Top 5: Reasons Why Fantasia Freaks Me Out

Last week I took a look into how Fantasia was made and how it was really an experimental achievement for Walt Disney. (You can read that article HERE!) That may be all well and good, but for whatever reason I’ve always been a bit put off by this art film triumph of Disney. There are scenes that bore me to death and then there are scenes that are downright frightening, even as an adult. Rewatching the film to do last weeks article, I was able to once again discover these horrifying things that keep me up, so here are my Top 5 reasons why Fantasia freaks me out.

Johnny Depp from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

5-Abstract Animation. The first animated piece in the film is Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. It’s a wonderful piece of music by Johann Sebastian Bach and most of us are quite familiar with the tune, but I don’t have a problem with the music. The animation sequence for this piece is done completely abstract. The animation is just a bunch of colors and lines constantly moving, as if a kaleidoscope and a lava lamp got together and had a child and that child loves classical music. It freaks me out, especially since it runs for over 5 minutes that way. It’s like being a character in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but I didn’t take any drugs and I’m just really confused. I’m not sure if abstract animation was very popular during the golden age of animation as a whole, but we don’t see this style today in popular animation and I think for very good reason. It doesn’t tell a story, it gets rather boring, and I’m a little afraid of what drugs I didn’t do.

4-Dinosaurs. In the Rite of Spring section of the film, animation depicts early life on earth including dinosaurs. Now I am a dinosaur fan. I love Jurassic Park, I like the history museum, and I even like that 1990s show Dinosaurs that Jim Henson did. This, however, is a scary piece of art. I’m not sure if it’s the style of animation or the music itself or maybe a mixture of both that scares me, but the dinos in Fantasia scare me. First they have a serious fight which makes me startled then by the end they are all dying which I find even more frightening. Again, I think the music only motivates how scary this short piece is. In rewatching it, I seriously had to skip portions of this. Why? Because it somewhat freaks me out.


3-Yensid. If you know your Disney trivia, you know that the sorcerer from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice actually has a name and it’s Yensid, which is actually Disney spelled backwards. Strangely enough, this character is the opposite of Disney. He doesn’t say a word, mostly because the rest of the short is silent but I digress, and because his facial expressions just seem constantly angry. There is nothing forgiving about Yensid and I would never want to be his apprentice, even if he could provide me the power of magic. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had that boss or co-worker who never smiles and always seems a bit upset at everyone even if they are having a good day? Yeah, Yensid is that person. Keep away Yensid, you freak me out.

2-Monks. Strangely enough, monks singing Ave Maria while walking with torches is kind of creepy. I understand this song is supposed to be uplifting in a religious sense and is one of my favorite pieces of music from the film, but the animation of several monks walking with torches to a cathedral as they ward off flying dead people makes me feel a bit uneasy. I do believe seeing a choral group singing Ave Maria would be perfectly fine, but mysterious cloaked people whose faces you never see singing into the night all at once as they march single file? Tell me that wouldn’t concern you if you stumbled upon that scene in real life.

Night on Bald Mountain

1-Chernabog. Seriously, what else could top this list? Not just for me but for anyone. Animation has never been more frightening than during the Night on Bald Mountain piece of Fantasia. Chernabog is actually a Slavic diety meaning “black god” and in this case is represented much as a devilish figure. Not only does he look menacing (with the music that can’t help make him feel more menacing.) but he casts into the night an army of skeletal demons riding on skeletal horses. I couldn’t even imagine seeing that in real life. That would be like seeing a Dementor from Harry Potter flying at you. Could you even protect yourself? If so, how? I think I would be so stunned that I wouldn’t move and a skeleton would just chop off my head like the headless horseman would. This 10 minutes or so of animation has to be the darkest I’ve ever seen. (Yes, even darker than The Black Cauldron or even Heavy Metal.) I think even the devil would be afraid of this animation. Thanks Disney for scaring the heck out of me as a small child. I should also thank my parents for that too I guess.

What are your thoughts on Fantasia? Does it freak you out? Does it bore you? Leave your thoughts and comments to keep this conversation going. I’ll see you all soon.

Josh Taylor


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Posted on March 1, 2013, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. It doesn’t freak me out, but bores me terribly. I much prefer “Fantasia 2000”. I know, I’m a heretic!

  2. ‘Fantasia’ did scare me as a child (I knew I wasn’t the only one), but I loved it at the same time. It was art. I’m certainly appreciative for having been exposed to this as a five or six year old (1990/1991). It planted the seeds to a very potent imagination. Disney is way too kid-friendly to take artistic risks like it did in its Golden Age (the only con to this Golden Age is the depiction of ‘Sunflower’ in the Pastoral).

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