The Black Cauldron (USA, 1985)
Directed by Ted Berman & Richard Rich
Starring Grant Bardsley, Susan Sheridan, Nigel Hawthorne, John Hurt
The words 'Disney' and 'cult classic' are very rarely seen together. Disney has had its fair share of commercial failures over the years, but for the most part these have been in some way down to the product itself, rather than an inability to market it. Likewise Disney's reputation as the bastion of all that is bright, charming and safe is a million miles from the lexicon of cult classics. These are, by and large, films that you can't evoke without using words like 'dark', 'strange', 'edgy' or 'weird' - in short, they are often films that you wouldn't show to children.
Oliver & Company, I complained that Sykes was never really convincing as a villain: his methods were illogical and his end seemed totally improvised. The Horned King is a lot scarier, in both his ends and his means; while Sykes was ultimately holding a cat to ransom, he wants to enslave the world with an army of deathless warriors. Hurt doesn't often play villains very often, but he is quite adept at it, using his gravelly voice to compliment the King's intimidating physique. His death scene is one of the most graphic in Disney history: he doesn't just fall off a cliff or get stabbed, he gets his skin ripped clean off his bones and his body disintegrated by pure, concentrated evil.
Princess Mononoke can have decapitation scenes and still get a PG, it's hard to see how removing these scenes would have helped the film's chances.
Dumbo getting drunk, while many of the landscape shots are borrowed directly from Snow White. But to be fair, accusations about the bauble being a rip-off of Navi are misplaced, since the first Legend of Zelda game was still a year away.