the walt disney company sprang into existence in 1923, making it a whopping 94 years old. while that makes it only the fourth largest american movie studio in continuous operation, it's easily the studio that's had the most focused impact on worldwide culture. this now multi-national mass media conglomerate has made itself the gold standard by which all other family entertainment is judged. if there's one person reading this list that didn't see a disney movie until they were over 18, they're a cylon.
disney's spent the better part of a century making sure its content is an inseparable part of nearly every american's childhood. with characters and imagery so inescapable, it's not surprising that, a.) disney inspires a ton of unlicensed art, and b.) that said art can get real weird. we're not complaining -- just because toons stay the same age forever doesn't mean that people do, and as disney fans grow up, their perspectives and tastes change. we look at the movies and characters we grew up with with new eyes. lucky for us, that shift in perspective often manifests in some of the more interesting deviantart pages on the internet. enjoy 15 pieces of disney fanart that'll mess you up more than riding it's a small world on lsd.
15 the wonderful world of dis-topia
for decades, an iconic shot of cinderella's castle has opened every single disney feature to hit the big screen. the magical white palace (or some variation thereof) serves as the most recognizable symbol of the house of mouse, second only to mickey himself. it's the ultimate monument to the happy endings disney fairy tales have made an essential part of its brand. that's what makes it so damn creepy to see such a foreboding version of it.
this shot of cinderella's castle at disney world looks like disney opened a park in some post-apocalyptic dystopia á la 1984 or even a still from 2013's disturbing af escape from tomorrow. it's actually a photo taken on a rainy day by kayla snyder . pretty astonishing how a few contrast tweaks can transform one of the most recognizable brands in the world, huh?
14 stay inside
disney and bdsm don't share a mainstream relationship, but they sure as heck share an internet one. this drawing piece is by captiveforever, an artist who inserts her bdsm interests into much of her work. we are in no way trying to kink shame by putting this picture on display, but sexualizing disney to this degree will always feel a bit unsettling to some.
that said, those of us who enjoyed the brand as children and then grew up to be "fully-functioning" adults, can't overlook the fact that with so much coupling and marriage present, there's precious little sex. it makes it tempting to insert a little realism into the world of disney every once in a while. also, this picture is a brilliant metaphor for bottling up one's emotions, and that's kind of what inside out was about in the first place.
13 heeeeeere's goofy!
swedish artist max grecke has a talent for horror-fying traditional cartoons. this piece transforms sweet, dippy goofy into murderous, alcoholic hotel caretaker, jack torrance. the smile through the busted door panel is the deadest of dead giveaways when it comes to wondering what film goofy's mashed-up with. however, there are a few subtle details that make this image really stand out.
first of all, while goofy still has his cartoon features, he's also got distinctly human teeth, caucasian skin and the same stubble pattern as jack nicolson in the iconic moment from the original the shining. hell, even the wispy hairs on top of goofy's head look just like the ones hanging on for dear life as torrance attempts to kill his family over and over and over...
12 strung out on the magicks...
in the sorcerer’s apprentice, mickey mouse plays the titular role as intern to yen sid, a powerful (wait for it) sorcerer. once yen sid (read that backwards, btw) retires for the evening, mickey fully embodies the proverb, "when the cat's away, the mice will play." he snags sid's magic hat and proceeds to try and make his janitorial duties go a little faster.
obviously complications arise (as they so often do when characters try to use magic to escape chores), and sid has to come down and set things right before mickey floods the place and gets eaten by brooms. artist gris grimly shows us a less innocent perspective, turning mickey into a washed-out practitioner of what can only be the dark arts. if the company ever gets their hands on the harry potter franchise, we think this should be concept art for a team of disney death eaters.
11 frozen (in horror)
disney is, and always has been, a purveyor of fine, family entertainment -- emphasis on the "family." when it comes to the bulk of its content, especially g and pg rated cartoons, the house of mouse is fond of romance, but in terms of expressing that romance, nothing beyond the cliched true love's kiss ever goes down onscreen. that said, adults will be adults and insert sex into anything they possibly can.
this shot of anna and kristoff of frozen is such a great example of the disney style -- japanese artist haruki godo nails both characters so well this looks like a still from the movie. then when you realize anna's sitting between kristoff's legs talking about how big his "hands" are while he looks off nervously to the left, everything takes on a whole new meaning.
10 let's. get. really. dangerous.
this mashup is uncomfortable on so, so many levels -- not that that's a bad thing! artist splatterphoenix () is a devoted fan of darkwing duck and the show remains a huge subject of her work. the photo above is a mashup of darkwing duck and the tv series hannibal featuring dd as fbi agent will graham and elmo/megavolt as hannibal lector.
as if placing a cartoon duck vigilante in the context of one of the most harrowing psychological thrillers ever written weren't enough, this is also ship tribute. fannibals were famously in love with the idea of love between the two main characters, will and hannibal. unfortunately, that ship never really set sail, so now hannigram fans are left with their imaginations and creative fanart. among the disney fans within that demographic, this shot is probably pinterest gold.
