In 1926, the first book about Winnie-the-Pooh emerged from the brain of author A.A. Milne onto the page.
It took about 45 years for Walt Disney to license out the character, which (upon the release of the first film, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, in 1966) became one of the company’s most popular after the firm made a few changes—most notably to the name, removing the hyphens to become Winnie the Pooh.
At the end of 2021, the franchise had reached 95 years in copyright, putting the character of Winnie-the-Pooh into the public domain for the first time. And a full five months after that, some director got the great idea of … turning the franchise into a brutal, bloody slasher film.
According to Variety, the film, titled Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, has already attained an especially strong buzz, beyond that of traditional modern horror/slasher films.
“Because of all the press and stuff, we’re just going to start expediting the edit and getting it through post production as fast as we can,” director Rhys Waterfield told the outlet. “But also, making sure it’s still good. It’s gonna be a high priority.”
The trailer, which I will warn you now is nothing like a Disney film, is quite dark. But I have to imagine, if you’re into this kind of film, you likely will find it quite appealing.
First off, bravo to the film-making team, which I’m sure is already writing the Mickey Mouse slasher film they’ll get to make in 2024. This is a bonafide clever idea, and the PR attention this is getting is likely to lead to more movies like this.
Now, as I’m sure you saw in the title, I noted that the hyphens are important. The reason for that is that this film will have to be based off the material of the original book series, rather than the animated films, which have a different style.
But I wonder if, subtly, Disney is aware of the odds of this happening to more of its film properties. I say this because of a recent film that played heavily into the meta nature of its cultural influence.
That film is the 2022 film reboot/continuation of Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers, which is a good, light film that I recommend. But one of the plot points is based around the idea that more obscure cartoon characters are being kidnapped and put onto the black market, being forced to create “knock-off” films based on the original property, but changed just enough to be different.
While I’m not assuming the Lonely Island guys that helped formulate this film intentionally did it, they may have given Disney subtle fodder to draw attention to the “knock-offs” they likely know are coming in the next five to ten years.
Perhaps it starts with a new animated series based on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, then it evolves to Goofy and Donald Duck. The public domain is a flexible beast, so the room for creative license is strong, even if based on the original property.
That’s the true horror movie for Disney: The idea that their characters will be used by directors that don’t quite share their vision.
Time limit given ⏲: 30 minutes
Time left on clock ⏲: 3 minutes, 40 seconds