Kids’ Movies Based On Extremely Adult Stories

Kids’ Movies Based On Extremely Adult Stories


There are plenty of movies meant for kids
based on classic stories, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find some pretty adult
themes in the source material. A lot of the movies that we’d happily show
a four-year old have origins dark enough, they’d horrify a forty-year old. Snow White was already a pretty terrifying
movie that haunted the nightmares of many a small child when it first debuted in 1937,
but believe it or not, the fairy tale it was based on is somehow even scarier. That probably shouldn’t be surprising, though. This was a Brothers Grimm original, and those
two famous storytellers are well known for loading up their children’s stories with way
more death and violence than Disney would have you believe. Case in point: in the original Snow White
the evil queen orders a hunter to bring her Snow White’s lungs and liver, but the hunter
has a conscience so he brings back the lungs and liver of a boar instead. Then the queen eats the lungs and liver, believing
them to be Snow White’s organs, because she is just that evil. Don’t worry, though: she gets her punishment
in the end. She’s forced to wear a pair of iron shoes
and dance on hot coals until she dies. Pleasant dreams, kiddies! Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a beloved classic
that kicked off what animation fans call the Disney Renaissance with its heartwarming tale
of love, talking fish, and catchy songs about combing your hair with a fork. It’s a solid achievement in filmmaking, but
it’s even more impressive when you consider how horrific the original version of the story
actually is. The original story was written by Hans Christian
Andersen back in 1837, when parents apparently didn’t mind funneling pure nightmare fuel
into their children at beditme. For a start, the little mermaid’s sisters
like to pass the time by luring sailors to their deaths, and also mermaids don’t have
souls, so if they die they just disintegrate into the ocean and are gone forever. The prince, who is the subject of our heroine’s
affection, is patronizing and creepy and doesn’t actually marry her in the end. That doesn’t sound so bad since she might
be better off without this jerk, but in this version no marriage means death and disintegration. To save herself, the little mermaid could
kill the prince, but for some reason she loves the creep so she refuses. “Poor child. Poor sweet child … she has a VERY serious
problem.” The good news? She doesn’t actually disintegrate. Instead, Andersen doomed her to flying around
the world as some weird fairy thing for hundreds of years. Sure, why not? So at some point during the 1990s some entertainment
executive said to a room full of other entertainment executives, “Hey, do you know what would make
an awesome children’s movie? A story about an entire family who gets brutally
executed in their own cellar.” Okay, so that’s probably not how it went down,
but how else do you get an animated flick for kids based on the real-life execution
of Czar Nicholas II and his entire family during the Russian Revolution? That’s right, we’re talking about the 1997
film Anastasia. This wasn’t a Disney film, presumably because
even Disney knew better than to go anywhere near that storyline. Don Bluth, however — an ex-Disney animation
mastermind behind creepy hits like The Secret of NIMH and All Dogs Go To Heaven — had
no problem diving right in. Of course, even he decided to skip over the
whole execution thing, and after that, the story veers off in the same direction as a
lot of real-world theories about the fate of Anastasia Romanov, minus the wizard battle
at the end. She survives the Russian Revolution and lives
happily ever after with (of course) her one true love. The real story is much more tragic, and involves
the Romanov family being held as prisoners in their own home until their captors got
worried about a possible rescue attempt and decided to end the bloodline right there. With that in mind, you can forgive the kids’
movie for being historically inaccurate on that front — though to be fair, the official
records are unclear about whether a singing bat was involved. Like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty is a beloved
children’s classic featuring a curse, a purely evil antagonist who became one of Disney’s
most iconic villains, and lots of singing. In the end the princess marries her one true
love because as we all know, that’s the only way princesses can be happy. The original story, “Sun, Moon, and Talia”
was written in the 1300s and it hasn’t exactly aged well. It’s basically a tale of some creepy dude
taking advantage of an incapacitated young woman. After Sleeping Beauty is cursed, a king finds
the princess alone in a house and he, quote, “gathers the first fruits of love,” which
is a pretty sweet and flowery way of saying that he belongs in prison. Later, the princess, while she’s still essentially
comatose, gives birth to twins, wakes up, and doesn’t seem to think it’s weird at all
that she has two babies. Then the king’s wife — oh yeah, he was already
married — tries to eat the princess’ babies, because the only way to be a bigger villain
than the king in this story is straight up cannibalism. Disney’s 1996 adaptation of The Hunchback
of Notre Dame might be the all-time champion of ill-fated attempts to transform a tragic
story into a heartwarming kids movie, and it still opens with a woman being kicked to
death by an evil priest. If that’s what they left in, imagine what
they had to get rid of to wind up with their version of Quasimodo: a lovable hero who doesn’t
get the girl but does win the love and acceptance of the citizens of Paris. Delightful, right? Well, in the original story, Quasimodo falls
for the beautiful Esmeralda just like he does in the Disney version, but the evil Frollo
kills Esmeralda’s true love, Phoebus, and frames Esmerelda for it. Quasimodo bravely tries to save her from the
gallows but alas, this ain’t no Disney film. Esmeralda is hanged and Quasimodo is left
