Death lurked outside the couple’s doorstep. A monster, many times their size, fixed its eyes upon their home. Paralyzed with fear, they stared at the beast’s silver scales and terrifying teeth, which glistened too close to the couple’s slumbering children. The mother dashed towards her brood. The monster pounced. And though the father tried to fend off the attacker with every inch of his tiny frame, he was knocked out by the beast's colossal tail. A few hours later, he awoke to a grisly discovery: his wife and all but one child had been consumed.
That scene occurs a mere four minutes and three seconds into the 2003 Disney film Finding Nemo. A similar ghastly fate befalls the parents of the titular character in Tarzan, when a leopard mauls the couple to death just four minutes and eight seconds into the movie. These films exemplify the prevalence of death and violence in children’s animated movies that extends from 1937’s Snow White (the evil stepmother gets struck by lightning and crushed by a boulder) to 2013's Frozen (the parents drown after their boat sinks), according to a new tongue-in-cheek study published today in the Christmas edition of The BMJ.
In "Cartoons Kill: casualties in animated recreational theater in an objective observational new study of kids’ introduction to loss of life," the researchers compare how often on-screen deaths occur in kids movies with their frequency in movies for adults. (Not those kinds of adult movies.)