The original Winnie the Pooh character, created by author A.A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard, officially entered the public domain five months ago, which means anyone can use the character as they see fit.
For director Rhys Frake-Waterfield, that meant turning the stuffed-with-fluff bear who usually makes people feel all warm and fuzzy inside into pure nightmare fuel.
The indie director is currently in the midst of production of his not-so-kid-friendly horror film reimagining, titled Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.
According to the title’s IMDb page, the film follows Pooh and Piglet, who are looking very gritty and like they could have been two of the home invaders in The Strangers. The two stuffed animals are left to fend for themselves after Christopher Robin abandons them to go to college.
“Christopher Robin is pulled away from them, and he’s not [given] them food, it’s made Pooh and Piglet’s life quite difficult,” Frake-Waterfield explained to Variety, noting that there is a scene featuring Eeyore’s tombstone, as the depressed donkey was eaten by his ravenous friends.
“Because they’ve had to fend for themselves so much, they’ve essentially become feral,” Waterfield continued. “So they’ve gone back to their animal roots. They’re no longer tame: they’re like a vicious bear and pig who want to go around and try and find prey.”
The stills promise all the key tropes of B-horror films: a bikini-clad co-ed who likely meets her demise at the hands of Pooh and Piglet, villains donning creepy as hell animal masks, and lots of fog. Like, so much fog.
The good news is, there’s almost no way anyone will accidentally assume this is a children’s movie. Disney still has its version of Winnie copyrighted, which means audiences won’t see the cuddly version of Pooh in a red shirt hunting as a means of survival.
“No one is going to mistake this [for Disney],” Waterfield said to Variety. “When you see the cover for this and you see the trailers and the stills and all that, there’s no way anyone is going to think this is a child’s version of it.”