in abject despair at the end of a romping tale of the social rejection of disabled people. On the bright side, there aren’t any talking
gargoyles making fart jokes. “All right all right! Pour the wine and cut the cheese!” The massive hit Frozen doesn’t really resemble
the story it was based on, and that’s probably a good thing. If it actually had been a faithful adaptation
of The Snow Queen, there would’ve been a lot fewer songs about embracing your potential
and a whole lot more scenes of people being stabbed with broken glass. The original story came from Hans Christian
Andersen, the same guy who thought that Ariel’s family should be a bunch of literally soulless
killer fish-people. Instead of Elsa and Anna, it features a little
girl named Gerda and her best buddy Kai. Unfortunately, when the devil and a bunch
of trolls break an evil magic mirror, a shard of it impales Kai and makes it so he can only
see the worst in everything. Then, for some nonsensical reason, the boy
meets up with the Snow Queen, who is not a lovely blonde ballad-singing lady in a frosty
blue dress, but a bearskin-clad enchantress who makes him forget his home and his family. It’s not all bad, though. While everyone else thinks Kai’s dead, Gerda
decides to go after him and eventually finds him nearly frozen in the Snow Queen’s castle. When she weeps over him, her love melts his
frozen heart and the magic mirror fragments fall out and then they live happily ever after. So yeah, weirdly enough, this is one of the
few Disney movies where they actually had to add a scheming murderer who wasn’t there
in the original. It’s pretty weird that the story of a beautiful
young woman falling in love with a gigantic angry bear-wolf with horns was ever considered
appropriate for children, but at least in the Disney version, their relationship never
gets any more physical than a waltz around the castle. The original versions of the story, though
— and there’s more than one — are way more twisted and weird than the one with all
the talking furniture, even if you get past Belle’s proto-furry romance. The French fairy tale was written in 1756
and includes many tired stereotypes. Beauty is beautiful, her sisters are not,
and therefore Beauty is also morally superior because everyone knows that physically ugly
people can’t ever be beautiful on the inside. The story goes down in much the same way as
the Disney movie, except that when the Beast lets Beauty go home to visit her family, her
sisters try to keep her from going back not because they love and miss her, but because
they’re hoping the Beast will become enraged and eat her. In other versions, there are ugly fairies
trying to seduce handsome princes, babies getting snatched from their cribs, and troll
princesses and pig kings so yeah, the talking teapots of the Disney story are actually pretty
tame. They’re still gross, though. The 1967 Disney version of Rudyard Kipling’s
The Jungle Book features singing, dancing monkeys and a bear wearing a hula skirt. That’s some quality children’s entertainment
right there. The original story was a long way off from
the animated version, though. For a start, the characters used archaic language
full of “thee” and “thou,” just like Shakespeare, which must have baffled many a child reader. The story was also way more violent: in the
end Mowgli skins Shere Kahn and brings his hide back to the wolf pack. It wasn’t just man-on-tiger violence, either. Mowgli’s tutors regularly beat the crap out
of him. But that’s not the biggest problem with Kipling’s
jungle-y tale. Kipling was a British man who was born in
Colonial India in 1865, so it won’t surprise you to learn he had some pretty messed up
ideas about race and wasn’t really shy about letting those messed up ideas slip into his
writing. In The Jungle Book, the Indian villagers are
portrayed as primitive and superstitious, and he also separately wrote a poem called
“The White Man’s Burden” to explain how it was a moral imperative for the United States
to take over countries like the Philippines so that they could “civilize” their residents,
so that’s lovely. The original Jungle Book doesn’t have a happy
ending. It’s really just depressing. There’s no happy meeting with a lovely villager
— Mowgli does go back to the human village but finds he doesn’t belong there, either,
and so he ends up doomed to a life in between the worlds of men and beasts, never fully
belonging to either. So really the only thing that’s the same about
Puss in Boots from the 2011 Shrek spin-off and Puss in Boots from the original fairy
tale is that it’s the story of a cat who wears a feathered hat and walks upright in a pair
of shiny leather boots. In the modern version of the story, Puss drinks
from saucers of milk at the pub, is frenemies with Humpty Dumpty, tries to steal the goose
that lays the golden eggs, and gets tangled up with Jack and Jill, who are actually weird
thugs who commit crimes while having Tarantino-esque conversations about parenthood. “Well, that we cut down some of the hijacking
and murdering. It’s fun and all, but, uh… I want a baby.” In the original fairy tale, Puss in Boots’
owner is an impoverished young man who decides he’s going to have to eat his cat and make
some clothing out of his skin, so right away we’re in some rough territory. The cat, who for some reason can talk and
walk upright, would prefer not to be eaten, so instead he offers to help his master improve
his situation. But instead of going into the entertainment
business as, you know, a walking, talking 17th century Garfield, he instead goes out
and lies, cheats, and steals his way through a series of challenges until his master ends
up married to a princess. That’s how fairy tales always end, except
for the ones where everyone dies. So the moral of this story, kids, is that
lying will get you everywhere and cheating is a totally acceptable way to get what you
want. The end. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
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