Wednesday, 16 October 2013

30 Days of Horror | Day 16

A Frightening Dream Sequence or Hallucination

Dumbo is probably one the the last films I think anyone would expect to see making an appearance on a Horror-themed list, but here it is. For anyone unfamiliar with Dumbo this scene takes place after the titular elephant and his friend Timothy Q. Mouse stumble upon some alcohol. They both get pretty stinking drunk and Dumbo begins blowing bubbles out of his trunk, one of witch transforms itself into the shape of an elephant. A hallucinatory sequence proceeds in which countless elephants perform and dance to the song 'Pink Elephants On Parade".

Walt Disney Productions have brought us countless well loved stories and characters, and Dumbo is no different as one of the companies most heart-warming and emotional films. But when Disney does scary, boy do they do scary. This sequence ranks, for me, among some of the most horrific dream sequences ever seen on film. I don't have a pre-existing aversion to elephants, but I do have a fear of the circus and so theres actually quite a lot in Dumbo that I find a bit unnerving. Pink Elephants On Parade takes the biscuit though. The circus-like trumpet music that dominates the opening of the number, along with the sinister vocals and animation of the elephants combine to make a sequence that has creeped me out for as long as I can remember.

This is Disney at it's most surreal, as the elephants multiply and morph into different shapes, sizes and colours. It is something that would not be out of place in this films predecessor, Fantasia, which has a few frightening scenes of it's own, and is a stunning interpretation of a drunken nightmare. Dumbo doesn't always get that much attention when Disney is discussed, probably due to it's lack of a Princess, but it is a wonderful film that can still make me cry, and also scare the crap out of me.

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