Scariest Disney Movie Theories That Will Ruin Your Childhood

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Disney and Pixar films share a host of disturbing fan theories. Here are theories offering dark alternative explanations to the meaning of Disney films.

The internet seems to have a talent for sucking the innocence out of almost anything. The well-loved children’s classics of Disney, and subsidiary studio Pixar, are no exception.

From post-apocalyptic hellscapes to hidden references and real-world conspiracies, these dark and disturbing fan theories offer terrifying alternative explanations for the meaning of Disney films.

10. Peter Pan – Child Snatcher

On the surface, Disney’s Peter Pan appears to be a celebration of childhood. After all, Peter Pan lives happily in Neverland, a place where kids don’t age.

But the fact that Peter appears to be responsible for bringing more kids in from the outside world has led some fans to theorize that he is an angel who escorts dead children to heaven, or “Neverland”, where they remain at the age at which they died forever.

Peter Pan 1

However, Wendy and her brothers are eventually returned home in the 1953 film, leading some to interpret their adventure as a near-death experience. There is a darker theory, however, which suggests Peter is a demonic entity who murders children and keeps their souls in his realm.

Peter Pan 2

Could it be that Captain Hook is the true hero, and simply wants to put an end to all of Peter’s evil doings? These theories don’t seem so outrageous when you consider the early drafts of J.M. Berrie’s original play, where Peter Pan was written as a villain who kidnapped kids right from their beds.

9. Frozen’s Leatherface

Frozen is one of Disney’s biggest hits of all time. The wintry hit features a loveable Reindeer named Sven, the sidekick of Kristoff, a mountaineer. The light-hearted flick took on a new meaning after Reddit user Superclaud01 pointed out the eerie similarities between Sven’s fur and the lining of Kristoff’s jacket.

Frozen’s Leatherface

According to the Redditor, it’s quite possible that Kristoff’s jacket is made from reindeer pelt – possibly even from Sven’s mother.

It sounds ridiculous at first but look at it logically: Sven and Kristoff live in the icy wilderness, where there are few useful resources. In a practical sense, any reindeer deemed unsuitable for practical roles by the local ice harvesters are very likely used for meat and pelts. Perhaps Sven’s mother fell into the latter category.

Frozen’s Leatherface 1

Some suggest that being an orphan himself, Kristoff had a natural bond with the newly-orphaned baby reindeer, which explains why they stick together. But some have gone further.

Proponents of the darkest theory suggest that Sven can still smell his mother on Kristoff’s clothing, which is why he follows him around. Sven might not even realize his best friend is wearing his mother’s skin, guided instead by an instinctive attraction to the comforting smell.

Frozen’s Leatherface 2

8. Hook the Mermaid-Killer

8. Hook the Mermaid-Killer (2)

This theory seemingly bridges the gap between Peter Pan and another beloved Disney movie; The Little Mermaid. It’s shown, in Peter Pan, that mermaids are present in Neverland, and they have an intense fear of pirates.

In the Little Mermaid, it’s revealed that Ariel’s mother is dead. At the same time, ‘The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginnings’ reveals that Ariel’s mom was, in fact, killed by pirates. There is a mermaid in Neverland who looks similar to Ariel, sharing her red hair and shell bikini.

8. Hook the Mermaid-Killer

With the mermaids’ fear of pirates in Peter Pan and the murder of Ariel’s mother, it’s conceivable that Captain Hook and his crew were responsible. The mermaid in Peter Pan who resembles Ariel could be Ariel’s mother herself, later murdered off-screen by Hook.

This might explain why Neptune wants Ariel to stay away from humans so badly; he knows how dangerous they can be.

8. Hook the Mermaid-Killer 3

7. Disney-Pocalypse

At first glance, the 1992 classic, Aladdin, appears to take place in an unspecified middle-Eastern province of the past, based on clothing and culture. However, this upcoming theory suggests a more futuristic angle. Either someone slipped up in Disney’s movie logic-checking department, or Disney was telling a tale of a distant future.

