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Horned King

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Rey Del Mal
The Horned King
Background information
Feature films The Black Cauldron
Short films
Television programs House of Mouse
Video games The Black Cauldron
Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (as The Phantom)
Mickey Mouse
Park attractions Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour
Portrayed by
Portrayed by
Voice John Hurt
Corey Burton
Performance model
Inspiration The Horned King from Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain
Viracocha Inca who had visions of the same god's name and insisted on being called "God"
Omega from "The Three Doctors"
Honors and awards
Character information
Full name
Other names The Phantom, Sire (referred to by Creeper), Mr. Cauldron (called by Donald Duck)
Personality Ruthless, truly evil, cruel, completely evil, cunning, abusive, murderous, insane, dark, power-hungry, misanthropic, hegemonic, megalomaniacal, scary
Appearance Slender, skeletal, bony horns, red robe with brown fur cloak, yellow eyes with red pupils
Occupation Monarch
Alignment Evil
Goal To acquire The Black Cauldron
To rule the world
To become a god
To kill every human being
Home Ancient Castle (The Black Cauldron)
Pets Gwythaints
Allies Gwythaints, Maleficent, Chernabog, The Queen, Stromboli, Lady Tremaine, Hades
Minions His lieutenant Creeper, Gwythaints, Cauldron Born, Guards (formerly)
Enemies Taran, Gurgi, Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam, Dallben, Hen Wen, Mickey and Friends, Tinker Bell, Disney Fairies
Likes Becoming a god, power, killing other beings, His Dragons, Making his servants suffer
Dislikes Having his plans failed, incompetent creatures, human beings
Powers and abilities Powerfully magical abilities, control of an army of deathless warriors, ability to use the Black Cauldron
Weapons The Black Cauldron, black magic
Fate Gets sucked into the Black Cauldron and killed
Now I call on my army of the dead: the Cauldron Born! Arise, my messengers of death! Our time has arrived!
―The Horned King

The Horned King is the main antagonist of Disney's 1985 feature film The Black Cauldron. He is voiced by John Hurt. His main plan in the movie was to find the Black Cauldron and use its power to unleash an army of deathless warriors dubbed as Cauldron Born. The Horned King has a vast army at his disposal including the troll-like Creeper, the Huntsmen of Annuvin, the dragon-like Gwythaints, and of course his Cauldron Born.



The main villain was supposed to be Arawn. However, the animators felt people would like him better since he has horns (notable examples include Maleficent and Chernabog). They combined the elements of the two to create a lich, though the narrator implies the spirit within the Cauldron is Arawn himself.

Physical Description

The Horned King is a skeletal creature with green, rotting flesh and two gnarled horns from which he earns his name. It is debatable whether the Horned King was undead or living; since Creeper served him wine at some point during the film, it can be assumed he possesses a digestive tract, implying he is a living being or at least that he is still able to enjoy food and drink. It is possible that in his quest for power, he tried several dark magical approaches, which left his physical appearance deteriorating, in a similar way to Harry Potter's Lord Voldemort and Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.

It is also possible that in his obsession with godhood, the king has used his magical abilities to stave off death but is unable to keep his body from deteriorating as he is a skeletal creature with rotting flesh. Nevertheless, the decomposition seems only external as he is physically strong, fast and agile and able to project his voice.


The Horned King is in great contrast with his predecessors and successors. While he exhibits the same outwardly arrogant and narcissistic qualities, desiring to become "a god among mortal men", he is cold and very composed, showing no outward anger until his plan fails at which point he lunges at Taran, believing it to be his doing (on Creeper's suggestion). He is quite mysterious, and it is implied that not even his minions appear to know what he is, and is one of the less active villains, his only motion in the movie (that is not carried out by his lackeys) is his role in the birth of the Cauldron Born. Also, he has no reservations about his intentions, as he is very open on his dream of becoming "a god among mortal men" and then wiping out all living things with an undead army. He is notable for seldom exhibiting a sense of humor or giving evil laughs. On the one occasion he demonstrates a sense of humor, it is notably snide and sarcastic. Also, he is driven by personal desire, unlike a lot of Disney villains who are instead driven by revenge.

