Correct me if I’m wrong, but at times I think Cruella de Vil is severely underrated as a Disney villain. Granted she doesn’t have any magic powers or an army of minions to do her bidding (Jasper and Horace are bumbling nimrods at best), but she DOES have one of the more disturbing plots to ever take place in a Disney film. And she nearly gets away with it too!
One thing that must be understood about Cruella is that she is obsessed with fur (remember they made this film back in 1961 when real fur coats were very much a common thing) of all kinds, it is all she lives for. Cruella also comes from a great deal of money (considering there’s a huge dilapidated mansion that belongs to her) and is obviously used to getting whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Therefore, when Roger and Anita refuse to sell her their dog’s newborn litter of puppies, Cruella explodes into a rage, declaring that she will “get even” with them. So when the puppies are stolen several months later, it doesn’t take much to make the connection that Cruella had everything to do with it.
You have to be evil to want to hurt puppies
But why? What does a spoiled heiress need with Dalmatian puppies? In fact, what does she need with 99 Dalmatian puppies? The truth is horrifying: Cruella wants to make COATS out of the puppies! Let that sink in for a minute: this nasty woman wants to have 99 adorable puppies killed, skinned and turned into spotted coats that she can wear. This isn’t merely disturbing; this borders on the sociopathic!! And what’s worse, she wants Jasper and Horace to do the deed. Look at Jasper and Horace for a second:
I give you the original Dumb and Dumber
Do those idiots look capable of skinning ANYTHING, let alone 99 puppies? Sure, they talk about killing the puppies first by “knocking them on the head” but I have severe doubts in their ability to do it properly. And speaking of, the villains get THIS close to actually starting the process. Just before Pongo and Perdita literally crash into the room, Jasper and Horace have the puppies (plus Sgt. Tibbs the cat) cornered, ready to begin striking them down.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t until about five years ago that I was struck by the full magnitude of what Cruella wanted to do. I’m not sure why that is, except to say that it’s one thing to hear the words “She’s going to make coats out of us” and quite another to understand exactly what those words mean. And this is in a children’s film!! I wonder how kids watching this film in 1961 reacted if/when they figured out what Cruella was trying to do (I bet it wasn’t pretty).
Cruella’s plot to murder a lot of puppies is dark and disturbing and rightly deserves a place in this series. What do you think of Cruella’s twisted plot? Let me know in the comments below, and have a great rest of the day 🙂
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