Kids' movies should be full of fun and adventure, with an important life lesson to be gleaned by the end. In other words, they should be easily-consumable entertainment that will better prepare children for growing up while leaving out all the dark and depressing moments of adulthood. But if you’ve ever actually gone back decades later to watch one of your favorite childhood movies, there’s a good chance that you’ve been shocked at its darkness.
For instance, Disney classics such as Bambi and Pinocchio contain numerous scenes of smoking, underage drinking, vandalism, and even death. Even the more light-hearted Toy Story has a fairly disturbing sequence where the bully Sid decapitates a doll and re-attaches a dinosaur head.
So it might surprise you to learn that these kids movies, and many more, were actually even more disturbing upon their conception. Originally, the infamous death scene at the beginning of Bambi was going to be far more gratuitous, and even the kind-hearted Woody was initially going to be a stuck-up jerk. Thankfully these films went through some much-needed changes and ended up scrapping a number of disturbing moments that would have had no place in children’s entertainment.
Here are 15 Shocking Scenes That Had To Be Cut From Kids' Movies.
15 The Lion King — Scar Creeping On Nala
Ever wonder why Nala was wandering out in the jungle before she reunited with Simba in The Lion King? It’s because there’s an unused scene that shows Scar banishing Nala from the Pride Lands after the creepiest proposal ever.
The moment comes after Scar decides he needs heirs to maintain his shaky hold over the animal kingdom. Thus, he decides that Nala will be his wife and proceeds to force himself upon her during a creepy rendition of “Be Prepared.” Scar even finishes by telling her that she really has no choice in the matter and that one way or another he always gets what he wants.
It’s no wonder that this scene didn’t make it into the final film, as it turns Scar from a power-hungry villain into a full-blown predator — which has no place in a G-rated Disney film.
14 The Santa Clause — Adult Phone Line
This particular scene in The Santa Clause actually made it into the film’s theatrical release, but it was subsequently removed from all at-home releases due to some shocking and unexpected consequences.
The scene involves Tim Allen’s character making a joke about an adult phone line and giving out the number, "1-800-SPANK-ME." Since it’s a throwaway line that has no bearing on the plot, parents probably got a chuckle out of it and assumed the line went straight over their kid’s head. But you should never underestimate a child’s curiosity.
Apparently, kids who saw The Santa Clause actually started calling this number, which turned out to be a legitimate phone sex line! So it probably didn’t take too many complaints before the scene was removed for the VHS.
13 Toy Story — Woody Throws Buzz Out The Window
We’ve all come to love Woody as the enthusiastic and loyal leader of Andy’s toys in Toy Story. But the pull-string cowboy was originally conceived to be a lot more self-centered than the version we ended up getting in the finished film, and would put his desire to be Andy’s favorite above all else.
The scene where Buzz is accidentally knocked out the window by a swinging lamp was originally going to involve Woody literally throwing the astronaut over the ledge. If that wasn’t already bad enough, Woody then threatens to throw the other toys out the window for not falling in line.
Understandably, test audiences were none too pleased with the main character of a children’s movie being so megalomaniacal, and the plot was thankfully altered to make Woody more sympathetic in his flaws.
12 Home Alone — Kevin’s Creepy Uncle
It doesn’t take long into Home Alone to learn that Kevin McCallister’s family is far from perfect. His brother calls him a phlegm wad, his family eats all the cheese pizza, and his mother banishes him to the creepy attic to sleep with a bed-wetter. Not to mention that they leave him behind while they travel to Paris.
But in a deleted scene we learn that Kevin’s uncle may be the worst of them all. Not only does Uncle Frank call Kevin a little jerk in front of the whole family, but in an unused scene, his uncle pretends to be warming up to his nephew only to call him another name right before pulling Kevin’s pants down.
Pantsing someone might be funny when you’re both 10-years-old, but when it’s an adult doing it to a child, the gesture takes on a far creepier vibe.
11 Zootopia — Shock Collars
One of the best animated movies in recent memory, Zootopia managed to tackle the complex correlation between racism and political corruption without every become too bleak or heavy-handed for younger audiences. However, there was one disturbing concept from the film that was thankfully cut from the final version.
These scenes involved the predators having to wear shock collars, which would zap the wearer if they ever got too emotional, in order to stay in Zootopia. In a few partially animated scenes for the movie, we see Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde stumble upon to a Taming Party, where the watch a young bear learn the reality of his new collar.
Later, Nick even finds himself wearing one, which leads to the fox falling into a catatonic state after having his emotions suppressed for so long.
10 Bambi — The Mother’s Corpse
As if this wasn’t already one of the most disturbing moments in any kid’s movie, the infamous death scene in Bambi was originally conceived to be longer and even more bleak.
While it’s clear that Bambi’s mother is shot and killed by a hunter in the final version of the film, all of the violence actually takes place off-screen, allowing the audience to come to terms with the death in their own time, just as Bambi must.
But the script originally had the hunter literally drag the dead body away, followed by Bambi finding the imprint in the snow left by his mom.
Leaving this in the film would’ve no doubt made a heart-breaking scene into a gratuitous one, especially considering it was one of the first animated films to introduce children to the concept of a parent’s death.
9 Frozen — Elsa Tortures Her Enemies
Much like Woody in the original Toy Story, Elsa is another Disney character who was originally conceived to be much more antagonistic than the final version we got.
In one scrapped scene, Elsa was shown to use her icy powers to interrogate/torture two Arendelle soldiers in order to acquire information about Admiral Westergard along with her sister’s whereabouts. She then proceeds to raise an army of snow monsters, warning the guards that they should never have underestimated her powers.
