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Chernabog

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Chernabog
Chernabog
Background information
Feature films Fantasia (1940)
Mickey’s House of Villains (2002)
Television programs House of Mouse (2002)
Video games Kingdom Hearts Series
Park attractions Fantasmic!
Actor
Actress
Animators Vladimir Tytla
Voice Corey Burton
Performance model Wilfred Jackson (after Tytla was not satisfied with Bela Lugosi’s performance)
Designer Kay Nielsen
Inspiration Mephisto in Murnau's Faust
Drawings by Heinrich Kley
Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Awards #1 Nostalgia Critic's Top 11 Disney Villains
Character information
Other names The Devil, Satan (according to Deems Taylor)
Personality Dark, evil, ugly, mysterious
Appearance
Occupation Tormenting souls in his domain
Alignment
Goal To celebrate Walpurgis Night by calling forth restless spirits and demons and throw his minions into a hellish infern
Home Bald Mountain
Friends none
Enemies none
Minions Chernabog's Ghosts, Witches and restless Soulmen, Chernabog's minions, The Fire Women, Blue Demons, The Harpies
Likes Evil, darkness, death, fire, despair
Dislikes Light
Powers and abilities Pure evil, unlimited darkness, power to corrupt
Weapons
Fate Retreats from the sun, but will always survive
Typical Saying

Chernabog is main villain antagonist of the film's finale segment, "A Night on Bald Mountain" in the 1940 film, Fantasia and is usually considered to be the film's overall main villain. He is the god of evil and death. The huge, nocturnal demon is based on the god of the night in Slavonic mythology. At Walpurgis Night (the Witches' Sabbath), Chernabog emerges from the peak of Bald Mountain (in reality Mount Triglaf, near Kiev in southern Russia) to summon all of his minions, who dance furiously as he throws them into the mountain’s fiery pit. Chernabog has been praised as Disney’s best representation of pure evil, and as animator Vladimir Tytla's greatest triumph. He is considered as Disney's most powerful and terrifying villain, as the god of evil, he does not work towards a specific goal but exists purely to of be evil and can be seen as influencing all other Disney villains as a manifestation of Satan himself.[1]. In UltimateDisney's Top 30 Villains Countdown, he ranked 13th (one better than Yzma but one under Shere Khan). In Nostalgia Critic's Top 11 Disney Villains, he ranked #1, right above Maleficent.

Appearances on Film and TelevisionEdit

Night on Bald Mountain (Fantasia)Edit

The sequence takes place in a mountainous area, in which a village is overlooked by Bald Mountain. The peak of Bald Mountain is revealed to be Chernabog's wings, which he spreads out as he looks at the village down below. Stretching out his arms, Chernabog casts a dark shadow over the village and summons gohsts, including the spirits of hanged criminals (who pass through the noose a second time as they rise from their graves), fallen warriors in the moat and grounds of a ruined castle, and the souls of all who are not buried in sacred ground.
Chernabog2
Mayan PeopleAdded by Mayan People

The ghosts join together to become a single mass, swirling around Chernabog, who laughs and summons fire and demons. As the demons emerge and gather below their master, he grabs a number of them and disdainfully throws them into the fires of Bald Mountain, while his other minions dance on. He then uses flames to create images: first, the fire women; then, at his pleasure, they transform into dancing wild animals, a boar, a wolf, and a goat.Chernabog then transforms them into blue demons, who dance before him, causing him to grin maliciously. As the dancing continues, it becomes more frantic and chaotic; The Harpies fly above the demons, occasionally grabbing them and throwing them into the inferno.


Chernabog sun
Chernabog recoiling from the sun
Chernabog fire
Chernabog saw fire when the fire women appear and start dancing.

The celebration culminates in a blinding flash of fire from the inferno. Chernabog, ready to continue, eagerly leers over his minions, but is interrupted by the sound of bells, which herald the coming of the dawn. Though he initially ignores the sound, the light of the sun forces him and his minions to retreat; as the ghosts return to their resting places, Chernabog raises his arms one final time, and closes his wings, protecting himself from the sunlight and becoming the peak of the mountain once more.

House of MouseEdit

In the House of Mouse series, Chernabog's role is largely for comical purposes. Voiced by Corey Burton, he is sometimes seen in the audience, often with a regular-sized table, which causes him to sit in a difficult position. At one point he admits to gossip queen Carabelle Cow that he is afraid of the dark. He is also one of the many villains to appear in Mickey's House of Villains; Maleficent, after transforming into a dragon, sits next to Chernabog, who compliments her on her work and enjoys a drink with her. He is first seen talking for once.