9 frozen (in terror)
ah, the picture perfect disney princess. she's an icon and a role model to young women the world over. an animated beauty queen, she's pretty, pure of heart and well-dressed no matter what story she's in, and despite calls for the dp market to dial back their glorification of a very specific gender interpretation, they don't look like they're going anywhere.
no matter what year it is, you'll probably always be able to find plenty of extra-femme disney characters. but if this wicked picture of elsa is what we get in response, hail to the princess, and long may she reign. we don't know if elsa took a zombie nap or if all those years she was locked in her room she was actually being the blair witch, but in either case, this picture is f**king terrifying. we kind of want more. (credit: simmeh)
8 emperor mouse
this piece by austin madison is only disturbing if you were one of the many star wars fans that decried the franchise's absorption by disney. some argued that the disney brand and merchandising machine would dilute the star wars legacy, and others just thought the studio itself was getting too powerful. this piece speaks to both concerns.
not only is it weird to see vader bowing down to a mouse, it's weird to have it be so... appropriate. with its recent collections of both marvel studios (2009) and lucasfilm (2012), not to mention its rumored acquisition of a good deal of 20th century fox's ip, the studio's going to potentially control most of the biggest titles and franchises currently dominating theaters. if its insistence that theater owners cough up 65% of ticket sales for the last jedi is any indication, disney is not afraid to wield that power.
7 ariel cage
okay, so in 2013 something kind of great happened on the internet -- people started photoshopping nic cage's animated face onto disney princesses and the world was never the same again. cinderella, jasmine, sleeping beauty -- you name her, nic faced her! our favorite's ariel, though, because s/he just looks so damn magnificent with the waves splashing in the background. when sticking nic cage's head on something, make sure that something has some flare behind it, for pity's sake.
many of the gifs still remain available on imgur if you're looking for more of a fix. the one of pocahontas is particularly glorious. whoever came up with these is truly an artist who can paint with all the colors of the wind. that said, a dude's head on ariel's body is our favorite because the waves offer necessary flare.
6 twisted cinderella
artist jeffrey thomas has been in the twisted princess game since as early as 2008. in the caption for his first foray into this style of fan art (a drawing of a tattered belle and a sinister looking beast with a noose around his neck), he explains that he just wanted to see a creepy version of some disney princesses. the 32 pages of responses he got on this particular gallery alone should give you some idea as to how the community responded to his idea.
we picked cinderella for this list because of the unsettling, coraline vibe she's serving as a scarecrow jumping out of a giant pumpkin. also weird? the unsettling, ratchet smile she's beaming down on the twisted version of guggus sitting in her hands. just what is this cindy into?
we really underestimated how easy it'd be to take some of the nicest, most benign, and frankly, tear-jerking characters in the entire disney archive and turn them into monsters that will forever haunt the dreams of humanity. bing bong here serves as a reminder to those would go looking for this type of fan art out of sheer curiosity -- there are some things you cannot unsee.
bing bong was one of the most touching parts of 2015's mega-hit, inside out. as riley's long-misplaced imaginary friend, he helps sadness and joy find their way back to the girl's mission control. when he sacrifices himself to the oblivion of her subconscious, the world freaking wept. so yeah, this twisted, melting snuffalupagus hit us pretty hard. he looks like something that would hide in a sewer! (credit: wednesday wolf)
okay, so we're probably just as surprised as you were to discover that not all x-men crossovers are... improvements. maybe it's the loss of innocence in a character like mickey mouse, or maybe it's the absence of the chiseled, unadulterated masculinity evoked by wolverine, but in either case, this just... it isn't right (the reflection of donald duck in his claws is dope, however).
an homage to the cover of the incredible hulk #340, this piece makes mickey look like he's been popping waaaaayy too much human growth hormone, and overall, doesn't wear wolverine's typical blind rage/vengeance mask particularly well. this portrait really makes us worry about what's going down behind-the-scenes at the house of mouse -- clearly mickey's current state of mind could use a little checking up on. maybe there's a deanna troi/minnie mouse mashup hanging around to make things even more surreal...
3 snow whaaaaaat?
this piece is disturbing because not only is it truly stunning, it really resonates with the snow white story and all other fairy tales that feature a woman falling into a deep and un-interruptible slumber. this image is an adjustment of a still from snow white and the seven dwarfs in which she holds the poisoned apple just before taking a bite.
in this image, she's holding her own face as a featureless, corpse-colored shadow of the original. maybe the piece is designed to point out the fact that she was holding her life in her hands, or maybe it's a broader message about the artificial beauty promoted in disney princess culture. either way, it has us looking askance at it.
2 room zero... maybe don't ask?
this is an artist's rendition of a "gascot" as featured in the classic creepypasta, room zero by christopher wolf. if you're unfamiliar, room zero is the sequel to another story, abandoned by disney. it detailed one man's journey to an abandoned disney resort, mowgli's palace. he doesn't find anything particularly upsetting -- just a pillaged hotel, some wild animals and a demon in a mickey costume that could pull off its own head.
sometime later, wolf penned a sequel that detailed his experiences after posting abandoned by disney, and they included investigating the parks further until he came across common reports of sightings of people wearing character-themed gas masks (see above). we won't spoil any more of this story for you (listen to it in audio form if you can), but it's about 22x scarier than the prequel, so buckle up.
1 mike 'say it ain't so' wizowski
this terrifically sad photo is of poor monsters inc. former employee mike wazowski after falling on some hard times. the artist, dan luvisi, has penned a harrowing backstory. read on if you want to feel next-level wigged out beyond what this photo can do on its own.
after the events of monsters inc., mike "was forced" to become a stand-up while sully partied and enjoyed the adoration of the monster world. but mike hated comedy, and one day, he'd had enough, so he tried to hunt down his old friend to discuss a change of plans. unfortunately, he found sully with mike's girlfriend cecelia, and a fight ensued. somehow, tiny mike managed to kill his giant bff, but after, cecelia revealed their meeting was innocent, and mike offed sully. so, he moved to human earth and became an alcoholic monster irl. nighty-night, kids!
what disney fan art have you seen that destroyed your small world? let us know in the comments!