When Disney Scared Us: The Films They’d Rather Forget

When Disney Scared Us: The Films They’d Rather Forget

I don’t mean to go all Andy Rooney, but back in my day, Disney wasn’t so friendly. They were MOSTLY friendly, sure, but there was a time, in the pre-Katzenberg, pre-Eisner days where the studio wasn’t making its usual kid-accepted, doe-eyed family fare. There’d always been an element of fear or danger in even the softest of Disney’s animated features, especially early on, but by the mid-1970s, the House of Mouse was beginning to try new things, live-action things, things for an older audience, and most importantly, scary things. For about ten years, between 1975 and 1985, Disney was putting money into effects-driven horror, sci-fi, and dark fantasy in a way they never had before, still “for kids,” but decidedly more frightening. Largely, Disney nowadays pretends that that period didn’t exist, certainly not in keeping with today’s ultra-sunny mood. But, oh, my friends, if you were a child in the ’80s and ’90s and you had a VCR, it’s likely these films shaped you, disturbed you, made you the misanthropic geek you are today. In a good way.

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