Disney fans rejoice! It has been recently announced that a live action version of the Night on Bald Mountain sequence from 1940’s Fantasia is happening! The movie is in ‘early development’ according to the Hollywood reporter and will be written and executive produced by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless of Dracula Untold (2014) fame.
Fantasia is fantastical frolic of myth and magic and this terrifying nightmare sequence Night on Bald Mountain that had me gleefully hiding behind the sofa as a kid! Bats, vultures, spectres and ghouls, a volcano bubbling with hellfire, naked dancing fire nymphs that transform into beasts, flying topless banshees and a bloody great Devil ‘Chernabog’, make this one of Disney’s darkest ever moments, set to a Russian composition about a witches Sabbath. And who doesn’t love it when Disney gets dark? (No, there’s no need to discuss when Bambi’s mother got shot, lets just leave that in the past please!).
Following the shadier tone of last year’s Maleficent, we could see this becoming a trend that would reach a wider and wilder audience, including fans of something a little more macabre. As a big fan of Disney’s weirder moments, the hallucinogenic pink elephants scene in Dumbo (1941), Mad Madam Mim’s shape shifting battle with Merlin from The Sword In The Stone (1963), pretty much everything about Alice In Wonderland (1951)… I hope they really bring on the spooky and roll with it, making a refreshing change from decades of child friendly, political correctness and fear of impropriety. Haven’t children’s stories always had wickedly disturbing and sinister origins?
I can’t wait to see what Sazama and Sharpless will create from Fantasia’s phantasmagorical night of demonic partying! With a Disney budget, it could be a spectacular visual showpiece. The big questions being, who gets to play Chernabog? And how will they develop the story? A war between the creatures from Hell and the unsuspecting villagers below perhaps? I cannot wait for this movie to come out!