ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Disney movies might have their fair share of tragic deaths and heinous injustices, but the origins of these quintessential childhood tales make Wrong Turn look family friendly.

We might have all baulked in horror when Bambi's mother was ruthlessly blasted into oblivion, but if Disney was true to their source material we would probably have all spent a lot of time in the therapists chair.

So, get ready to see your childhood favorites in a new and horrifying light as we explore the the grisly origin tales of some of Disney's most iconic movies.

The Little Mermaid

The fact that Disney's The Little Mermaid revolves around a 16-year-old girl sacrificing her voice to marry some random dude is dark enough, but in the original story, Prince Eric is a real dirtbag.

Hans Christian Andersen's tale is so heartbreaking and bleak in tone, that any child forced to watch it in visual form would suffer a sobbing fit that would last for weeks on end.

Not only is Ariel forced to have her tongue hacked out, she also spends her time on land with her feet constantly gushing blood in sheer agony.

Luckily, all of her suffering isn't for nothing and she meets her prince... Who then splits and marries another woman.

Ariel is confronted with the choice of slashing Eric's throat and allowing the blood to drip onto her feet so she can become a mermaid again, or leaping into the ocean and turning into sea foam.

Ultimately, she is unable to slaughter Eric so Ariel commits suicide and becomes the scabby old froth you always see in the corner of the beach full of plastic bottles.



Good news: In the original version of Cinderella there were still adorable enchanted birds. Bad news: Everything else.

In the Grimm version of Cinderella, our humble heroine is hell bent on bitter revenge and will stop at nothing to smack her ugly sisters back down into the dirt where they belong.

We might fondly remember the humorous high jinx of the Ugly Sisters trying to wedge Cinderella's glass slipper onto their lumpen feet from Disney's depiction, but Grimms version sounds more like something that would happen in Hostel.

When the Ugly Sisters realize the slipper won't fit, they start wildly hacking their toes and heels off to try and trim themselves to a more dainty size.

After the prince identifies Cinderella as the true owner, and the girl that he loves, they decide to celebrate their new found relationship with a bit of vengeful torture.

Cinderella's enchanted birds set about pecking out the Ugly Sister eyes as punishment for their cruelty and deceit.

And then, everyone lived happily ever after. Except the Ugly Sisters, who were blind and uglier.


Anyone with any historical knowledge knows that the Ancient Greeks were a right bunch of weirdos, and Hercules was no exception.

There are too many WTF moments in the long and winding original tale to catalogue, but here is a summary of the most jaw dropping, childhood destroying moments:

Hercules came into being when his godly father, Zeus, tricked his foxy mother into having sex with him by pretending to be her husband.

Considering his moral and decent entry into the world, Hercules grew up to be a well-rounded child and slaughtered his music teacher with a lyre because, teenagers.

When Hercules grows up to be a great warrior, he marries a gorgeous princess named Megara and they have two beautiful babies. Unfortunately, Hercules goes temporarily mad and slays his offspring, and in some versions of the tale, his wife as well.

Luckily, there are plenty more ancient Greek babes where Megara came from and Hercules nabs himself a brand new wife named Deianeira.

When Deianeira gets concerned about Herclues' wandering loins (he had hundred of affairs with both men and women), she makes a love potion full of centaur blood and semen and applies it to Hercules' tunic to put his errant trouser snake on lock down.

Alas, the centaur also happened to have been contaminated with deadly Hydra blood and when Hercules tears off his shirt in pain, all of his skin peels off with it exposing his gruesome muscle and bones.

After Deianeira hangs herself in sheer horror (sensible woman!), Hercules gets his mate to build a huge funeral pyre where he burns his mangled body alive to escape his mortal pain.

Luckily, Hercules is half God so he's immortal. So, at least he had that going for him, I guess...

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

I always thought it was pretty rough that Esmeralda married some other handsome bloke, despite Qusimodo's love, but then I remembered his mangled face and it seemed okay.

What is totally not okay, is the original tale. In Victor Hugo’s novel, Quasimodo is actually raised by the evil Frollo and sent to kidnap Esmeralda when his adopted father is overcome with lust for the 15-year-old girl.

Quasimodo fails at his mission when he's caught in the act and, because he can't have her, Frollo frames Esmeralda so it looks like she has stabbed a soldier to death.

Esmeralda is hung in the square for her "crime" and Frollo laughs hysterically as she writhes at the end of the hangman's noose.

Although he does get his revenge by throwing Frollo from the great heights of Notre-Dame, Quasmiodo never moves on from his guilt over Esmeralda's murder.

Instead, he breaks into the crypt and snuggles up to her corpse until he dies of starvation.

Their bodies are found 18 months later, and when an attempt is made to separate them, Quasimodo’s bones turn to dust.

Isn't Paris romantic?

Peter Pan

Peter Pan might have been the leader of the Lost Boys in the Disney classic, but he was not such a benevolent dictator in J.M. Barrie’s novel.

Instead, Peter kills off the Lost Boys when they get too old. Or, in the words of the author:

The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out.

Ageism at its finest.


Which pitch black Disney origin story destroyed your childhood memories the most?

(Source: Listverse, Buzzfeed)


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