Another fantastic film, another disturbing swamp scene. A thick trail of melancholy crosses The never-ending story like a blue vein in cheese, the film takes place in a world consumed by a deadly force called the Nothing. The most heartbreaking scene in the entire movie, however, is when the hero Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) loses his horse Artax in the Swamp of Sorrow.
Atreyu begs and pulls on Artax’s bridle, but to no avail: the animal slowly sinks under the deep black silt. Parents in the audience, who endured years of waking up to work every Monday morning, likely just nodded at the metaphor. We children, on the other hand, are left moaning in our Transformers T-shirts. Yes, Artax regained his equine glory by the end of the film, but by then the emotional damage has already been done.
Funny anecdote: The film’s cinematographer Jost Vacano was also Paul Verhoeven’s cinematographer and would once again traumatize us with the startling violence of the 1987s. RoboCop.
The Black Cauldron (1985)
Another article from Disney’s mean and brooding days, The Black Cauldron was the studio’s first PG-rated animated film. In its original state, the film was considered so graphic and creepy that Disney President Jeffrey Katzenberg attempted to edit it himself. After a few backstage exchanges of anger, Disney’s fantasy adventure was finally toned down, with its most violent scenes reworked or deleted entirely. Even in its final form, The Black Cauldron stays strong enough for young viewers; the Horned King is a formidable villain, and the creatures that emerge from his bubbling cauldron are truly frightening.
read more: The Rise and Fall of the Disney Renaissance
In the footage above, you can spot the cuts where the meanest bits were cut – unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Disney is in a rush to release an unedited version of the film.