Disney Deaths And The Undead

The Disney Death: A symptom of dying, appearing to die, or almost dying, but miraculously returning to life just in time for a happy ending. (For more, see this article from TV Tropes).

The Disney Death is designed to tug at our heart strings, to bring tears and tension as the climax approaches the denouement. My tear ducts fill as Belle kneels beside the Beast as he appears about to die, only to transform into a young man with shiny toes and fingers.

Transformation Scene - beauty-and-the-beast Screencap

Beast, why are you so shiny?

Now Belle has a human-appearing date for the next town party, but is he really human?

Let’s also consider Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Both fall under “a sleep like death,” but Snow White is in an actual glass coffin. A coffin is usually a good indication of deadness… or, being a vampire.


At least the dwarves are good at wood work.

Sleeping Beauty has a higher likelihood of still being alive, but are she and Snow White the same when the wake? Or, does waking from the state of sleep transform them into something else? Have they been zombified or vampirified? Are they still human and alive?

In the case of Mufasa, the line between dead and undead is clear. He dies under the stampede of antelopes, and then returns as Ghost Mufasa.

Mufasa Clouds

Some nifty fan art.

While he returns as a wise guide, he’s still a ghost.

And who else is a ghost?

Mickey's Christmas Carol_Goofy

So, as you prepare for Halloween, and put on your Disney movies, just watch those Disney deaths and look for the rise of the undead.

  • What’s your favorite Disney death?
  • Which Disney character would make the best zombie?
  • Would Sleeping Beauty be better if she turned into a werewolf, and then fought Maleficent as a dragon?

Side Note: The other day, I took a break from the epic adventure known as Grad School, and did backwards trick-o-treating in my apartment complex full of college students. If you ever want to make friends, just knock on their door and offer them candy. I highly recommend it.

7 thoughts on “Disney Deaths And The Undead

  1. The Beast’s death and Mufasa’s death are the ones that made me cry the most. Actually, I still cry buckets with the Beast! And I’d like to see Snow White as a zombie.

    • Those are both far more emotional than you might expect.

      As for Snow White as a zombie, there are tons of pictures on Google. I didn’t use one because most were a bit too gruesome for my blog.

  2. Ray’s death on the Princess and the Frog was the saddest one for me. And a little bit of a surprise (that a Disney movie allowed it to happen). The funniest one, since the Muppets are technically under the Disney wing was when Billy Connelly died in Muppets Treasure Island. Rizzo even notes “this is supposed to be a kids’ movie.” 😉

    • I was surprised Ray’s death was a real death, but at least he got to be with Evangeline.
      My favorite death in Muppet Treasure Island is Dead Tom- “Dead Tom’s dead!”
      “But, he’s always been dead. That’s why he’s called Dead Tom.”
      However, Billy Bones’ death is pretty great.

  3. Funnily, Once Upon a Time kind of explores the subjects on whether or not they’re the same person when they wake. Both Snow White/Mary Margaret and Sleeping Beauty/Aurora talk about how they’re trapped in that fire/hell box where they can’t get out and how they still dream about that place at times. I liked how they explored that.

    You may have been talking more literally, but they have to be a little different when they wake up. You can’t go through something like that and be the same.

Leave a Reply to L. Palmer Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.