Tag Archives: The Fox and the Hound

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

So yesterday I shared with you the disturbing sequence involving a monstrous bear in the 1981 film The Fox and the Hound. But before we got to that point, there’s actually another equally disturbing moment that gave me chills as a kid.

The Fox and the Hound “Chase/Smoking Them Out” (1981)

After Todd is nearly lured into a steel trap, he makes a run for it along with his newfound mate Vixie. They run to their burrow and hide but are quickly cornered by the hunter and Copper. As there’s no way for the hunter to get a clean shot (and Copper is unable to dig his way in), the hunter gets an idea: he’ll “smoke” them out of their burrow by setting a clump of dried grass on fire and fanning the flames so that they roar INTO the burrow. With one exit blocked by flames, the hunter and Copper stand poised at the main entrance, ready to kill the foxes the moment they come out. Inside Todd and Vixie are cornered by a growing inferno and finding it hard to breathe with all the smoke. This moment scared me half to death because, as a kid, I had a fear of being trapped by fire, so this scene was somewhat traumatic for me.

Even how Todd and Vixie escape this trap is somewhat disturbing. They can’t go out the main way because they’ll be killed instantly. So the only other way out is the back entrance (which is currently surrounded by scorching flames). But since it’s their only option…the two foxes run THROUGH the flames and make it out, to the shock and amazement of the hunter, who resumes the chase that will lead him straight to the crazy huge bear.

The whole scenario is disturbing for me, but at least Todd and Vixie aren’t burned to death, and to be fair, it doesn’t look like they were burned at all (which is totally possible in the world of Disney). So while this is a disturbing moment, it’s not as disturbing as it could have been.

What do YOU think of this disturbing moment in The Fox and the Hound? Let me know what you think in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it 🙂

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Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

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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.

The Fox and the Hound “The Bear” (1981)

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:

Bear_(The_Fox_and_the_Hound)

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).

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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

The 2nd Annual Remembering James Horner blogathon is coming in June, check out the sign up page here

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