According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is in the early stages of bringing Fantasia‘s iconic final act “Night on Bald Mountain” into the live-action scene.
Fantasy scribes Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless will be writing and producing the movie. Previously, both writers has been involved with Dracula Untold and The Last Witch Hunter.
Fantasia was originally released in 1940. Featuring beautiful orchestral pieces set to animation that *still* holds up to the test of time, some 70+ years later. The scene in question is actually presented in two parts. “Night on Bald Mountain” is an orchestral piece written by Russian composer Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky in 1867. “Ave Maria” was written by Germany’s Franz Schubert in 1825.
The first part of the sequence features Chernabog as he summons demons, spirits and the undead to dance and worship it through the night. This is during our equivalent of Halloween. The film’s narrator, Deems Taylor, calls Chernabog “Satan” although that may not be entirely accurate. Chernabog, or “Black God”, is actually an old Slavic deity that had only just been mentioned in the 12th century, so it’s importance and age to ancient Slavs is still in question.
The second part starts with Chernabog about to continue its reveling when church bells begin ringing, sounding the coming of dawn. Slowly, Chernabog is banished back into the mountain as the tones of “Ave Maria” begin to float through the early morning as the faithful in the town below the mountain begin their trek to the ruins of a cathedral.
Disney seems to be focusing more and more attention on bringing their beloved animated features into the real world. Previously, they’ve released statements for Mulan, Tink, a Tim Burton lead Dumbo and a few others. The show Once Upon a Time actually had Chernabog appear in it briefly as well.
It’ll be interesting to see how Disney, Sazama and Sharpless approach this movie. The scene in question was actually kind of scary when I was a wee lad, but held my attention nonetheless. It still holds a bit of fear factor to it today. How terrifying will they make it, and how will the actual story play out? Stay tuned to The Nerd Stash for future updates from the House of Mouse.