10 Classic Kids Films With Deeply Dark Inspirations
9. Peter Pan (1953)
Peter Pan is a 1953 animated film produced by the Walt Disney company. Peter Pan is a lovable but mischievous young boy who has learned to fly. He lives in Neverland with the fairy Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, Indian princess Tiger Lily, a batch of mermaids, and the villainous Captain Hook (and his band of pirates).
Wendy Darling and her brothers are taken by Peter to Neverland, where they have a series of adventures while attempting to avoid the malevolent Captain Hook, who himself is continually on the lookout for the crocodile that ate his hand. Eventually the children miss their parents and return home to London.
Disney’s Peter Pan is based on the play of the same name and the book, Peter and Wendy, by J. M. Barrie. There is also a previous book, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, that helps explain Peter’s origins in a little more detail.
Although the book Peter and Wendy has its share of dark moments – Peter kills Hook by throwing him to the crocodile, the mermaids are known to kill anyone who visits their lagoon except Peter, Peter likes to make headstones for children who get lost in Kensington Gardens at night, and Peter quite possibly nailed several generations of women in Wendy’s family – when you get right down to it, the darkest fact from the original Peter Pan stems from the death of author J. M. Barrie’s brother at the age of 14. Barrie’s brother David was killed in a skating accident, which slashed such a deep wound in his mother that it never healed. As the theory goes, Barrie concocted the idea for Peter Pan because David, having died as a young boy, was eternally a young boy in his mother’s eyes.
The inspiration for the movie Peter Pan? We have a play and books filled with murder, violent pirates, ravenous crocodiles, attempted murder by mermaids, dead children and their headstones, incest of a sort (or perhaps just a major stud in Peter Pan), and a story written out of sorrow for the death of the author’s brother.