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Aladdin's Jafar and 5 other terrifying Disney villains we need back on the big screen


Get ready to jump into a whole new world of Disney magic when Guy Ritchie's live action re-telling of 1992 animated classic Aladdin flies into Cineworld on 24th May.

Following in the footsteps of the success of other live action adaptations of The Jungle Book, Pete's Dragon and Beauty and the Beast, we can't wait to venture back to the fictional Arabian kingdom of Agrabah for some more high-flying adventures jam-packed with memorable Disney tunes. (This reportedly includes two new songs for our listening pleasure, and a re-interpretation of 'Friend Like Me' by new Genie actor Will Smith.)

With amazing visuals, lovable characters, and tons of imagination, the multi-Oscar winning animation Aladdin is certainly deserving of Disney's hall of fame. However, there's another factor that's helped make it so unforgettable: the memorable villain named Jafar.

Originally voiced by Jonathan Freeman and now portrayed in live-action form by Marwan Kenzari (Murder on the Orient Express), everything about this deceitful sorcerer's character oozes a delightful vileness that easily makes him one of the greatest Disney villains ever.

Jafar isn't the only terrifying Disney villain we adore, though. Here are five others we want to see back on the big screen.

1. The hag – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Disney classics don't come more feted than Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The first ever feature to come from the Disney studios, we're all familiar with the story of the titular Snow White (Adriana Caselotti) and the time she spent living with a group of colourful dwarfs.

Not only did this film set the bar for all future Disney movies to come, it also gave us their first nightmare-inducing villain: the hag (Lucile La Verne). Originally a queen jealous that she wasn't the fairest one of all, this wicked character disguised herself as a hideous old crone, concocting a plan to remove Snow White from the picture by tricking her into eating a poisoned apple.

This is where the horror truly begins – if her monstrous skeletal appearance and pure wickedness isn't traumatising enough, then the intense transformation sequence will definitely cause you to lose sleep.

2. The Horned King – The Black Cauldron (1985)

It may not have been a huge success when first released, but The Black Cauldron has gathered a cult following in the years since, and it's easy to see why.

Following the adventure of a young boy named Taran (Grant Bardsley) and a group of newfound friends, the film follows this band of misfits as they hunt down the titular receptacle before it falls into the hands of one Horned King (the late John Hurt).

As you'd expect with a name like The Horned King, this villain is perhaps one of the most nightmarish Disney have ever conjured up. With his bone-chilling design, rasping voice (a fine showcase for the celebrated Hurt's unmistakeable tones) and grand musical theme from The Great Escape's Elmer Bernstein, it's abundantly clear that this hooded monstrosity isn't something to be taken lightly.

Seeing this king on the big screen again would certainly be a treat – albeit a terrifying one.

3. Ursula – The Little Mermaid (1989)

Hailed as the film that kickstarted Disney's 'Renaissance' period, The Little Mermaid is the critically acclaimed, multi-Oscar-winning classic that follows the antics of curious young mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson). Through the course of the movie, she sells her voice in exchange for the ability to live on land in order to meet a charming prince, whom she met while eavesdropping on his birthday party.

Of course, a deal as unbelievable as this always has a catch, especially when you make it with a devious sea witch named Ursula. One part human and one part octopus who's always in the company of two even more sinister-looking eels, it should have been evident that this witch wasn't one of the good ones.

Motivated by a personal vendetta and wielding the power to grow into a gargantuan size, arguably the most enjoyable part of this villain is just how much the phenomenal voice actor Pat Carroll relishes the performance. A remake of The Little Mermaid is said to be in the works so it may not be too long before Ursula is back with us.

4. Claude Frollo – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Based on the classic novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame follows the titular bell-ringer (Tom Hulce) attempting to save the life of a new-found friend, Esmerelda (Demi Moore), from a vicious, bloodthirsty judge named Claude Frollo (Tony Jay). However, Frollo just so happens to be the very same man who imprisoned our hero within the bell tower of Notre Dame.

Our introduction to this intimidating villain sees him slaughtering a group of innocents and attempting to throw the baby Quasimodo down a well, so the sheer extent of his cruelty is made explicit.

There's no denying that Frollo is one of the most grown-up and realistic Disney villains to terrorise the screen, but what makes him so dastardly is how he attempts to justify his immoral actions with his sense of righteousness, a character trait exemplified in his spine-tingling rendition of Alan Menken song 'Hellfire'.

5. Yzma – The Emperor's New Groove (2000)

She may not be as frightening as the other villains on this list, but we think Yzma (Eartha Kitt) from The Emperor's New Groove is just as deserving of a place here. Accompanied by her loyal but buffoonish sidekick Kronk (Patrick Warbutton), this power-hungry royal advisor may be played for laughs but that still doesn't change just how evil she really is.

After her plan to poison the emperor (David Spade) goes awry, accidentally turning him into a llama, Yzma and Kronk head out to find the poor prince to complete their murderous deed. While misadventures never fail to crack us up – something made even better with Kitt's sensational performance – we shouldn't underestimate the lengths she's wiling to go to complete her schemes.

However, the most chilling thing about Yzma has to be the monstrosity she calls her fashion sense.

Which Disney villain do you think deserves the live-action treatment? With Aladdin out on 24th May, there's plenty of time to tweet us your suggestions @Cineworld.

Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.