6 more Disney films that could make great horror movies

With a new push on horror movies based on animated characters, these six Disney flicks could inspire a lot of scares for moviegoers!
OLAF'S FROZEN ADVENTURE - "Olaf's Frozen Adventure" will air THURSDAY, DEC. 12 (8:00-8:30 p.m. EST), on ABC. (Disney)
OLAF'S FROZEN ADVENTURE - "Olaf's Frozen Adventure" will air THURSDAY, DEC. 12 (8:00-8:30 p.m. EST), on ABC. (Disney) OLAF /

There’s been a new trend in horror movies of taking public domain characters and warping them into horror characters. That’s led by the Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey film and one based on Steamboat Willie. There’s even a full cinematic universe being planned revolving around such characters.

Our own Brian Miller had a good piece on this trend and suggested a few Disney characters that can be used for horror films. There are horror flicks in the works for The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan but a few others in the Disney pantheon could lend themselves well for a horror film twist. Here are a half-dozen which can work as horror films and show how dark Disney flicks can get. 

Brother Bear could mix up humanity's monstrous side

Estelle Harris
Estelle Harris / Mark Mainz/GettyImages

This 2003 movie is likely the most forgotten of the dying gasp of Disney’s Animation Renaissance. That makes it good fodder to build on with a fresher take on a story of an Eskimo hunter killing a bear and cursed into becoming one himself. It could play on the classic themes of the Wolfman as he tries to fight the animalistic side taking over but failing. 

Bears are brutal creatures on film already so we can have them attacking hunters and that classic idea it’s that humans can be true monsters. Mix it with a man transformed into a beast and this underrated film can be a nice one for horror buffs. 

Frozen can make Elsa the villain

INTO THE UNKNOWN – In “Frozen 2,” Elsa feels that she’s being beckoned by a voice from far away, a calling she can’t ignore showcased in the original song “Into the Unknown.” She learns that answers await her—but she must venture far from home. Featuring Idina Menzel as the voice of Elsa, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved. /

It’s famous how Frozen was originally going to have Elsa as the villain and changed during production. So why not just go that direction? A literally cold-hearted queen capable of freezing anyone around her is perfect for a horror movie with this Snow Queen dominating a terrified kingdom. 

Maybe it would lack the sisterly bond, yet this film can boast some stuff like Elsa creating snow monsters and other horrific touches. Imagine a ten foot tall Olaf rampaging around. The sight of folks frozen into ice can be (pardon the obvious pun) chilling and show how Elsa as the baddie would have made Frozen into a wilder film. 

Atlantis: The Lost Empire can be dark

Disney’s 2001 film was a box office flop yet has some good potential with its sci-fi themes. The very concept of an underwater civilization protected by huge subs designed like sea monsters is promising. The movie can also amp up the supernatural nature of Atlantis and the dark secret they hold. 

It could still become more of a sci-fi epic as Atlantis launches attacks on the surface world with sea monsters and other spectacles. If it’s more low-key horror, having the explorers discover the evil behind Atlantis could finally give this Disney bomb the respect it deserves. 

Tarzan could have him as a dark hunter

Celebrities Attend The Premiere Of Tarzan
Celebrities Attend The Premiere Of Tarzan / Evan Agostini/GettyImages

The Tarzan legends have him being heroic yet this movie could work in a different light. Imagine a Tarzan more like the Predator movies, seeing a band of poachers invade his home and slaughter his creatures. Thus, he turns the hunters into the hunted. 

So you’ve got a Tarzan picking off the hunters via traps, playing mind games to freak them out, using the jungle and the beasts inside it to strike and still be the good guy as the hunters are worse. It shows you don’t need fantasy or sci-fi to make a thriller of the Lord of the Jungle protecting his kingdom. 

Jungle Book has plenty of horror themes

Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi) meets Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson) in “The Jungle Book,” an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub raised in the jungle by a family of wolves, who embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known. In theaters April 15, 2016. ..©2015 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Keeping to the jungle theme, this film has a great chance to build up some horror aspects. It can be a plotline of a film crew doing a documentary on a remote jungle section only to run into animals capable of speech or at least very intelligent and hunting them down. 

You can have Kaa mesmerizing his prey before feasting on the humans, Shere Khan attacking, even the monkeys can be monstrous in large numbers. Baloo could also be a bit darker and the jungle itself is an enemy to contend with. This could be one wild creature feature that makes the infamously dark story better. 

Pinocchio is classic Disney nightmare fuel

Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) in Disney's live-action PINOCCHIO, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

This is one of the scariest Disney movies ever, and a lot here to play with for a horror movie. You’ve got the horror of a talking wooden puppet, which can easily lend itself to it stalking folks and is mostly unstoppable. There can also be the dark idea of Gepetto crafting humans into puppets for some strange army.

Then there’s the Pleasure Island sequence, with boys turned into donkeys and used as slave labor amid a nightmarish theme park. That would be a dark tale as well, with younger visitors unaware of how a new fair is being used to warp them around, and CGI for the transformations would be striking. Either way it goes, this tale can make an already scary Disney movie into a horror classic.