Disney films are known for their charm and overall tone of being family friendly. However sometimes there are scenes that children may not realize how gruesome or scary they truly are. I absolutely believe that a film needs to have a strong villain which helps drive the story and gives us that climactic battle we’ve all been waiting for. Many Disney villains never make it out alive by the time the credits role around because 99.9% of the time, the good guys ALWAYS win.
I’ve seen plenty of deaths in cinema over the course of my lifetime but I have to honestly say that Disney has given us quite a list of memorable death scenes. All of these scenes take place near the very end of the film so a SPOILER ALERT should be in order from here on out. I’m sure most of you have seen these movies so this list should feel very personable to you. We have watched these films over and over again not realizing the horror that took place towards the main villains. So now I present to you my list of the “Top 10 Brutal Disney Villain Death Scenes.”
#10. Shan Yu: Mulan
After Mulan stops him in his tracks with his own sword, Shan Yu is sent flying by a lit rocket which shoots him out into the building that houses all of the fireworks. Here he gets blown to smithereens as Mulan safely gets away from the explosions. Shan Yu put up a good fight but was ultimately taken out by a young warrior princess.
#9. Bill Sykes: Oliver and Company
Just narrowly avoiding the oncoming train, Oliver and his pals clear to safety but Sykes isn’t so lucky. His black Limousine runs straight into the train and gets pulverized. What makes this death seem gruesome is the fact that this could actually happen in real life with people trying to beat a train over the intersection.
#8. Maleficent: Sleeping Beauty
Shortly after turning into a Dragon, Maleficent appeared unstoppable until Prince Philip delivered the final blow. With the help of the three fairies, Philip threw the sword straight into her heart which causes her to collapse and fall to her death. Disney has plenty of deaths where the villains fall but this one also involves a stabbing and draws blood. Maleficent will go down as one of the most feared Disney villains but like everyone else, she eventually meets her demise.
#7. Claude Frollo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Yet another falling death, Frollo loses his leverage after the Gargoyle statue breaks apart. It’s a terrifying scene (much like his ‘Hellfire’ song) because the statue “comes alive” and brings him straight down to his doom into the pit of fire. He most likely died right on impact, but if not he was definitely burned alive.
#6. Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke: Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Not a very well-known Disney film, however this scene is pretty startling. Shortly after Milo Thatch is thrown off the machine, Thatch hangs on for dear life on the device holding Kida. Thatch cuts Rourke’s arm with a crystal shard which gradually crystallizes his entire body. He is still alive however until the machine cuts him into pieces.
#5. Clayton: Tarzan
Of all the Disney deaths, this one you don’t actually see (well kind of). While Tarzan is keeping Clayton at bay, he begins to throw Vines towards him which subdues his movement. However Clayton carelessly begins cutting down the vines around him forgetting the one that’s attached to his neck. Adults watching this could see this death coming a mile away as he falls quickly towards the ground instantly snapping his neck. As I said we don’t really see his neck snap, but a bolt of lightning casts a shadow on the wall showing us Clayton hanging there.
#4. Ursula: The Little Mermaid
Ursula gets her due when she grows to extreme heights to become the evil queen of the sea. Ariel and Erik have their backs against the wall because they are so small. However, by Ursula controlling the seas, she brings up sunken ship remnants which allows Erik to take control of one and steer the vessel straight into Ursula’s heart. While a stabbing doesn’t appear to be all that brutal, what makes up for this death is the fact that she also is electrocuted in the process. We see her bones flicker from the lightning as she tumbles down into the ocean depths.
#3. Syndrome: The Incredibles
The first Disney/Pixar film to receive a PG rating, The Incredibles gave us plenty of eye-candy action. This death scene shows us the reason why heroes (or villains) shouldn’t wear capes. Unfortunately Syndrome learns a valuable lesson as a plane sucks him right up into the engine. He is killed instantly and dies a very horrific death.
#2. Hopper: A Bug’s Life
Shortly after Flik lures Hopper towards a nest, a giant bird reveals itself. Hopper however thinks this “bird” is another one of Fliks tricks but that could be nothing further from the truth. The bird follows him swiftly and snatches him right up. However it’s not the mother who will be devouring him but the babies instead. The camera pans straight into the mouth of one of the birds and Hopper gets eaten alive by three baby birds. My number one choice however is far more barbaric…
#1. Scar: The Lion King
It appears that Scar makes it out alive after the confrontation between him and Simba. However Scar made the mistake of betraying the Hyena’s so they turn on him and make him their nights meal. Yet another death we don’t see, but the idea is there. Like Hopper, Scar is eaten alive by a bunch of hungry Hyena’s. This is perhaps the most brutal and appalling Disney death so far that has been put on film.
So there’s my list of the most brutal deaths Disney has put on the big screen. Did you agree with my list? What other death scenes stood out to you that should have been on this list? Please share your thoughts and comment below!