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  • Writer's pictureClarion Staff

(Don’t) Keep Them Coming: Disney Horror Films Massacre Beloved Characters

By Chris Fetros & Kianna Nakaoka, Clarion Staff reporters

On January 1, 2024, Walt Disney's Peter Pan and Steamboat Willie, an early version of Mickey Mouse, entered the public domain. These characters follow in the footsteps of Bambi and Winnie the Pooh who became public domain on the same date two years prior.

But that’s not the only thing these beloved childhood characters have in common. Since their loss of copyright protection horror movies have been made, or planned, for each of these iconic characters. 

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, a horror film written and directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield, was created back in 2023, with a sequel that will be released in a mere few weeks.

The movie poster for the original Blood and Honey film.

Steamboat Willie, Bambi, and Peter Pan all have at least one horror movie in production – or in Steamboat Willie’s case, three – that are set to be released in 2024 and beyond. 

Movie poster for Mickey’s Mousetrap, the first of 3 planned movies featuring Steamboat Willie.

The only released horror movie of these iconic characters, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey was atrocious. Besides a barely explored backstory there is no connection between the beloved Pooh and his friends with this movie.

In the movie, Pooh and Piglet act nothing like the originals and can easily be replaced by any arbitrary man in a mask. So why are more being made, which most likely will suffer the same issues?

Cover of the original Winnie the Pooh, creating a sharp contrast between the recent film works of Rhys Drake-Waterfield.

One important thing to note here is that the adaptations of these movies cannot be based on the Disney franchises, as those are still under private domain. Instead, the original works each is based on is what has entered the public domain, and as such what is available to filmmakers and others. This means that while the characters are free to use, anything original to the Disney adaptations is under copyright and illegal to use.

Frake-Waterfield stated in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment that he had to scrap the original script to avoid trouble arising due to this issue. However this does not excuse the lack of character present in the film.

There are twelve on-screen kills, all of which are lackluster and fail to utilize the characteristics of Pooh and Piglet. Speaking of which, despite having an opening scene teasing all of the characters, only those two appear, as well as Eeyore’s tail, with Eeyore supposedly having been eaten by the others. However, both Tigger and Owl are set to make an appearance in the sequel, aptly named Blood and Honey 2, which is set for release on March 26, 2024. 

Promotion image for Blood and Honey 2 showing Owl and Piglet.

Despite the characterless portrayals, there is a plan to make an entire Cinematic Universe of these “Disney” horror characters. However, if trends continue, this will inevitably fail, as the original was panned by audiences and critics alike. Blood and Honey had a Rotten Tomato rating of three percent with ratings wishing “the Supreme Court would repeal its public domain copyright laws'' and saying “they should have been paid to watch it.”

Despite these poor reviews, Blood and Honey garnered 5.2 million dollars at the box office with a mere $100,000 budget.

Had the movie not been so publicized by news sources, Blood and Honey probably would not have made any money. If these kinds of movies are continued to be made, the media attention will diminish and none of these films will actually break even.

One was enough, but nine more is just ridiculous.

Upcoming "Disney" Movies:
  • Winnie the Pooh

  • Blood and Honey - 2023

  • Blood and Honey 2 - March 26, 2024

  • Steamboat Willie

  • Mickey’s Mouse Trap - March, 2024

  • Untitled - Unknown

  • The Return of Steamboat Willie - unknown

  • Bambi

  • Bambi: The Reckoning - 2024

  • Peter Pan

  • Peter Pan’s Neverland Nightmare - varying reported release dates

  • Cinderella

  • Cinderella’s Curse

  • Pinocchio

  • Pinocchio Unstrung

  • Sleeping Beauty

  • Awakening: Sleeping Beauty

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