By MARY WARD
I am a child who was raised on Disney animated films.
By the age of four I could easily quote the whole of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Snow White. Two years earlier, I had staged quite an aggressive campaign for our family to name my younger sibling Aladdin. (In my defence, that was only if it was a boy. Mary 2 was my suggestion for a girl…)
When I was five, my parents cottoned on to this obsession, and thought it would be a great idea to rent Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame from our local video store. It was the only Disney animated film that I hadn’t seen yet – and while I would like to think that they picked it out as a way of introducing me to the world of Victor Hugo novels – they probably just brought it home because they didn’t want to sit through another rendition of ‘Part of Your World.’(I was Ariel. Seriously.)
However, there was one man who made it his mission to thwart my parents’ plan for a quiet night in with the family.
His name is Judge Frollo. He is the bad guy in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
And he’s bad.
Frollo is so bad that the film opens with him killing the sanctuary-seeking mother of a deformed child. He is so bad that, when he finds out a person of a certain race has escaped from his prison, his reaction is to burn down the ALL of the houses in the city of people belonging to that racial group, purge style. He is so bad that he tries to burn the story’s heroine at the stake, and when that fails, he physically assaults her and throws her against a wall.
This guy makes Scar from the Lion King look like a harmless pussycat.
My previous Disney viewing experience had not prepared me for this level of villainous menace within the one character. And I did not take it very well.
Despite watching the story’s conclusion, where Frollo met his demise in a pot of molten copper – sorry for the spoiler, but this film was a cheap weekly rental in 1999, so I don’t think there can possibly be any sort of information embargo surrounding its plot – I became convinced that he was out to get me.
Frollo would follow ME up the stairs to my tower (read: bedroom) and throw me against the wall. He would deny ME happiness with a hunchback. Frollo would confiscate MY tambourine so that I couldn’t play music with my gypsy friends. Disastrous.
Of course, I got over this fear at the same rapid pace that kids of that age do. But I think that there is someone who could have helped me to get over it a lot quicker. And that’s this guy:
His name is Tony Jay. He looks like the sort of friendly old man who might volunteer at your local library, or charity store. But, Tony Jay is something more. He’s the voice of Frollo.
HAPPY GRANDPA GUY = JUDGE FROLLO?
MIND = BLOWN
Because when you’re someone who loves Disney’s animated films as much as I do, it’s sort of hard to remember that the characters are just that: characters. Behind every super scary villain, there is a regular person who is probably quite nice.
Or at least not ‘killing-mums-of-deformed-kids’ evil.
Click through the gallery to see some more regular folk playing the most evil creations in animation history. But be warned: while most are a case of nice grandpas playing evil geniuses, the resemblance between some is uncanny. (Kaa from the Jungle Book, I’m looking at you.)
These picture comparisons were put together by the fine people at Mental Floss and there are heaps, heaps more which you really shouldn’t miss. You can check out the rest of the faces behind the villains here.
What was your favourite Disney film growing up?