Dr. Facilier's friends on the Other Side are antagonists in Disney's 2009 animated feature film, The Princess and the Frog. They are a sinister legion of loa (spirits) who aid the villainous Dr. Facilier in his plot to rule New Orleans.
A large, horned mask appears to be the head of the legion, as the others look to it for guidance and approval. This mask also serves as a gateway to the hellish "Other Side". It provides Doctor Facilier with his voodoo talisman, it releases the Shadow Demons from its mouth, and it sucks Facilier inside it when the talisman is destroyed.Various other masks are seen in the film, plastered along the walls of Facilier's emporium, disguised as ordinary decorations. They serve as the primary background vocalists during Facilier's spells, chanting with deep, booming voices.
Role in the film
After luring Prince Naveen and his valet, Lawrence, into his emporium, the spirits ominously watch in secrecy as Facilier manipulates the two victims into making a deal; Naveen wanting wealth and "green", while Lawrence wants Naveen's privileged lifestyle. Settling it with a handshake. As the spell upon the two is cast, the spirits chant, dance, and sing alongside the doctor, while simultaneously providing him a magical talisman that'll grant Lawrence's wish by disguising him as Naveen, while the prince is turned into a frog.
Later on, thanks to his bumbling, Lawrence allows Naveen to escape, leaving Facilier to ask for help from his friends after the talisman runs out of blood. Should they assist Dr. Facilier, the voodoo spirits would be given the souls of New Orleans' wayward denizens as a reward. Pleased with this proposition, the spirits grant Dr. Facilier a team of Shadow Demons, to obey his every command and capture Naveen. They head off into the Bayou and find pieces of balloons with Naveen's scent. Some of the shadows catch Naveen and begin their journey back to their dark master until they are destroyed by Mama Odie. Later on, when Naveen, Tiana (who had also fallen victim to Facilier's frog curse after kissing Neveen), and the others return to New Orleans, the shadows are able to capture Naveen.
Back at the city, Naveen escapes yet again and manages to give Ray the firefly the talisman used for Facilier's plan, resulting into the demons resuming their work. They are halted by Ray, who battles the shadows with ease until he is mortally wounded by Facilier. The other shadows follow Tiana, who now has the talisman but she soon destroys it. Furious at Facilier's failure to live up to his end of the bargain, the Loa suddenly arrive at the cemetery to take his soul as payment instead. Though Facilier pleads for mercy, the witch doctor is dragged against his will into the voodoo spirit world, where he is doomed to remain for all eternity.
The demons are often used as elements during Facilier's section of live show, most of the time. The first iterations of the demons appeared in Tiana's Showboat Jubilee, where they were represented by flags with images depicting the Shadow Demons.
In World of Color: Celebrate!, the head mask appears alongside Facilier during the montage celebrating villains. The also appeared in the Halloween version called Villainous.
In Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, the demons are briefly used by Doctor Facilier to retrieve the legendary crystal of the Magic Kingdom. The demons find and deliver the crystal to the doctor, but are soon defeated by the park guests. The snake spirits also appear to hold down a captive Tiana at one point.
In 2013, the voodoo dolls appeared as walk-around characters during Disneyland Paris' Disney Dreamers Everywhere! event. Theatrical representations of the demons were also featured in Disney's Maleficious Halloween Party.
- The Masks are likely intended to be the Loa, who are god-like figures in Voodoo Mythology that are typically invisible and need to possess a form to communicate with mortals.
- The leader mask is likely Baron Samedi, a Loa Baron of the Dead in Haitian Voodoo Mythology who is known for committing evil acts and giving power to Bokors (Voodoo Doctors). To support this theory further Facilier dresses in the same clothing that Samedi wears in Mythology and in Voodoo Magic it is believed that the more you act and look like the Loa you serve, the stronger the connection of power between the two of you will be.
- One of the Shadow Demons summoned by Facilier is tall, skinny, and has large, oval shaped eyes, leading many to believe that this is supposed to look like Jack Skellington.
- The dance the voodoo dolls share with Facilier at the end of "Friends on the Other Side" is an homage to Bert's dance with the penguins in Mary Poppins.