Why Christopher Lloyd Wanted His Disney Villain, Judge Doom, To Give You Nightmares

While Disney films got extra chilling during the ’80s (there’s a reason the studio, ever worried about presenting itself as the home of middle-of-the-road four-quadrant entertainment these days, likes to pretend “Something Wicked This Way Comes” doesn’t exist), this was far from unprecedented. The company’s first-ever animated feature films, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Pinocchio,” did their best to scare the socks off kids, with cackling villains who like to murder young women or transform boys into donkeys and sell them off for manual labor. This was the Disney that Lloyd was raised on, and the reason he loves when Doom murders a cute animated shoe in “Roger Rabbit.” As he explained during a 2020 Twitter Q&A (via The Hollywood Reporter):

“I know that is mean and cruel and a lot of people said it gave them nightmares. Well, [in] some of the first Disney films I ever saw, like ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ etc., there was always something horrible done then, and I would have nightmares. So, it’s kind of payback.”

Lloyd is obviously being playful with his response, but he’s speaking to something meaningful. As I’ve written about before regarding another weird-ass ’80s Disney fantasy film, “Return to Oz,” exposing kids to scary stories can help prepare them to grow up and face the Judge Dooms of the real world. You might not be able to stop them from doing more harm by turning their own toon-killing, Dip-spewing machine against them, but it’s better to acknowledge those types of evil-doers are out there and they’re not all misunderstood or sympathetic. Some of them are just nefarious a-holes who want to demolish Toontown so they can build a freeway and line their pockets with moola.

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