Note: This ranking only includes Disney villains who died, not villains who were simply defeated but lived to see another day. It also does not include any villains who died in direct-to-video sequels, or The Black Cauldron’s Horned King, because he was kind of already dead.
18. Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective
How he dies: Falls from the top of Big Ben, dragging his nemesis down with him.
Why it’s horrific: Look, it’s not that falling from the top of Big Ben and landing with a sickening splat would be a good way to go, but this is a very tame death by Disney standards. Considering he’s only a rat, Ratigan probably wouldn’t make much of a mess, and won’t be missed.
17. Gaston from Beauty and the Beast
How he dies: Falls from a balcony into a very conveniently located rocky ravine.
Why it’s horrible: Gaston is an idiot. Perhaps more than any other Disney villain, his death is his own damn fault. After Beast offers him mercy, Gaston literally stabs him in the back…and then just kind of loses his grip and falls into a ravine. Horrible way to die, yes, but as far as Disney goes it’s pretty standard.
16. Charles F. Muntz from Up
How he dies: Gets caught in some balloons, falls to his death from really, really high up.
Why it’s horrific: Another fall. (Noticing a pattern here?) What makes this a little worse than the others is just how high Muntz is falling. He was so close to making that jump only to be brought down by balloons. Balloons! He’s got a lot of time to think about the mistake he just made.
Ranking: 1 out of 5 Dead Mickeys
15. Clayton from Tarzan
How he dies: Cut away the vines holding him, falls, has neck snapped.
Why it’s horrific: The one thing that can be said about Clayton’s death is that it’s relatively quick—assuming that his neck actually snaps and he doesn’t just hang there, swinging back and forth as the cold rain pours down on his face and the life is slowly choked out of him by the ever-tightening vines…so yeah. But for Disney’s sake we’ll say his neck snaps. There are loads worse deaths to come.
Ranking: 1½ out of 5 Dead Mickeys
14. The Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
How she dies: Blindsided by lightning, falls off a cliff, crushed by a boulder. Possibly eaten by vultures.
Why it’s horrific: This was Disney’s first movie, and when it came to killing off the villain they did not screw around. If the fall didn’t kill her, she got to look up and watch as the boulder came tumbling down after her.
Ranking: 2 out of 5 Dead Mickeys
13. Shan Yu from Mulan
How he dies: Hit in the chest by a massive missile, dies in a large fireworks explosion.
Why it’s horrific: This is by far the ~prettiest~ Disney death, though I’m sure the aftermath wasn’t. Shan Yu survived an avalanche, but was unable to withstand a rib-breaking missile to the chest and dozens of fireworks. Chances are some of Shan Yu’s guts filled the sky along with the sparkles and beautiful explosions.
12. King Candy/Turbo from Wreck-It Ralph
How he dies: Flies into a beacon and is instantly incinerated.
Why it’s horrific: As far as deaths go in the Disney Universe, getting instantly burnt into nothingness isn’t that bad. What is terrible, however, is attempting in vain to fight back against the portion of your mind compelling you to fly to your inevitable doom. That’s the type of disturbing mental anguish that earns you the 13th spot on this list.
11. Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog
How he dies: Sucked into the mask and voodoo dolls’ world, which is like dying?
Why it’s horrific: Since Doctor Facilier spent almost the entire movie bragging about his relationship with the spirits, it definitely serves him right that they come for his soul at his darkest moment. That said, it’s not as grisly a comeuppance as most Disney villains get, so he gets off relatively easy.
10. Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
How he dies: Scared by a sentient gargoyle, falls into a lake of molten copper (aka metaphorical hellfire).
Why it’s horrific: Judge Claude Frollo is quite possibly the most evil Disney villain, and it’s fitting that his demise is both mentally and physically terrible. This hypocritical, holier-than-thou dickweed is brought down by the very church he claimed to serve. Frollo’s death was horrible to be sure, but oh so karmic.
9. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
How she dies: Stabbed in the heart by the sword of truth, falls off a cliff.
