When you hear Winnie the Pooh, what do you think of? Probably the classic children’s stories about a lovable yellow bear who loves honey. But that innocent association might change after seeing the newest Winnie the Pooh content film. In a wild change of genre, Winnie is the star of a new slasher film, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. This new horror flick from director Rhys Frake-Waterfield strays far from the original Winnie stories, turning the jolly bear into a mysterious murderous man in a mask. But is this childhood classic a good inspiration for something more abominable than adorable?
Not a whole lot is known about the upcoming film, as no trailer has been released. However, some film stills have begun circulating and indicate the sinister makeover the characters of 100 Acre Wood have been given. Winnie, and other characters such as Piglet, aren’t actual animals but rather people in masks representing the characters. Of course, the masks themselves are a lot less cutesy and a lot more grotesque to fit with the darker tone of this slasher reimagining of the children’s stories.
The film is being produced by London-based Jagged Edge Productions, which also made The Curse of Humpty Dumpty and The Legend of Jack and Jill. It seems that taking childhood tales and repurposing them into horror is somewhat of a theme for them.
The reaction online to the upcoming film has been very mixed, with some praising such a creative reimaging and others saying it’s going to ruin their childhood. As bizarre as casting Winnie the Pooh as a serial killer may seem, many horror films use children’s media to scare audiences. The hit movie The Babadook used a children’s book and turned it into something truly terrifying. Then, of course, toys can become creepy characters, such as Chucky from Child’s Play and the doll in Annabelle. Maybe Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is just the next film in-line for making adults scared of something innocent from their childhood.
How come Winnie the Pooh can be used by another director?
Normally, you cannot legally use a character from another writer or director, as this would breach copyright laws. However, 70 years after the publication date, their characters and creations can be used freely as they enter the public domain. As the book Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne was published in 1926, the copyright expired at the beginning of this year. This means that Winnie and all the other characters have entered the public domain and are available to be interpreted into any creative work by anyone. Up until now, the rights to Winnie the Pooh were held exclusively under Disney licensing, but since the original book and its characters have entered the public domain, this no longer stands. That means Rhys Frake-Waterfield is free to make Winnie the Pooh into the star of his new slasher film.
Whether there needs to be a horror reimaging of Winnie the Pooh or not, the bold and bizarre premise of the film is probably enough to get people watching just out of curiosity. But like any film which takes something from childhood and rebrands it as horror, prepare for your childhood memories of A. A. Milne’s cuddly yellow bear to turn into nightmare fuel.