The Black Cauldron…The movie that didn’t exist, but then it did but we don’t like to talk about it.

The Black Cauldron came out in 1986 and only lasted 2 weeks before it was yanked out of the theaters by the studio. This was Disney’s first non musical movie. It was full of flaws and yet I have a soft spot in my heart for this movie. TBC was the first movie to be rated PG for it’s depiction of the undead and darker themes. See images above. It wasn’t a happy sing song movie with a boy seeking a girl and a happy ending and that’s why I liked it.

Taran was a young pig keeper than had to watch a pig, Hen Wen, that had psychic powers that could locate the dark black cauldron that could raise an army of evil undead soldiers. All was well until the pig began to have visions and was spirited away. Taran had to find her before The Horned King, one of the most evil and frighteningly designed Disney Villains ever.

Either way, Taran meets a strange creature named Gurgi. Yes, he’s pretty undeveloped being the obligatory talking animal sidekick. They later meet up with Princess Eilonwy a spirited girl locked in the Horned King’s dungeon. One could argue she was the first non boy interested princess far before Meridah of Brave. Regardless, they escape with a musician, Fleuder Flan and go on a quest to find the cauldron before the Horned King. Long and short they find it but it’s too late as the Horned King captures the gang and all seems lost with legions of the undead pouring out of the cauldron until Gurgi flings himself into the cauldron to stop the invasion. The Horned King and his henchmen get sucked into the cauldron and all disappear. All is well and resolved but there are no love interests fulfilled. They all just leave as friends.

The main flaw in this film was editing. There were needless shots, like the stair scene from 2 angles in the beginning. There were 5 books crammed into one movie. It was impossible to get all the aspects in soundly. We barely saw the fairy folk. There wasn’t enough time to flesh out the Horned King. Eilonwy’s back-story was left out save for her magic bauble.  The Horned King was originally a minor villain in the book series and the witches had their own arc in the series but we saw them for like 5 minutes. I am glad though, that there was no singing. It would have made it all worse.

The movie may have been a bomb but it was obvious some people had the characters in their hearts devising derivative characters of Cavin and Calla in the Gummi Bears as their inspirations. After an extensive campaign fans were able to get it on video. I know I did. Later it was released on DVD, one beanie Gurgi doll and a kid’s book but Disney has shied away from acknowledging the movie. Eilonwy was shoved into obscurity, now blocked out by Meridah’s more blatant rebellious personality. I so wished to see Eilonwy up there with the official line of Princesses but I’m sure that won’t happen. I think the Horned King would make and awesome Kingdom Hearts villain and get some recognition for the movie. Heck even a revised Graphic Novel based more on the book series could still be popular. I’m sure they still have the rights to it.

Don’t believe the hype that this is the worst Disney animated movie ever. It’s simply not true. Things like Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Dinosaur, Chicken Little, maybe even Hercules are worse that The Black Cauldron. Give it a chance. At least see it once.