Since Frozen was originally based on The Snow Queen, it makes sense that the filmmakers would toy with some of the fairy tale’s darker concepts. But suggesting that violence is an easy way for a hero to get answers definitely doesn’t have a place in a Pixar movie.
8 Back to the Future — Marty Worries He’ll Be Turned Gay
While many movies from the 1980s are wrought with homophobia and sexism — including films like Porky’s and Revenge of the Nerds — 1985’s Back to the Future holds up impressively well under modern-day sensibilities. However, that wouldn’t have been the case if this cringe-worthy scene had been included in the final cut.
Here, Marty expresses hesitance in taking his mom out, worried that he might be gay by the time he returns to the future. While the concept of being “turned” gay is already insensitive enough, Doc’s advice hits all the wrong notes as well.
He tells Marty that he must go through with taking his mother out if he ever wants to be born and that all he has to do is “take a few liberties with her.” Doc even throws Marty a wink, as if the whole scene wasn’t already slimy enough.
7 Cars — Graveyard Of Corpses
Because animated movies are so time-consuming to produce, each scene often undergoes rough storyboarding to make sure that it can successfully make the jump from page to screen. But even with its crude pencil-drawn sketches, it’s clear that this moment from Cars would have been far too creepy for the final cut.
The moment in question involves Lightning McQueen stumbling into a graveyard of dead cars with twisted branches jutting out of them, right before the trees and barbed wire fence almost seem to take on a life of their own and try to trap McQueen in the woods.
While this scene is no a big deal for adults, the cars in this Pixar movie are literally the equivalent to people for younger viewers. Just imagine stumbling upon a woods full of impaled humans and you’d get a better sense of how a five-year-old might feel watching this.
6 Mulan — Shan Yu Murders His Own Men
Since the story takes place during the Huns invasion of China, Mulan inevitably features its fair share of violence. However, the more gruesome parts of warfare are only alluded to as to not traumatize any younger viewers — save for this one scene that never made the final cut.
The moment comes when Shan Yu orders his men to raid a village and burn it to the ground. However, when one of the soldiers decides to rescue a pet bird, Shan Yu decides to make an example of him by throwing the little bird to his hawk before stabbing the soldier in the stomach, killing him.
While the scene does a great job at quickly establishing Shan Yu as the villain, it’s simply far too graphic for a G-rated Disney movie.
5 Who Framed Roger Rabbit — Acme’s Funeral
How Who Framed Roger Rabbit ever received a PG-rating in the first place remains baffling. The film is rampant with sexual undertones and illusions to alcoholism, not to mention the infamous scene where Judge Doom submerges a Toon Shoe into “the Dip,” slowly killing it.
But one disturbing scene that never made it passed the storyboards involved a number of toons attending the funeral of their beloved Marvin Acme — the owner of Toontown who Roger Rabbit is later framed for murdering.
While the movie has plenty of adult moments, the funeral scene is steeped in grief, showing many of the toons weeping while they carry the casket of their deceased friend — which is pretty bleak even by the rest of the film’s standards.
4 Pinocchio — Geppetto Almost Eats His Pet
Soon after Geppetto sets out in search of his living marionette, the woodworker is swallowed up by a giant whale named Monstro, along with his tuxedo cat Fiagro and his goldfish Cleo. While their time inside the whale’s belly is no doubt bleak, an unused scene for the film further chronicled the struggles that the trio encountered.
Unable to catch a fish, Geppetto and Figaro actually become so hungry that they contemplate feasting on Cleo together, only to later snap to their senses and realize that it would be out of the question to eat their friend.
Since Pinocchio is already fairly dark in comparison to modern day Disney cartoons, it’s probably for the best that this disturbing scene never made it past the storyboards.
3 Lilo and Stitch — Stich kills Pudge the Fish
Speaking of dead fish, this scrapped scene from Lilo and Stitch actually committed to killing off the aquatic character, resulting in yet another scene too shocking for the final film.
While Stitch is indeed a menace, this scene turns the endearing adopted “puppy” into a cold-hearted killer, which begins with Lilo introducing Stitch to her other best friend, Pudge the Fish. Stitch proceeds to throw the fish to the ground, which results in Pudge being picked apart and killed by seagulls.
The real kicker? Stitch is actually smiling while the entire scene takes place, even when Lilo begs for his help after coming under attack by the seagulls while trying to save Pudge.
It’s a wonder how this sadistic moment ever made it into the script in the first place.
2 The Black Cauldron — Melting Flesh
To be fair, The Black Cauldron has plenty of dark moments sprinkled throughout the story, which earned Disney its first PG-rating for an animated film. This also resulted in The Black Cauldron being a massive flop at the box office, leading to a 12-year lapse between the film’s theatrical and at-home releases.
While plenty of scenes had to be removed from the film after a test screening gone horribly wrong — which resulted in many children fleeing the theater — most of the cuts revolved around the film’s climactic Cauldron-born sequence.
Here, we see that a character’s flesh is literally melting off his body, similar to the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark — another scene that had to be modified due to its graphic nature.
1 The Wizard of Oz — Dance Till They Drop
Since The Wizard of Oz is often cited as one of the greatest movies of all time, many parents make the mistake of showing this classic to their kids when they’re still way too young. Whether it be the old-timey aesthetic, the over-the-top performances, or the acid-trip effect of the Technicolor — there’s just something intrinsically creepy about the entire film.
If you feel the same way, then you’re no doubt grateful that this particular scene was axed. It involves the Wicked Witch sending out a bug to bite Dorthy and the gang, causing the group to dance uncontrollably until they have no more energy to defend themselves. Very little footage of this musical number -- appropriately known as “The Jitterbug” -- still exist today. Which is actually fine by us.
Do you think any of these shocking scenes should’ve been kept in their respective films? Let us know!
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