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Disney does not f*ck around when it comes to its villains. They want the bad guys to look, act, and be evil. They want to send the kids home clearly knowing that the good guys wore white and the bad guys wore black. They do a marvelous job at this by creating villains who are so intimidating, menacing, and downright evil that we carry them with us forever. They are like the animated version of that one uncle who molested you, always looming in your subconscious, ready to strike again (was that too far?).

On that note, I thought it might be fun to do a deep examination of some classic Disney films and pick the villains who are clearly the most evil and dastardly out of the lot. So, here are 5 genuinely terrifying Disney villains that scared the shit out of me as a child.

The Horned King from The Black Cauldron
6 Genuinely Terrifying Disney Villains

You have to start the list with an underdog, and to me, The Black Cauldron is Disney’s big underdog.Why did so few people like or see this movie? It was everything a nerd kid could want. It was (low) high fantasy, and it was incredibly well-done (but vastly under-appreciated). Honestly, one of the things that makes this movie so memorable for me was just how fucking scary the Horned King was. I grew up reading this series of Lloyd Alexander books (that this cartoon was based on) and Disney perfectly brought to life the exact vision I had of this tyrannical, undead-beast.

On top of that, he was not one of those villains who broke out into song. No. He was just a skeleton with horns who was fully intent on bringing an army of undead zombies to life so that they can take over.

If you see a list of Disney villains and this guy isn’t on it, that shit was written by a tourist.

Scar from The Lion King

I stated early on in this article that Disney does not fuck around when it comes to its villains. Well, you know who doesn’t fuck around when it comes to playing one? Jeremy Irons. That dude just has one of those “colder than ice” airs about him, and you could see by his rendition of Scar that he carried that with him using only his voice. While I have already mentioned the uncle that molested you, this is the uncle that kills your Dad. Now that I type those two sentences side-by-side, I am not even sure which one is worse. But I digress.
Seriously, this dude drops his brother to his death to gain control of the Pride Lands. That is some Shakespeare shit right there, but with talking, animated lions. Also, let it be known that Scar sings a song and is STILL scary as hell. Disney helped me realize that anyone I loved could die at any time, and at the hands of someone else I knew and loved.

Thanks for that, Disney. I really needed to learn that at age six, right?

Ursula from The Little Mermaid

Before I even talk a word of shit about Ursula from The Little Mermaid, can I just point out that she was a badass, too? In terms of Disney villains, she had mad mojo. Rocking the “lesbian hair stylist” look from modern culture well before it got popular, and representing her “curves” with a certain level of, hmmm,  je ne sais quoi, you cannot deny that she had a special something. The thing is, she was evil, and for many of us, she reminded us of a real person we knew.
For me, it was my Oceanography teacher from my high school years. Ironic, huh? She looked exactly like this woman, sounded like her, and much like Ursula, she seemed to think she was hot (which was terrifying to many of us). That level of personification helped her earn this spot.

But speaking in terms of genuinely terrifying, how about her final form? When she is looming over the horizon and purple storm clouds spit lightning behind her? That was the stuff of nightmare fuel. She was ALMOST as traumatizing as all the penises that the animators hid in the movie.

Chernobog from Fantasia (Night on Bald Mountain)

6 Genuinely Terrifying Disney Villains

I know Disney purists will want to yell at me for this one. They will say it is cheating, and that Chernobog is only a bad guy for one small section of a movie, and this slot should be reserved for one of the more fleshed-out characters from the Disney universe. I will simply tell those people to go fuck off and write your own list. If I’m talking “genuinely terrifying” Disney villains, and I leave off this striking and unforgettable “black cursed God,” then I have failed.
The truth is, you can say Fantasia is boring (by today’s A.D.D standards), but it is actually a staggering melding of animation and music, and one that more people need to re-watch and enjoy. It was Disney taking a chance on one of their earliest movies, and while some say the chance failed, I say it resulted in one of the most amazing animated movies, ever. I know that I’m in the minority in thinking that, though.

BUT, few can argue that Chernobog from Night on Bald Mountain didn’t leave a mark on them. Truth is, I still watch Night on Bald Mountain, every single Halloween night, right before I go to bed. From the way his wings unfold to the way he manipulates the dead around him, there is nothing about him that ISN’T terrifying.

Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians

I will admit, it was hard coming up with a final entry for this list, only because there are SO many great and terrifying Disney villains. Lotso Bear almost made it. Shan-Yu from Mulan almost made it (solely because of his eyes), and even that dude from Tarzan who got his neck broken almost made it. But I had to give it to the queen of cruel. The mistress of mean. The empress in a puppy dress: Cruella De Vil.
From the jutting, jagged cheekbones, to the gray color of her skin, she just always felt palpably real (even as a cartoon character). Yes, Glenn Close did the character justice, for sure, but something about the animated version just always scared the crap out of me. A woman who wants to obtain puppies so she can wear their skin sounds more Sam Raimi than Disney, but that is just what is at the heart of this classic movie. A woman who wants to wear the skin of dead puppies. When you are a kid, and you think about that, it just messes your brain all up.

Plus, that black and white hair just struck a chord of terror in me for some reason. Like even her genes knew she was bipolar. I look at her now and imagine that Cruella De Vil is just Kim Kardashian in 30 years.


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