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Top 10 Most Terrifying Disney Monsters

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Laura Keating
Who ever said Disney was just for kids? For this list, we’ll be looking at the monsters (or monstrous characters) from Disney films that scared us silly. We’ll be considering both animated and live-action characters. There are a few spoilers ahead, so be warned. Our list includes “The Little Mermaid,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Pinocchio,” “The Black Cauldron,” “Hercules,” and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Terrifying Disney Monsters.
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Top 10 Terrifying Disney Monsters


Who ever said Disney was just for kids? Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Terrifying Disney Monsters.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the monsters (or monstrous characters) from Disney films that scared us silly. We’ll be considering both animated and live-action characters. There are a few spoilers ahead, so be warned.

#10: The Kraken
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest” (2006)


If ghosts and pirates weren’t enough to scare you off the high seas, how about the granddaddy of all sea monsters? The Kraken is a huge beast with tentacles that can tear apart entire fleets, and a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. Commanded by Captain Davy Jones, he calls upon the deep-sea monster to attack ships of his choosing, effectively gathering more men to be put into the service of his cursed crew. Those marked with the black spot become the creature’s next target so beware!

#9: The Leviathan
“Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001)


Like the Kraken, the leviathan is a legendary gigantic sea monster. In this case, it is a mechanical monster that guards the entrance of the lost civilization of Atlantis. It might look a little like a humongous lobster, with its snapping claws and serrated tail, but we doubt you’ll be seeing this guy on the menu any time soon. In fact, judging by its huge cache of sunken ships, it’s more likely that anyone foolish enough to cross it will be the one in hot water. Agile, fast, powerful and capable of shooting energy blasts from its mouth, better to just steer clear of this one, and stay out of the deep.

#8: Hydra
“Hercules” (1997)


Straight out of Greek mythology, this many-headed serpent is not so easy to take down. The old when-in-doubt stand-by of beheading for disposing of really nasty foes falls short here, as when you cut off one, two more quickly grow back in its place. With poisonous breath, a long spiked tail, and a whole lot of teeth, even Hercules has a bad time with this lady (or is it these ladies?), and it’s only by creating a rock slide that he can finally shake her off.

#7: Nome King
“Return to Oz” (1985)


Getting into some classic nightmare fuel, 1985’s “Return to Oz” horrified children everywhere when it introduced us to the Nome King. At first only heard as a deep and menacing voice, the tyrannical ruler of the Nomes is later to revealed to be a rock/human creature who after stealing the ruby slippers used them to conquer Oz, and bring it to ruin. After the Nome King wrongfully accuses Scarecrow of theft, Dorothy seeks out the shifting rock face to ask for her friend back. At frightening as the Nome King is while alive, perhaps nothing can top his dramatic face-melting death.

#6: Giant Ursula
“The Little Mermaid” (1989)


As a regular-sized half octopus half woman, Ursula is actually pretty sassy and fun. Really, no more strange than anyone else swimming around Atlantica. But when her plans to take over the ocean are thwarted, she shows that she has a big, bad temper. With the power of King Triton’s trident, she increases her size to tower out of the sea, stirring the ocean and conjuring up storms. As though a monstrous sea witch wasn’t bad enough, like the Nome King, it is her death that really made kids sit up. Admit it, this scene totally freaked you out.

#5: Dragon Maleficent
“Sleeping Beauty” (1959)


Undoubtedly one of the coolest of the Disney villains, Maleficent is one of the few antagonists who actually has her plans work out. Aurora is cursed, the Prince is captured … if only she had planned for the most awesome little old ladies since the Golden Girls to show up and ruin her day. When it becomes clear that the tables might have turned, she brings out the big guns. Drawing on “all the powers of hell,” she transforms into a freaking dragon! With black and purple scales, and breathing bright green fire she is a fearsome thing to behold.

#4: Monstro
“Pinocchio” (1940)


Man, Disney really wanted you afraid of the water! While the donkey transformation scene was a pretty hair-raising experience, it was the big bad at the end that really had kids hiding behind their hands or diving under a blanket. This whale is so big he can swallow ships whole, and somehow manages to gobble up Pinocchio’s father, Geppetto, and his little friends to boot! Ferocious and virtually bottomless, the way he pursues his targets is enough to leave anyone quaking in their boots. Anyone fancy a swim?

#3: The Headless Horseman
“The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” (1949)


In this early Disney tale of Halloween terror, the spook may not be on screen for very long, but does he ever leave an impact. A ghost story told by Brom Bones to frighten his unlikely competition, Ichabod Crane, the horseman is apparently a soldier who lost his head to cannon fire, and who now rides at night in search of a head. The story is spooky enough, but when he bounds on screen atop a huge black charger, laughing madly, wielding a sword and a flaming pumpkin it becomes unforgettable. When Ichabod disappears after his chase from the horsemen, rumor says that he moved away, but every kid watching really suspected the worst.

#2: The Horned King
“The Black Cauldron” (1985)


The main antagonist of this unfairly overlooked Disney film is not just scary looking, his plans are pretty freaky too. In short, he wants to use the power of the titular Black Cauldron to raise an army of the undead to take over the world – oh, 1980s Disney, you were so bleak! The Horned King himself looks like something that crawled out a crypt. With his skeletal visage, glowing red eyes, sharp teeth, curling horns, and rotting flesh, he is a Lich who is not to be trifled with.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Mor'du
“Brave” (2012)

Cobra Jafar
“Aladdin” (1992)

Oogie Boogie
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

#1: Chernabog
“Fantasia” (1940)


While the Firebird of “Fantasia 2000” was incredible, the original demonic creature from 1940’s “Fantasia” was even scarier. Not only is Chernabog at the center one of the most memorable vignettes of the original musical classic, he is also the scariest creature to ever come out of a Disney studio. Literally a god of evil, he summons hags, ghosts, and demons and then oversees the festivities of the hoard and their fiery revels on Walpurgis Night. Without real motive, on a whim he will either reward, transform, or destroy his minions by throwing them into the fires of Bald Mountain. Good thing it’s just for one night a year.
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