Hear the name Disney, and your first thoughts are likely about Mickey Mouse ears, Mary Poppins or the song Let it Go. Uplifting notions born from a company that brags it owns the Happiest Place on Earth.
But for all the cheery feelings the Mouse House has given us over the years, Disney villains have also inspired a nightmare or two.
This weekend, Maleficent creeps into theatres. Starring Angelina Jolie, it is the story of how the Sleeping Beauty villainess became evil after being betrayed by a child. With plumped up cheekbones and headgear with demonic horns, Jolie looks like something from a hellish Hieronymus Bosch painting.
“She isn’t the pretty princess,” says the actress. “She isn’t a beautiful queen. She’s a very awkward, pointy, slightly scary-looking horned creature who goes through a lot in her life.”
Maleficent joins a long list of dastardly Disney villains to inspire sleepless nights.
In The Lion King, Scar (voice of Jeremy Irons) is the brother of the king, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). In a Shakespearean twist, Scar murders his brother and banishes his nephew to gain control of Pride Rock.
Most evil line? “Long live the King.” — Scar to Mufasa before killing him.
Cruella De Vil
In the 1961 animated film and the 1996 live-action film, 101 Dalmatians, Cruella De Vil (voice of Betty Lou Gerson in the cartoon, Glenn Close in the flesh) is a diabolical fashionista who wants to incorporate puppy pelts into her wardrobe.
Most evil line? “Darling, I live for fur. I worship fur!”
Vanity pushes Queen Grimhilde (Lucille La Verne in the 1937 animated version) to try and destroy the life of her stepdaughter (Adriana Caselotti) in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The evil queen can’t bear the thought that there is someone more beautiful than she, so she first orders her huntsman to kill Snow White and cut her heart out and when that doesn’t work, she feeds the pretty girl a poisoned apple.
Most evil line? “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”
Hands down, the scariest vision in any Disney film has to be Chernabog, the winged demon who briefly appears in the Night on Bald Mountain sequence of Fantasia. He is the essence of evil and according to Villians Wiki, his hobby is bringing the dead back to life so he can kill them again. Discussing the character in an interview, Walt Disney referred to him as Satan.
Most evil line? Chernabog doesn’t have any lines. When you’re this bad, you don’t need any lines.