Chernabog is the main antagonist of the 1940 film Fantasia, appearing in the segment "A Night on Bald Mountain".
Appearances on Film and Television
Night on Bald Mountain (Fantasia)
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 way down below. Stretching out his arms, Chernabog casts a dark shadow over the village and summons ghosts, 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.
Chernabog and his minions then partake in a hellish party at the peak of Bald Mountain where the ghosts fly around Chernabog as the demons dance around a pit of fire. As they dance, Chernabog picks up some of the demons and transforms them into several nightmarish forms like demonic animals such as a pig, a wolf and a goat and fire spirits before Chernabog becomes bored with them and throws them into the fire pit. Several harpies also fly around , picking up demons to plunge into the fiery abyss until Chernabog's celebration is brought to an end when the dawn comes and the priests of the town below begin their morning ritual of singing Ave Maria. Powerless against the divine presence, Chernabog falls back into his slumber, wrapping his wings around his body and once again becoming one with the mountain peak as his minions return to their tombs and to hell.
Once Upon a Time
Chernabog appears in Season 4, episode 13 of the live action television series, Once Upon a Time, titled "Darkness on the Edge of Town." Chernabog is first introduced in a flashback to the characters' past in the Enchanted Forest as the demon guardian of Bald Mountain, where an orb containing a powerful curse was hidden. Rumpelstiltskin uses Maleficent, Cruella De Vil, and Ursula to steal the orb Chernabog was guarding, then leaves them to die by his hands. Because Chernabog targets the heart with the greatest potential for darkness, Maleficent decides to work together with Cruella and Ursula. While Maleficent distracts Chernabog, Cruella and Ursula escape through a crack in the wall, just small enough for them but not big enough for Chernabog. Cruella and Ursula return the favor by pulling Maleficent away from the demon with her tentacles. It has not yet been revealed how he was sealed-and-released from the Sorcerer's Hat by Regina, Mary Margaret, Hook, and Belle; by the time they discover he was released from the hat along with the fairies, Chernabog is already attacking the town. Regina and Emma are able to temporarily scare Chernabog away with their magic, but they know he will come back. Before Emma and Regina can come up with a plan to defeat the beast, Regina receives a call from Ursula and Cruella who tell her that they can help them rid the town of Chernabog, provided they are given a chance of redemption like Regina was. Emma and Regina agree to the exchange and are told that the demon seeks the heart with the greatest potential for darkness. Emma and Regina trick the demon into going over the town line and into the world with no magic, therefore disappearing forever. It is later revealed that not only did Gold pose as a Oxford professor to trick Belle into using a dark spell but that Chernabog was after Emma, not Regina.
House of Mouse
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.
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 Appearances
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.
Comic book appearances
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 Scenes
Chernabog was animated by Vladimir Tytla.
Inspiration and Design
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 detailed pastel illustrations, as well as a model sheet for the character. Chernabog was then created as a real model, to be used as reference by Tytla during animation.
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.
- "No one but Tytla could have given Chernabog the odious, predominantly animal mentality which made him so fearsome" - Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston
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.
Deviations from Source Material
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. 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.
- Chernabog was possibly part of 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.
- John Canemaker, "Before the Animation Begins: The Life and Times of Disney inspirational Sketch Artists"
- John Culhane, "Walt Disney's Fantasia"
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- Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, "The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation"
- "Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology"