Remembering the most terrifying parts of Disney's 'The Rescuers Down Under'
Today is the 25th anniversary of the mice driven, animated action-adventure, The Rescuers Down Under. And though I’ve always thought both Rescuers movies were really incredible, Rescuers Down Under has always been my secret favorite. I don’t know if it was because it was set in Australia, or because it had more adorable animals in it, but it has always had a special place in my heart. However, it was also the movie that freaked me out the most as a child. And re-watching it now as adult, that makes a lot of sense. There were definitely a lot of scary parts of this movie that totally scared the wits out of me out as a kid. Don’t remember what I’m talking about? Take a look:
Early in the film we’re introduced to Cody, a little Australian boy who talks to and rescues wild animals in his spare time. His very first mission in the movie is to scale a giant cliff to free an imprisoned eagle, named Marahute. Marahute doesn’t understand he’s trying to free her at first and flips out, causing him to free-fall off the cliff. She of course flies down and rescues him and they go on a fun high-flying adventure sequence a few moments later, and they eventually land safely. Even so, that first moment of Cody falling off the cliff always freaked me out.
In The Rescuers Down Under, the villain, McLeach the poacher, had a sidekick who was a goanna (a goanna is a type of giant Australian monitor lizard) named Joanna. And while Joanna was occasionally cute (they sort of animated her like a dog at times), they also had her doing terrifying things like chasing down Cody (a small child), guarding Cody while he was being held captive by an evil poacher, and jump-scaring everyone at random moments. While now I can appreciate her as a character, in my younger years I was never pleased to see Joanna.
McLeach the poacher is the ultimate scary Disney villain. He is a kidnapper, has a creepy secret lair, and kills animals. Saying he has a ‘violent streak’ is a bit of an understatement. He has a lot of frightening scenes as a villain, but the one that freaked me out the most was when he was threatening Cody by throwing knives at him. In the scene Cody is tied up to a chair, and McLeach throws knives at points on a map behind Cody’s head as he tries to determine where Marahute the eagle nests.
This part is definitely supposed to be comic relief, but it still freaked me out nonetheless. Wilbur, the albatross/pilot that flew the mouse ‘rescuers’ Bianca and Bernard to Australia throws his back out when landing. They leave him a hospital run by tiny mice. Sounds cute, right? Not really. Their methods turn out to be a little intense, and they do things like tie him up and fire a rifle loaded with syringes at him. However the scariest part is when they pull out a chainsaw when operating on his back. Wilbur doesn’t stick around to find out what they’re going to do with it and manages to escape. Thank god.
By far the scariest part of the movie is the very end, where McLeach dangles Cody (again, a small child) over a lake filled with crocodiles, to well, murder him. The Rescuers manage to turn off the power to the crane McLeach was using to dangle Cody. But instead of giving up, McLeach just pulls out his shotgun and shoots at the rope that’s holding Cody up over the pit of crocodiles. The Rescuers end up pushing the evil McLeach into the crocodile lake, but Cody falls in soon after and they have to run to save him. As a small child I could barely watch at this part.
So there you have it! By far the five scariest parts of, The Rescuers Down Under. Even though I really enjoyed watching this movie as a kid, it still totally scared me (still does a bit if I’m being perfectly honest). So enjoy the anniversary, and watch at your own risk!
(Images via Disney)