Disney has always been a definitive figure in most of our childhoods. After all, the major production studio has been known to present the most family-friendly films over the past decades. One signature theme that Disney often takes into heart is that good always triumphs over evil. With that said, a Disney villain typically meets their end right before the credits roll. You may have overlooked how gruesome their deaths were back when you watched the film as a child. After all, those scenes were blanketed by dramatic music with the camera focusing mostly on the hero. But to help you remember just how dark and disturbing your favorite childhood movies really were, here is a definitive ranking of the most traumatizing Disney villain deaths of all time.
(Warning: major spoilers below.)
10. The Evil Queen (Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs)
Cause of death: crushed to death by a boulder
The writers started the trend of brutal Disney villain deaths with 1937’s Snow White. In this epic battle scene, the evil queen is chased to the edge of a mountain by the seven dwarfs. She tries to defend herself against them by rolling down a boulder, but before she can wedge it out of place, lightning strikes her platform, causing her to fall to her death. To make matters worse, the boulder she tries to use against the dwarfs falls directly over her.
9. Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cause of death: falls off a tower
Disney writers must really love seeing the antagonists fall to their death, as Mother Gothel meets her unfortunate demise the same way.
Rapunzel’s stepmother is enough to put Lady Termaine to shame, so it is kind of fitting to make her death mirror her greatest fear: growing old. That’s right, Gothel rapidly ages into a dusty old corpse as she falls to the ground. That is a whole lot of terror in a matter of ten seconds.
8. Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Cause of death: gets hit by a train
Sykes’s death reads like a traumatizing newspaper headline: Man Smashed to Death by Oncoming Train. If he weren’t such an evil Disney villain, people would’ve probably felt sorry for him. To add even more trauma to your childhood, try to pause on the scene where the camera focuses on Sykes’s eyes as he sees the train charging up to him. If that is not a look of pure terror, then we don’t know what is.
7. Lyle T. Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
Cause of death: crystallized and smashed to pieces
Atlantis may be one of Disney’s most overlooked films, but Rourke’s death is something that you simply cannot forget. Based on his expression, it looks like the man actually is feeling his painful transition from man to mineral. Thankfully, Rourke does not have to endure the pain for so long as he presumably dies when the balloon he is riding crashed to a volcano.
6. Clayton (Tarzan)
Cause of death: breaks his neck
Clayton’s shadow dangling as Tarzan watches on is traumatizing. It could have been much worse, though, as the man could have been totally impaled by the vines wrapped around his neck.
5. Ursula (Little Mermaid)
Cause of death: impaled to death by a ship
Now Maleficent could have been part of this list, if only her death weren’t too similar to that of Ursula’s. But the latter does have an edge mainly because she has a wooden ship literally crash straight into her heart, and the way the scene cuts to her horrified expression is just plain savage. To add insult to injury, she gets electrocuted in the process. Well, at least Ursula remains to be an iconic Disney villain even after her grisly demise.
4. Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Cause of death: falls to a fiery death
The last falling death on this list is undeniably the most brutal one as well. Frollo was utterly vile, so his rightful death mimicked the hell he put Quasimodo through. He falls alive, allowing him to feel every single skin and bone of his body burn away.
3. Scar (The Lion King)
Cause of death: eaten alive by hyenas
Scar is yet another memorable Disney villain on this list that left a mark among audiences, and his death continues to play like a broken accord. After his scorned nephew Simba spares his life, Scar finds himself face to face with his former companions: the hyenas. Unfortunately, they are not as forgiving as Simba and they proceed to tear him apart.
2. Hopper (A Bug’s Life)
Cause of death: eaten alive by baby birds
Upon hearing the words baby birds, one would immediately come up with adjectives such as cute or innocent. But for Hopper, the Disney villain of A Bug’s Life, they are nothing but ravenous beast. So it is pretty tragic to meet his end in the mouth of these horrible beady-eyed creatures.
1. Syndrome (The Incredibles)
Cause of death: sucked into a plane propeller
Despite the many gruesome death scenes mentioned on this list, The Incredibles is shockingly the only one that was given a PG rating for action violence. Syndrome may not be a Disney villain worth remembering, but his death scene is something that simply cannot be unseen. Just as he makes what seems to be a triumphant escape, his cape is sucked into the plane’s propeller and is seemingly torn to pieces.