Who Framed Roger Rabbit is supposedly a kids' movie, but anyone who's seen it knows it's much darker than the average Looney Tune. Cartoons are funny on TV, but their existence in the real world is terrifying in an almost existential way. While the film might seem like a mystery movie for kids, the filmmakers didn't pull punches and weren't afraid to make scenes as adult as necessary.
At its heart, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a film noir, and many of the genre's less-than-kid-friendly themes are certainly on display. Intrigue, alcohol, and debauchery are all present - or at least referenced - and sometimes the filmmakers take these elements farther than expected. Who Framed Roger Rabbit will always be a classic movie for audiences of all ages, but you might want to give your kids a heads-up before Judge Doom gets flattened by the steam roller.
The cartoon shoe scene is easily one of the most traumatic and horrifying moments in the entire movie, and that's saying something. The audience is forced to watch as the ominous Judge Doom, portrayed by the great Christopher Lloyd, plunges an adorable cartoon shoe into a vat of Dip.
Doom explains that the concoction of turpentine, acetone, and benzene is the only way to permanently eliminate a toon forever. The poor shoe squeals and writhes as its body is slowly dissolved in the mixture, only leaving behind a reddish swirl on the Dip's sickly green surface.
Practically everything about Judge Doom is terrifying, but his apparent demise is particularly sickening. Before his true toon nature is revealed, Doom is caught under a steamroller and flattened, presumably ending him. His screams are rather convincing, and the audience is given a good, long look at his squished remains.
That's not where the nightmare ends though - Doom starts moving again, peeling himself off the floor and sticking the nozzle of a gas tank in his ear. He then inflates himself to his proper proportions in the most haunting way possible, revealing his true toon self.
According to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the afterlife is real for toons - at least if they aren't Dipped. We see some first-hand evidence of this in one of the film's final scenes. Valiant puts on a goofy show to momentarily distract the Weasels, and they laugh so hard, they actually lose their lives.
The Weasels go down one by one, which might be a little less disturbing if their souls didn't emerge from their lifeless bodies and ascend upwards toward the heavens. That's fairly existential for the average family film.
When Judge Doom is finally outed for the toon villain he really is, the situation becomes truly horrific. He is run over by a steamroller and then inflates himself back to normal, but the shenanigans don't stop there.
His eyeballs pop out of his skull and are replaced with menacing toon eyes. His voice transforms into a shrill, squeaking fever dream as he describes to Valiant how he took out the detective's brother with a piano, and in one final moment of horror, Doom's eye bulge out of his head and become bloodstained daggers.