Why it’s horrific: Forget the Mother of Dragons, Maleficent BECOMES a dragon and comes after Prince Philip like the HBIC she is. It’s awesome she gets a relatively noble death — being stabbed in the chest with an enchanted sword — because nothing else would be cool enough to do her in. Are there worse stabbings in the Disney record? Yes, but hats off to Mal for going out in a blaze of sickly green glory.
8. Mother Gothel from Tangled
How she dies: Rapidly ages, falls out window for good measure.
Why it’s horrific: Mother Gothel ages into dust before she hits the ground outside of the tower, which somehow makes the standard Villain Fall worse considering that it’s accompanied by the existential terror of growing old compounded into ten horrifying seconds. It’s not like she has to live with herself in her aged form— which would really be a fate worse than death for the winner of Walt Disney’s Shittiest Stepmother Award (move over, Lady Tremaine).
7. Lyle T. Rourke from Atlantis: The Lost Empire
How he dies: Crystalized, presumably shatters into a millions pieces when the balloon crashes.
Why it’s horrific: Getting turned into semi-living mineral does not seem like a fun time based on Rourke’s expression. The good news is that he didn’t have to live as a crystalline monster for too long, because the balloon he was trying to escape on crashed into a fiery heap on the floor of a volcano.
6. Sykes from Oliver & Company
How he dies: Obliterated by a train.
Why it’s horrific: Sykes’ death is ranked so high because it’s so relatable. The Brooklyn Bridge is a real place. Death by train is a real thing. And while it’s unrealistic that anyone would actually find themselves stranded in a sports car in the path of an oncoming subway, it’s still absolutely terrifying to see a “fictional” Disney villain die in a way that would probably end up on the cover of the New York Post the next morning.
5. Ursula from The Little Mermaid
How she dies: Impaled by the bow of a ship, struck by lightning, sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
Why it’s horrific: It wasn’t enough that Ursula got stabbed through the belly with the gnarly, barnacle-encrusted, broken bow of a ship, no. She also got struck by lightning in the middle of the ocean, head-to-tentacle electrocuted, and banished to the bottom of the deep blue sea. It’s hard out here for a witch.
4. Hopper from A Bug’s Life
How he dies: Eaten alive by baby birds.
Why it’s horrific: Hopper was always so in control, and even though he was a truly evil jerk, it’s horrifying to see him so powerless. Look at him screaming and pleading as he’s lowered down into the gaping maws of those baby birds, eager to tear him limb from limb. Look at their eyes. Black, like a doll’s eyes. *shudder*
3. Scar from The Lion King
How he dies: Falls, eaten alive by his former minions and/or dies in a fire.
Why it’s horrific: Getting torn apart by hyenas is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to Scar, even on his worst day. Pile on the fact that the hyenas were his “friends” before and it’s unlikely that they’ll give him a quick, clean end, this is definitely one of the worst deaths Disney has put on screen.
2. Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas
How he dies: Has his, uh, skin ripped off, all the bugs fall into a smelter.
Why it’s horrific: So the big reveal here is that Oogie Boogie is nothing but a pile of sentient bugs that come together to create a corpulent, hideous hate-monster. Look at how his skin tangles up in the propeller after it falls from his bug body. Look at how his life essence falls down into molten whatever-that-is. Look at how this death deserves a supercut of dubstep tracks called “Let The Buggies Hit The Floor.” Wow. It’s so gross. Wow.
Ranking: 5 out of 5 Dead Mickeys
1. Syndrome from The Incredibles
How he dies: Cape gets sucked into a jet propellor, is chopped into bits, explodes.
Why it’s horrific: This is why you don’t wear a cape. Getting sucked into a propellor may be fairly quick, but it is not a good death. The way he scrambles, clawing madly for anything to hold on to. But no, instead he gets sucked into a blender, diced into oblivion, and incinerated. A second ago, Syndrome was a man. Now he’s part of the atmosphere.