I think I’ve mentioned before that the Disney films made between Sleeping Beauty in 1959 (the end of Disney’s Golden Age) and The Little Mermaid in 1989 (the start of the Disney Renaissance) often get overlooked or underrated because they’re not quite up to the standards of either era (or at least that’s the perception). A classic example of this is 1981’s The Fox and the Hound, a good film that is criminally neglected and yet it has one of the most disturbing sequences I’ve ever seen.
In summary: The Fox and the Hound is about…you guessed it…a fox and a hound who become friends (despite being natural enemies). The fox, named Todd, is eventually set loose in a game preserve to keep him safe from a gruff hunter and his hound Copper (formerly Todd’s friend). But the hunter wants to kill Todd for nearly getting his other hunting dog Chief killed and so he trespasses onto the preserve to hunt the fox down, laying a series of steel traps by a secluded watering area. The trap nearly works, but at the last moment Todd senses the danger and runs for it. In the ensuing chase (including another disturbing moment I’ll cover next time), the hunter believes he has Todd cornered in some bushes, but he is so very wrong. Instead of the fox, the hunter has cornered THIS:
Even referring to this bear as “a bear” is an understatement; he’s practically a monster in the way he’s presented as this huge snarling mass of muscle and teeth (the demonic red eyes add to the monstrous impression). And then there’s the SIZE of this beast; even though the bear is colored black, in size he’s really more like a grizzly bear (which doesn’t make sense as I believe this story is supposed to be set in Appalachia).
The sheer viciousness of the bear’s assault is terrifying, and also not surprising, considering he’s been disturbed by this raucous hunter (and also shot). But the disturbing part comes when the hunter’s foot gets caught in one of his own traps and the bear comes closer and closer for the kill. Even though he’s an antagonist, this hunter is facing a pretty agonizing way to die and he can’t do a thing about it.
And then there’s the fight between Todd, Copper and the bear. This huge bear is just THROWING these two around like nothing, and it’s painful to watch. The entire sequence has me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, especially when the bear has Todd cornered on a fallen tree perched halfway up a huge waterfall (the ominous music tells you this will end badly). This bear is an excellent example of Disturbing Disney (I hope you enjoy the full scene up above).
What do you think of the bear in The Fox and the Hound? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it 🙂
For more Disturbing Disney, see here
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