After the surprising popularity of my previous article about Disney movies that came from disturbing original stories, I thought it was only fitting to do another list. Get ready to have more of your childhood favorites stomped in front of your eyes: here are six more Disney movies that came from dark, depressing and even downright terrifying original stories.
1. The Jungle Book Did Not Have The Bear Necessities
The Jungle Book is based on a short story written by Rudyard Kipling, and the Disney movie isn't exactly faithful to the original source material. In the movie, Mowgli falls in love with a girl in a village and decides to stay in the village to be with his own kind. However, in the original short story, Mowgli is not accepted among the people of the village. He's banished to live in the jungle again, while the family that was kind to him is tortured.
In retaliation, Mowgli enlists the help of a bloodthirsty old elephant named Hathi who gleefully seeks revenge on humans for wounding him in a spike pit. He also enlists the help of Bagheera the panther and a pack of wolves to literally destroy the entire village and everything inside... meaning "take no prisoners." And you thought you had tantrums as a kid.
2. Hercules Murdered... Like, A Lot
To be fair, most of Greek mythology that Hercules was based on is screwed up to say the least. But let's just stick to one character: Hercules. In Greek mythology, Heracles (Romanized as “Hercules”) is the son of Zeus. His mother, however, is not Zeus's wife Hera, because Heracles is the product of an infidelity. Because of this, Hera despised Heracles and wanted to make his life as miserable as possible.
Hera makes Heracles so miserable that she actually drives him to the point of madness where he murders his wife, the princess Megara and all of their children... because bless my soul, Herc was on a roll.
3. Tarzan Was Pretty Heartbreaking
The original story of Tarzan isn't very disturbing or shocking; it's actually more of a tearjerker than anything else. In the tale, Tarzan's father is murdered by Kerchek, the Ape King, and Tarzan is then adopted by Kala. After years of not knowing about his human heritage, he does eventually learn the truth and teaches himself how to act like a normal man. Then he meets with Jane and Clayton.
Clayton has feelings for Jane, but she falls in love with Tarzan. Before she can admit her true feelings to Tarzan, however, she returns to America to repay her father's large debt by marrying into money. But, unbeknownst to Jane, Tarzan hitched a ride with her and Clayton to America so that he can profess his love to her. She returns his feelings. Unfortunately, by then, she is already engaged to Clayton.
Oh, but the feels train does not end there. In a shocking twist, we actually learn that Tarzan is the cousin of Clayton and the rightful heir to his estate and property—which included Jane because in the 19th century, women were nothing more than things. But rather than claim his rightful ownership, Tarzan chooses to stay silent to the whole thing to preserve Jane's happiness with Clayton. And that's how the story ends, no happy ending. Does anybody need a tissue?
4. Peter Pan Was Basically A Cult Leader
Of all the Disney movies on this list, Peter Pan is actually probably the closest to being faithful to the original source material. Whether that is a good thing or not is totally up to you because the original film still had it's creepy and racist moments. Probably the biggest difference between the movie and the original play, however, is the fate of the Lost Boys.
When Wendy becomes too old, she simply cannot return to Neverland or see Peter Pan. However, when the Lost Boys become too old, Peter Pan straight up murders them because they are technically breaking the laws of Neverland. Isn't that terrifying?
5. Aladdin Has Some Real Daddy Issues
In the third installment of the Aladdin trilogy, we learn that Aladdin's father Cassim is not only still alive but also the famed King of Thieves. However, in the original story, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Cassim is not actually the King of Thieves. He's just a greedy man who was trapped in the thieves' treasure trove, then murdered when he was found.
Oh but wait, that's not all. Cassim is dismembered and displayed outside the thieves' hideout as a warning to anyone else who dares trespass into the cave. Upon discovering what became of Cassim, his brother steal back his body, brings him home and stitches him together... so that his family will think he died of natural causes. So, maybe just a little different from Aladdin and The King of Thieves.
6. Frozen Didn't End Well For The Love Interest
Believe it or not, Frozen was actually adapted from a story called "The Snow Queen," written by Hans Christian Andersen. That's right, the same guy who wrote the original story of Little Mermaid, so you know only good things can come from this. In the original story Gerda and Kai were childhood best friends, not sisters. (Kai, or Kay, is a boy in the original.) One day, the Snow Queen approaches Kai, who gets a shard of troll-mirror in his eye and heart. This causes him to see everything good as being evil and ugly.
When winter comes, Kai takes a ride on a mysterious white sleigh that is revealed to be driven by the Snow Queen. The Snow Queen gives him two kisses. One makes him forget about the cold; the second drives out memories of Gerda and his family. Gerda then bravely sets out on a long adventure to save her best friend and eventually saves him with a kiss... which promptly gives him PTSD because the Snow Queen's kisses left him paralyzed and nearly brain dead. Wouldn't that have been a more interesting film, huh?