's New Groove

  • Film: The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
  • Grimm rating: 4/5 axes

Oh, a cute comedy about a spoilt emperor being turned into a llama, such joyous Disney japes. At the centre of Groove is a wicked witch who turns people into animals when she doesn't get her own way. The evil Yzma's lab is filled with a Snapesworth of potions that were set to turn people into anything from a whale to a parrot. Yzma originally planned to turn Kuzko into a flea, but changed her mind to a llama (I know which I would rather be). As Kuzko gets to grips with his llama body he heads off into the generic spooky Disney jungle. Shortly after we witness the gruesome demise of a fly. No big deal, but Redditor lish_94 thinks that the fly we meet is actually one of Yzma's previous experiments left to fend for itself:

"The only animals that we see that are able to speak in the film are those that were originally human. Take Kuzco and Yzma (her cat form) for example. Neither of them are seen to be able to talk with other animals, like the squirrel who is portrayed to communicate with squeaks and they are left to interpret what the squirrel is saying through the gestures it makes."

If that isn't morbid enough, we even hear the spider say "too late," alluding to that it too was once of human form — not only could blooded insecticide, but cannibalism too!

4. Snow White's Prince Is Death

Image: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Film: Snow White (1937)
  • Grimm Rating: 5/5 axes

Sometimes the oldest one are always the best. We may have covered this one before, but it was just too creepy to not bring up Walt Disney's first film one more time. The prince from Snow White may have seemed like the stalwart savior, but Redditor Scherazade think that was he in fact death incarnate. That fabled kiss that saved Snow White's life was what actually took her to the afterlife.

Image: FX
Image: FX

Back to American Horror Story again — Season 2's Asylum had the amazing Frances Conroy play Shachath the angel of death. Her method for moving people to the other side came from kissing them and effectively sucking the life out. It may look like Snow was being lead off to a fairytale ending, but she is actually waving goodbye to the dwarves forever. The Prince's white horse even plays a factor — Revelations 6:8 states:

"I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death."

Giddy up Snow White.

3. Up's Carl Fredricksen Was Dead All Along

Image: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Film: Up (2009)
  • Grimm rating: 5/5 axes

Just when you think you have done all the crying you can over a film — POW, right in the kisser. 2009's Up has once again ripped out our hearts and stomped all over them with this theory suggesting that crotchety old Mr. Fredricksen was dead all along. After his wife passed away, Carl died before he could be moved out of their love nest. His journey of flying to Paradise Falls in a floating house was actually his trip to the afterlife. It may have been a nice idea, but flying around the world attached to balloons, and without the right home insurance, always seemed a little farfetched; however, so did toys coming to life and riding magic carpets. It is estimated that Carl would have needed over 100,000 balloons, and Redditor lockzackary very concisely writes:

"That’s hardly something that a senior citizen on a fixed income could have afforded to locate, purchase, and have delivered in a few hours. Then there’s the matter of the 1.5 million cubic feet of helium needed to fill those balloons."

If Carl really is dead, how does chubby little Russell fit into this? Russell is a child to represent Carl's longing for the child that he and Ellie could never have, while also serving as a guardian angel. Only if Russell can safety transport Carl to the afterlife can he earn his "helping the elderly" badge and get his wings as a fully fledged angel. Leaving the house behind at Paradise Falls represents Carl shedding his attachment form his corporal form. It would certainly explain far-off lands, how balloons could actually support a house, and how an old man can do mid-air battle on a blimp — but we refuse to accept this one!

2. Frozen's Kristoff Wears Reindeer Skin

image: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • From: Frozen (2013)
  • Grimm rating: 5/5 axes

"What a lovely summer's day, perhaps I'll wear shorts?" If you forget that Elsa's spontaneous storm would have frozen anyone near Arendelle to a popsicle, there is another darker edge to the "Let it Go" feature film. Redditor superclaude1 spotted a rather grim fact of life from the chilly child caper.

Hidden hero Kristoff may look like Mr. Sweden 2016, but in fact his clothing points to reindeer murder. As part of the indigenous Sami people, the tribe are known for wearing reindeer hide. In steps the cuddly mascot Sven. In all likelihood the ice harvesters would have killed a reindeer and given the pelt to Kristoff to keep warm. With a Bambi-like twist on why we never meet Sven's reindeer mother, it would explain why Sven is so attached to Kristoff — he is wearing the last remnants of his dead mommy.

1. Wall-E Killed The Other Robots

Image: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Film: WALL·E (2008)
  • Grimm rating: 5/5 axes

It would be easy to think that the psychotic Auto from WALL·E was the only evil robot to come out of Buy-N-Large, but Redditor mrbanans thinks that our little trash compactor has a lot to answer for. A sadistic rampage by WALL-E means that he is responsible for the entire destruction of Earth — not so cute now is he?

WALL-E happily cannibalized the parts from another model that he found, adding it to his treasure trove of spare parts. With a whole trailer full of parts, how many WALL-Es did he rip apart? Far more than he would actually need to keep running. Like a Hannibal Lecter, was WALL-E keeping souvenirs from his kills? We know that he has been going for around 700 years, so a 700-year-long murder spree that slowly wiped out the rest of the recycling robots. This explains why the planet is overrun with rubbish and there are no others around. WALL-E destroyed Earth!

Image: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Well that is enough morbidity for today. Some say that Disney's constant use of orphans was to do with him dealing with the death of his mother, while others argue that the fastest way to speed up character development is to put a child through tragedy. Either way there is some screwed up Freudian shit coming out of the picture house. Time to go and sit in a darkened room and watch Dumbo — you know, the one where the dad is totally abscent and the main character turns to psychotropic drugs to survive — yeah, that one!

Check out our 10 insane Disney facts video above and don't forget to take part in our poll!

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