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Disney Courts the Devil in ‘Maleficent’ OpEd

Is the rebranding of Maleficent possibly another sign of American political disillusionment?

The Los Angeles Times has run an OpEd piece with a click-bait worthy headline, “Disney's 'Maleficent': Romancing the devil.”

Arguing that Disney has long had a complicated relationship with Satan, paganism and heavy metal, Los Angeles-based writer Greg Burke offers the studio’s new film Maleficent as the latest evidence:

In 1940, Disney conjured the animated masterpiece "Fantasia," in which Mickey Mouse flirted with the dark arts as the Sorcerer's Apprentice; a dinosaur segment was set to Stravinsky's pagan death dance "The Rite of Spring;" and the Slavic black god Chernobog, today beloved by European black-metal performers, made a dramatic appearance on Bald Mountain. In 1959, in the original "Sleeping Beauty," the fairy Maleficent invoked "all the powers of hell" before transforming herself into a dragon. In 1996, Disney's Hollywood Records released an album by metal 666er Glenn Danzig (though the label then abruptly fired him).

And now, risking the wrath of monochrome Christians everywhere, Disney has brought forth the box-office smash "Maleficent," a film that turns its mythic predecessor "Sleeping Beauty" on its golden head.

This isn’t the first time Disney and its founder have been charged with sympathy for the Devil, but it’s interesting to note that Burke sees the rebranding of Maleficent as possibly another sign of American political disillusionment.

Millennial America's current role models are bloodsucking vampires and flesh-gnawing zombies -- often sympathetically portrayed because, hey, we prefer to think of ourselves as messy eaters rather than exploiters.

Head over to the L.A. Times for the full story.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.