It’s all revealed in the genie’s lines. For starters, Genie claims that an outfit looks "too third century” and later says “10,000 years will give you such a crick in the neck.”

7. Disney-Pocalypse

If we assume that the genie, at the earliest, was placed into the lamp for 10,000 years, sometime in the third century CE - a period he has clearly experienced - these references would date the movie within the year 10,300 CE at the earliest.

7. Disney-Pocalypse 1

The numerous times the genie impersonates 20th-century celebrities like Jack Nicholson may push this date back even further. While the clothing and culture of the film seem to suggest a past setting, let’s not forget that fashion is cyclical. Unfortunately, even flares may come back!

If the movie is in fact set in the future, this could also mean that the magic carpet isn’t really magic at all, but one of civilization’s prime pieces of technology. After all, according to Arthur C. Clarke, "any piece of sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

7. Disney-Pocalypse 2

Some fans have even turned to the video game, which shows off twenty-first-century road signs and what could possibly be left over atomic bombs, suggesting that Aladdin’s world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

7. Disney-Pocalypse (3)

That’s not to mention the sentient, talking parrot, who theorists suggest is clearly the result of genetic engineering. This theory is viable, after all, who knows what the Earth of the future will look like?

6. Frozen Was A Diversion

Disney’s Frozen may have been created as a distraction. A well-known, long-standing legend claims Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen in order to be brought back to life one day in the future. There are even urban legends that his body is frozen somewhere in Disney World.

6. Frozen Was A Diversion 1

But the theory gets even crazier when you open up your internet browser and search ‘Disney Frozen'. Ever since the film was released in 2013, the search terms will no longer yield wild conspiracies about the supposedly-deceased celebrity. Instead, they will bring up images of princesses and snowmen.

6. Frozen Was A Diversion

Theorists suggest that this was completely intentional, a design by the Disney estate to quash discussion of the cryogenic theory once and for all. Coincidence? Maybe.

However, the theory begins to unravel when you realize that simply adding ‘Walt’ before the search terms will still bring up the old urban legend.

5. Up To Heaven

5. Up To Heaven 1

According to one theory, Carl, the loveably grumpy protagonist in Up, died in his sleep after being told he had to leave his home. On top of this, the theory suggests that like Clarence in the cinematic classic, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, Russell is an angel trying to earn his wings by dragging Carl to the afterlife. This is metaphorically represented by a scout badge.

5. Up To Heaven

After all, Carl is trying to get to “Paradise” Falls, which only adds fuel to the possibility of the "Carl is Dead" theory being true. Up is already sad enough without this depressing theory. Who would forgive Disney for those opening 10 minutes?

4. Zootopia, USA

Zootopia certainly has some strong messages about diversity, inclusivity, and prejudice, but there might be an even deeper, darker meaning. In the movie, one of the allegorical ‘races’, the predators, is starting to turn violent.

The fact that predators are already feared only makes matters worse, because initially it seems like they are turning “savage” out of their own nature.

4. Zootopia, USA 1
©Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios

At the end of the film, we learn that the predators are actually being injected with something to make them behave like this, and the entire scheme has been orchestrated by the Deputy Mayor of Zootopia herself.

One particularly outlandish interpretation, tying into a real-life conspiracy theory, suggests that the movie is meant to be an allegory for the crack cocaine epidemic in America. Theorists believe that this ties in with a wider theory that the U.S. government is responsible for the manufacture and distribution the cocaine to black communities.

4. Zootopia, USA 2
©Be Amazed

This allows the internal destruction of said communities through gang violence, legitimizing bigoted stereotypes while stoking the flames of fear in external communities. It sounds eerily similar to what the Deputy Mayor of Zootopia did to her people.

She hated the predators and wanted others to hate them while also eliminating them. Could Zootopia contain a secret insight into deeply-ingrained racism in America? It’s a compelling theory, but then again, this is a Disney film, and the company’s founder wasn’t the most progressive of thinkers.

