7. The automobile killing grounds in The Brave Little Toaster
I don't know how much you remember about The Brave Little Toaster, but it's pretty much a non-stop carnival of horrors. Starring a ragtag group of household appliances, the movie's harrowing themes include fear of abandonment and the inevitability of obsolescence in a cruel, uncaring world that will move on after you die, unsung and unremembered. You know, kid stuff. The whole movie is like that traumatizing trash incinerator scene in Toy Story 3, spread out over 90 minutes.
Near the end, there's an upbeat musical number called "Worthless," in which a chorus of sad decrepit cars sing about their regrets just before being crushed into a cube at the impound lot. As the Toaster and his pals navigate the junkyard, they see about a dozen such executions.
Yes, there was in fact a time in our history in which you could show an animated character crushed to death on-screen without raising eyebrows. From the billowing smoke to the angry magnetic crane to the teeth-shaped crusher that devours living things and instantly poops them out in cubes, the whole thing is designed to terrify children.
After that first one, most of the car crushings are off-screen, but that doesn't stop them from being disturbing.
If cars are alive in this universe, then each individual car part is basically an organ. That explains the horrified expressions of Toaster and Blanket -- they basically had a lung thrown on top of them.
Can you imagine Pixar putting a scene like this in Cars 3? Something tells me their marketing team wouldn't be on board with a trash compactor playset that allows kids to murder Lightning McQueen. Though I guess that'd be one way to sell more toys.
6. Hocus Pocus begins with the murder of a child
Now a Halloween perrennial favorite, Hocus Pocus was made in a different time. Though it's rated PG, the movie begins with a flashback to ye olden times, ending with the Sanderson Sisters hanging from their necks. It's pretty dark, but they sort of deserved it. After all, they did suck the youth out of a child.
Using their witchy wiles, the sisters were able to de-age themselves by drinking the life essence of a docile preteen named Emily. Their plan was to slurp up a whole village worth of children, but they were thwarted by her improbably-named brother Thackery Binx, who had attempted to save the day but was quickly transformed into an immortal cat. Too bad he wasn't able to save his little sister.
That's Emily, in left corner. Note the newly-gray and frazzled hair, the motionless hunch on a girl who should otherwise be using this chance to escape the clutches of these off-Broadway witches. Emily is done, without a doubt. That's her dead body, the fresh corpse of a child, featured prominently in a Disney movie.
If you thought Emily's death was ambiguous, remember: after Cathackery helps present-day kids thwart the Sanderson Sisters at the end of the movie, he becomes a human ghost and meets his little sister's human ghost, because she died as a child at the hands of the Sanderson Sisters. If you're wondering where that Disney sparkle comes from, now you know: Blood Magic.
But compared to some of the others on the list, Emily got off easy -- you should see what happened to Ariel's mom.