Powers and Abilities

Although it is implied the Horned King is a sorcerer of some sort, he actually performs very little magic, only displaying his powers to teleport into his castle's mess hall and calling upon the spirit of the Black Cauldron. How he got into the position of King is unknown. Perhaps he was a great warrior or soldier, but then again he is never seen wielding a sword. He did have great physical strength, however, as he used that to assault Taran in the climax.


The Black Cauldron

He desires to find the Black Cauldron and use its power to unleash an army of deathless Cauldron Born to rule the world. He goes to many lengths to find it, kidnapping Eilonwy for her bauble and Hen Wen because he believes they have powers to locate the Black Cauldron. He is first seen talking to his currently non-animated Cauldron Born on his goals. He is seen again when he enters the mess hall of his castle via magical teleport teleportation. When Taran falls into the room, he instructs him to show the location of the Black Cauldron via Hen Wen. When Taran refuses, the king orders his men to kill the pig, forcing the boy to comply. As Taran instructs Hen Wen to create a spell pointing the Cauldron's whereabouts, the excited king gets too close to Taran who in his fright splashes water into the King's eyes (which has an agonizing effect on him) to lead Hen Wen into a chase where they manage to keep Hen Wen away and he is thrown into the dungeon. Later, Creeper reports that Taran and his new company have escaped and quietly tells him to send the Gwythaints to follow them. The three are ultimately captured along with the newly acquired Black Cauldron which he then summons the Cauldron Born. He sends them to destroy all opposition, however Gurgi flings himself into the Cauldron to negate its necromancy ability. The Horned King suspects Creeper is the one to blame and carries him, returns to the room where the ritual was performed and finds Taran who he believes the Cauldron's failure was his doing. He throws Creeper aside grabs Taran and lifts him off his feet, but Taran pushes the Horned King into the pull of the Cauldron. The Horned King grabs Taran again and tries to throw him into the Black Cauldron, but the cauldron pulls the Horned King in instead and rips him to a skeleton and explodes.

House of Mouse


The Horned King in House of Mouse.

The Horned King makes appearances in several episodes of House of Mouse. He is also notable to be one of the only characters from The Black Cauldron to appear in the series along with the Cauldron Born.

Video Game Appearances

Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse

The Horned King appears as the final boss of the game under the name The Phantom, having stolen a magical gem from a village. He is clad in blue and purple robes instead of his red and brown robes.

Mickey Mouse (video game)

The Horned King is the final boss in the video game of Mickey Mouse in which he's greatly larger than Mickey. In the beginning of the game, he had kidnapped Minnie.

Disney Parks

Snapshot 2011-03-12 11-55-44

The Horned King at Tokyo Disneyland.

The Horned King appeared in the Tokyo Disneyland attraction Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour. In this tour styled walk through attraction, the Horned King is the final Disney villain the guests confront. The tour guide will tell a guest the magic words to defeat the Horned King and his Cauldron Born army. At the end of the tour the guest was awarded a medal for defeating him. The attraction served as inspiration for the final level of a Tokyo Disneyland-based game on the Super Famicom where Pete played the part of the Horned King.


The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Horned King.