3. Toy Story’s Darkest Hour

Fans have come up with all kinds of interpretations of the Toy Story movies. However, the shocking theory, started by film critic Jordan Hoffman, that Toy Story 3 is a metaphor for the holocaust may be the darkest yet.

3. Toy Story’s Darkest Hour

For starters, the toys spend a chunk of the film expressing hopes to hide away from the realities of the changing world in a dusty attic. As Woody and pals view the attic as a means to escape being carted off against their will, some perceive this to be a reference to Anne Frank.

One of the most-discussed victims of the Holocaust, Anne Frank spent the final section of her young life hiding in an attic with her jewish family to avoid certain death at the hands of the Nazis.

3. Toy Story’s Darkest Hour 1

Next, the toys are shipped off to Sunnyside Daycare, which supposedly serves as the movie’s concentration camp. The parallels are certainly there. With a harsh dictatorship clearly at play, violent coercion at the command of Lotso Huggins is commonplace.

The toys even come close to destruction in an incinerator toward the end, a demise disturbingly similar to the violent deaths many Jewish people met during the Holocaust.

3. Toy Story’s Darkest Hour 2

While it seems like an unusual subject matter for a kids’ film, other classics like Star Wars drew direct inspiration from the fascist regime. Therefore, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.

2. Carnage

Why do the cars in Pixar’s ‘Cars’ have rearview mirrors, doors, and windows?

2. Carnage

Questions like this, regarding the puzzling anatomy of the titular characters, have fueled theories ever since the film was released in 2006. The design features on all of the vehicles strongly imply human accessibility. However, humans supposedly don’t exist in this universe, right?

2. Carnage 2

One theory claims that humans did once live on Earth, but the artificial intelligence inside the cars they drove evolved to a point of sentience, and decided to erase and replace the human species. Pixar hasn’t officially confirmed if this theory holds any truth or not, but the franchise’s creative director, Jay Ward, has stamped his seal of approval on it.

An alternate theory states that humans might still be around, permanently living inside the cars. The vehicle would function as an exoskeleton, and the diagram below illustrating this idea is incredibly disturbing.

2. Carnage 1
©Be Amazed

At the core of the car rests the human, attached to the car at every limb to control the car from the inside. Their eyes are hooked up to the windshield, and tubes - presumably for food and waste - keep the human from ever having to exit.

Either theory would explain why the world of Cars is so similar to ours in terms of languages, cultures, and even costumes.

1. Down the Rabbit Hole

Alice in Wonderland doesn’t hold back on its themes of madness, no matter what book or movie adaption you choose to enjoy, and it has led to some pretty wild fan theories. Most people know of the theories relating Alice in Wonderland to psychoactive substances.

After all, Lewis Carroll, author of the original book, was a known opium user. It's even rumored that he was "stimulated" when he wrote the book.

1.Down the Rabbit Hole

But while the film and book both seem on the surface to suggest the story is all a dream, theorists suggest that there are deeper psychological roots to the story and subsequent film.

The movie centers around the concepts of illogicality and warped perspectives, leading some to assume that Alice – going beyond the realm of normal childhood imagination – is veering into a distinct psychosis from which she cannot wake.

Falling down an unscalable rabbit hole, some have argued, is a metaphor for the descent into a type of madness that can never be fully escaped.

1.Down the Rabbit Hole (2)

And that’s not to mention the characters of the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts, who many have theorized as representing Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, respectively.

1.Down the Rabbit Hole 1

When Alice regains consciousness at the end of the Disney film, some have suggested that her teacher’s lack of surprise at Alice’s nonsensical outbursts implies that she is well aware of the girl’s condition and accepts that there is little she can do to help.

Some even suggest that the pointy spire-like tower seen in the final shot may be some type of religious asylum for the mentally ill, to which Alice is being returned. Shocking stuff.

1.Down the Rabbit Hole 2

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