The words 'Disney' and 'horror' are two that don't seem like they should ever be in the same ballpark, don't they? But you'd be surprised at how many films in Disney's library actually fit into the horror genre. Sure, they've done their classic Halloween flicks with spooks and scares, but how about some real horror?
The brand might be associated with all things happy and magical, but they've got some skeletons and specters in their closet. If you're looking for a little monster in your magic, you've come to the right place. These are ten horror flicks made by Disney.
10 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
We know we're cheating by only putting half a movie on our list, but who can say their Halloween is complete without being exposed to this classic? Not only is Disney's adaptation of Sleepy Hollow one of the most accurate versions of the tale, but it is possibly the epitome of a gothic cartoon.
Think about that third act of the feature. Aside from a few gags in the chase sequence, this is a pretty creepy sequence for Disney. For a kid, Disney's Headless Horseman is one tough customer, with or without a catchy theme song. Do we even need to mention that bone-chilling laugh of his?
Where would the wonderful and weird side of Disney be without the creative genius of Tim Burton? Inspired by a short-film Disney deemed "too dark," the studio decided to let him make Frankenweenie into a full feature film. Yeah, noodle that one a while.
Burton has always had a knack for stop-motion and, next to Corpse Bride, this is probably his best work in the medium. Though definitely charming with its heartwarming boy-and-his-dog narrative, the references to classic monsters, eerie Burton-designed visuals, and nightmarish monsters, it's definitely creepier than your average animated outing from Walt Disney Pictures.
8 Hocus Pocus
We know it's more of a comedy than a straight-up horror flick, but consider the elements that go into making this '90s masterpiece. The Sanderson sisters are witches that prey on children, ax off a little girl in the film's opening, are hanged and later burned alive, and their entire scheme is to bewitch the young victims of Salem. That's some pretty heavy stuff.
This film definitely warrants its PG rating, though it does well to balance out the horror with the humor. Since its resurgence in recent years, we're honestly quite happy to welcome the Sandersons back after all this time.
7 Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
"Ye best start believin' in ghost stories, Miss Turner..." Who would have thought that a film inspired by a Disney attraction would spawn a successful series and a role that would be the crowning achievement of Johnny Depp's career? Though it was inspired by a Disney ride, that doesn't mean it didn't have a share of scares.
With undead skeletons, jumpscares, and ancient curses, there's no doubt the swashbuckling adventure has its share of horror tropes. Of the series, it's definitely our favorite, but it's a Disney flick that was worthy of their first PG-13 rating.
6 Something Wicked This Way Comes
If there was one Disney film that represents the word chilling, it's this unsettling film. Based on Ray Bradbury's terrifying novel with a screenplay written by the author himself, this eerie outing tells the tale of what happens when a sinister circus sweeps through a sleepy little town.
There's no death, no gore, and no graphic violence, but this film definitely makes us a bit uneasy. Though not nearly as scary as the source material, there's always a mysterious and foreboding atmosphere whenever Mr. Dark's circus troupe takes the screen. An underrated Disney flick if ever there was one, don't be afraid to step into the big top some night.
5 Disney's A Christmas Carol
We know what you're thinking, what on earth is a Christmas flick doing on this list? Simple, Disney is one of the few studios to recognize that Charles Dickens' classic holiday tale is a ghost story first and a Christmas story second. The original text even calls it "a ghost story of Christmas", and you can bet your boots Disney stuck to that idea.
From the corpse-like visage of Jacob Marley to the graphic and gruesome demise of the Ghost of Christmas Present, this is definitely not your mom and dad's Christmas Carol. The over-the-top effects and eerie visuals really make this flick a haunted holiday favorite.
4 Don't Look Under the Bed
The only Disney Channel Original Movie to be featured on our list, Don't Look Under the Bed is infamous for its unexpected creep factor. When a teen evokes the wrath of the horrifying Boogeyman, she must team up with her brother's imaginary friend to save him from the Boogeyman's clutches.
The plot is all over the place, but the effects, visuals, and images are definitely some Disney-made nightmare fuel. We're talking creepy dolls, giant snakes, and all manner of monsters creeping about. It's definitely a DCOM that no viewer will forget, for good or for bad. We know we won't.
3 Return To Oz
When you hear the title The Wizard of Oz, you probably think of scarecrows, Munchkins, and flying monkeys, right? Well, what about rock monsters, shock therapy, and a witch with a collection of interchangeable heads? Because that's exactly what Disney gave us in Return to Oz.
Though it's considered a cult film amongst Disney fans nowadays, when this dark fantasy was first released, critics bashed it for being too scary. To be fair, they weren't wrong. But, because the film was so imaginative and creative, it has its audience. The film can be a surreal dreamscape or a twisted nightmare, you'll just have to watch for yourself.
2 The Black Cauldron
Speaking of dark fantasy films, how about we talk about the movie that not only almost killed Disney Animation Studios but nearly warranted an R rating. The Black Cauldron is definitely one of the darkest things ever to be spawned from Disney, and its reputation is more than deserved, but that doesn't mean it's a bad film.
The film itself isn't awful, it's just incomplete. You can think Katzenberg for cutting over 11 minutes from the final product. If you're looking to see something definitely outside of Disney's comfort zone, this is it. And, if the Horned King didn't tip you off, you're in for a few scares.
1 The Watcher in the Woods
Of all the movies on this list, this is the one that is 100%, pure, purposeful, frightening, horror. The Watcher in the Woods is a paranormal thriller with just a touch of sci-fi for good measure.
Take a haunted house with a terrible history, a missing little girl, and a presence/entity that stalks the main characters and you've got a pretty good scary movie. While it's true this is still a family-friendly film, its horror takes a few queues from movies like The Haunting and even The Evil Dead. Eerie, unsettling, and downright chilling, this film proves Disney can do horror just as well as anyone else.