  • Arguably, the Horned King is somewhat similar to Doctor Facilier in the way that both are motivated solely by personal desire and have a hatred for those they are trying to defeat. Also, both end up absorbed and killed by the source of their powers; the Horned King by the Cauldron and Facilier by their masters.
  • The Horned King is definitely one of the most serious Disney villains, as he never makes any kind of joke (his taunting of Taran, Eilonwy and Fflewddur Fflam not withstanding) and he always maintains his frightening and villainous image no matter what the situation.
  • He is the first Disney villain to be a king (while John became the king of England, he was chronologically a prince and his subjects only saw him as a phony).
  • The Horned King is one of the few villains without a song. He shares this trait with the likes of Shan-Yu.
    • Like Shan-Yu, the Horned King is accompanied by a haunting leitmotif composed by the late Elmer Bernstein.
  • The King's physical appearance is similar to that of Skeletor from the popular Eighties TV series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
  • The Horned King in the original book was not a lead villain but rather the champion of the books' true villain Arawn.
  • In the Italian version of The Black Cauldron, Horned King was called Re Cornelius (King Cornelius) because the Italian word for horned (cornuto) means also "a person that has been betrayed by the proper partner".
  • In spite of the film's lack of popularity, the Horned King could perhaps be considered one of the movie's better-remembered characters; he is classified as a member of the Disney Villains franchise and has made appearances on the House of Mouse, alongside his undead minions the Cauldron Born, albeit he may not necessarily be qualified to fall under a recognized status.
  • The Horned King became a popular source of inspiration of many numerous non-Disney villains. One of the most notable examples would be the Lich (originally going to be named Lich King) from Adventure Time, both having similar appearances and powers.
  • The Horned King has one of the most brutal and graphic deaths in an animated Disney film, as his skin is sucked off his bones onscreen.
  • His voice sounds similar to that of Tirek, an equally evil villain from G1 of My Little Pony.

The Black Cauldron logo

Media: The Black Cauldron | Video game | House of Mouse

Books: Classic Storybook

Characters: Taran | Princess Eilonwy | Fflewddur Fflam | Gurgi | Dallben | Hen Wen | Cat | Dog | Moose | Dallben's farm animals | Horned King | Creeper | Cauldron Born | Horned King's guards | Gwythaints | King Eidilleg | Doli | Fair Folk | Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch | Prydainpeople | The Hunter (Deleted Character)

Objects: The Black Cauldron | Magic Sword | Magic Harp | Golden Pelydryn

Locations: Prydain | Caer Dallben | The Horned King's Castle

Kingdom Keepers Logo

Books: Kingdom Keepers | Kingdom Keepers I: Disney After Dark | Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn | Kingdom Keepers: Disney In Shadow | Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play | Kingdom Keepers V: Shell Game | Kingdom Keepers VI: Dark Passage

Original Characters: Finn Whitman | Charlene Turner | Terrence Maybeck | Dell Philby | Isabella Angelo | Wayne Kresky | Amanda Lockhart | Jessica Lockhart | Mrs. Whitham | Wanda Alcott | Greg Luowski | Storey Ming | Bess Maybeck | Gladis Philby | Sally Ringwald | Dillard Cole | Hugo Montcliff | Mattie Weaver

Disney Characters: Mickey Mouse | Minnie Mouse | Pluto | Ariel | Violet Parr | Mulan | King Triton | Megara | Stitch | Remy | Django | Rajah | Prince Phillip | Elsa | Rapunzel | Timon | Pumbaa | Chip 'n' Dale | Goofy | Tigger | Lilo | Winnie the Pooh | Piglet

Overtakers: Maleficent | Chernabog | The Evil Queen | Cruella De Vil | Claude Frollo | Ursula | Jafar | Shan Yu | Jack Sparrow | Tia Dalma | Gaston | Prince John | Horned King | Big Bad Wolf | J. Worthington Foulfellow | Gideon | Shenzi, Banzai and Ed | Diablo | Magic Brooms | Green Army Men | Blackbeard | Shere Khan | Si and Am | Hopper | Flotsam and Jetsam | Judge Doom | Madam Leota | Sabor | The Headless Horseman | Stormtroopers | Scar | Zira

Locations: Magic Kingdom | Epcot | Disney's Hollywood Studios | Disney's Animal Kingdom | Typhoon Lagoon | DisneyQuest | Cinderella Castle | Escher's Keep | It's a Small World | Splash Mountain | The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh | Big Thunder Mountain Railroad | Expedition Everest | Fantasmic! | Voyage of the Little Mermaid | Disney Dream | Walt Disney: One Man's Dream | Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge | Soarin' | Mission: SPACE | Test Track | Wonders of Life | Morocco Pavilion | China Pavilion | France Pavilion | Norway Pavilion | Mexico Pavilion | Disneyland | Jungle Cruise | Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye | Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters | The Haunted Mansion | Casey Jr. Circus Train |Toontown | Matterhorn | The Disney Gallery

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