Image 0166
Chernabog in Mickey's House of Villains
Mayan PeopleAdded by Mayan People

FantasmicEdit

Chernabog is one of the villains summoned by the Evil Queen to do away with Mickey Mouse and destroy his imagination. Clips from Night on Bald Mountain are shown on water screens, indicating that Chernabog is summoning a host of ghouls against Mickey.It also has T-shirts with Chernabog's picture on it.

Video Game AppearancesEdit

Kingdom HeartsEdit

Chernabog is the final Disney boss to appear in the game. Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy encounter him at the End of the World. Similar to his first appearance in Fantasia, Chernabog is at the top of a mountain and is accompanied by Modest Moussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain. However, while Chernabog was silent in Fantasia, in Kingdom Hearts her roars loudly, though he does not speak. He attacks Sora, Donald and Goofy (who are able to fly about) with various fire attacks. When defeated, he disappears and the mountain on which he was perched is revealed to lead to the next area. Chernabog is the only boss not featured in the Journal, most likely forgotten when he was added in the American and European version of the game; there is thus no explanation for his appearance of role in the game. It is possible that he is a Heartless.

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ChernabogRender
Chernabog in Kingdom Hearts.
Mayan PeopleAdded by Mayan People

Comic book appearancesEdit

In DC's Kingdom Come, Written by Paul Dini and illustrated by Alex Ross, Chernabog is seen in a villains only bar and on a battle scene towards the end of the story.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Chernabog was animatd by Vladimir Tytla.

Inspiration and DesignEdit

The idea for Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria's Devil was conceived by German artist Heinrich Kley (who, though he did not work at the Disney studio, inspired many of the Disney artists, and whose drawings were collected by Walt Disney), who once sketched a pen and ink drawing of a gigantic demon forcing workers out of a factory by blocking the chimney. Albert Hurter, inspired by this drawing and others like it by Kley, drew various sketches of a huge, winged devil tossing handfuls of souls into a volcano. Hurter's sketches also included studies of Chernabog's hands as his flailing minions attempt to clamber onto his fingers for safety; this imagery is used in a scene in the final film. After Hurter's initial sketches, Kay Nielsen established the final appearance of Chernabog and his world in a series of detailled pastel illustrations, as well as a model sheet for the character[2]. Chernabog was then created as a real model, to be used as reference by Tytla during animation.[3]

Chernabog model
The model sheet for Chernabog, by Kay Nielsen

Live-action ReferenceEdit

For live-action reference, Wilfred Jackson, the director of Night on Bald Mountain, shot footage of actor Bela Lugosi (famous for his portrayal of Universal's Dracula), to be studied by Tytla. However, Tytla was not satisfied with Lugosi's performance, finding it not to be the way he felt the character would move. As a result, after Lugosi left, Tytla shot live-action footage of Jackson (a skinny man), directing his movements according to his intentions for the character. Jackson later recalled that his hands were also filmed in close-up as reference for Chernabog's hands as he manipulated the flames[3].

AnimationEdit

"No one but Tytla could have given Chernabog the odious, predominantly animal mentality which made him so fearsome" - Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston[1]

Tytla was Ukrainian, and thus had a clear image in his mind of the character of his culture's folklore. Thornton Hee recalled wanting to ask Tytla about something, but finding that the animator's room was in complete darkness save for the fluorescent light under Tytla's drawing, which lit his face in an eerie way as he worked. This unnerved T. Hee enough to compell him to leave without alerting Tytla to his presence at all[4].

Deviations from Source MaterialEdit

In Slavonic mythology, Chernobog represents darkness and destruction, and is the opposite of Bylebog (literally, 'Chernabog' meas 'black god' and 'Bylebog' means 'white god'). Bylebog, the god of good, was normally depicted in Slavonic mythology as an old man with a white beard, dressed in white[5]. However, as a Christian, Disney chose not to use Bylebog, but instead used a Christian procession (depicted in the Ave Maria segment following Night on Bald Mountain) to act as opposition to Chernabog's profane celebration[3].

Sorcerer's Apprentice Chernabog
Unused concept for Chernabog's appearance in The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Mayan PeopleAdded by Mayan People

TriviaEdit

  • Chernabog is similar to The Emperor of the Night from Pinnochio and The Emperor of the Night.
  • Chernabog is also similar to The Nightmare King from Little Nemo. They are both Satan-like villains.
  • Chernabog was possibly the inspiration for the design of the Shadow Blot, the main antagonist for the Wii video game Disney Epic Mickey.
  • In Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Chernabog made an appearance in a projector screen, the one in the Mad Doctor's attic, leading to the Mad Doctor's ride.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, "The Disney Villain"
  2. John Canemaker, "Before the Animation Begins: The Life and Times of Disney inspirational Sketch Artists"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 John Culhane, "Walt Disney's Fantasia"
  4. Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, "The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation"
  5. "Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology"
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