There is something fundamentally different about the latest film about children’s character Winnie the Pooh: this time his honey jar is filled with the blood of his victims. the horror movie Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey is certainly not intended for minors. And Disney really has nothing more to say about that.By Esther Villerius
Until a few years ago, the specter that director Rhys Frake-Waterfield now portrays of Pooh was impossible. A large company such as Disney has strict copyright rules. That means that not everyone can just make productions with the popular Disney characters.
So Frake-Waterfield does, and how: in Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey we see a Winnie à la Leatherface in Chain Saw Massacre. The bloodthirsty and haggard Winnie the Pooh and Piglet in the film are out for revenge on their friend Christoffer Robinson, who abandoned them.
There are plenty of killings and scenes where it’s not clear whether Pooh’s mouth is dripping with honey or with bodily fluids. How did it get this far?
The popular teddy bear is public property
Winnie the Pooh was conceived in 1926 by author Alan Alexander Milne and illustrator Ernest Shepard. Disney bought the bear’s exclusive licensing rights some forty years later. So Winnie the Pooh has been copyrighted for decades. But these rights have expired since the beginning of this year.
United States copyright law dictates that a work may be held for ‘only’ about a hundred years before it becomes part of the public domain again. The popular teddy bear is now public property.
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Piglet is clubbing people with a sledgehammer
That does not mean that everyone can do everything with the character. Disney still owns the rights to its own version of Winnie the Pooh, as most people know the bear.
That is the version with the yellow bearskin and the red T-shirt, which was only created in 1966. Any remakes should therefore not be too similar to the Disney variant. In Frake-Waterfield’s case, it isn’t either: the lovely, gullible bear is nowhere to be seen.
For his version of Winnie, Frake-Waterfield based himself on the Pooh from 1926. The mask has kept the honey yellow color, but there is something off balance. Pooh has aged. He has wrinkles and his facial expression is no longer smiley, but dead.
Piglet isn’t doing too well either: the previously shy piglet is now clubbing someone in the pool with a sledgehammer. He looks a lot more terrifying with a few extra tusks, but “it’s definitely Pooh and Piglet,” says Frake-Waterfield. Dread Central.
Winnie’s other animal friends, such as Tigger, cannot be seen in this film. Not yet. The copyright rule still applies to characters such as Tigger, because this character was only created later. But his license will also expire on January 1, 2024.
Disney can and will not say anything
Disney does not want to go too deeply into questions from NU.nl about the striking developments surrounding Pooh. “The rights of Winnie the Pooh are free. We wish the distributor good luck with the release.” The film studio also emphasizes that it is not a Disney film.
The greedy and somewhat silly bear can now take on all kinds of forms. “We have a lot of quirky ideas,” Frake-Waterfield tells Dread Central. “There are other characters in this universe, but I can’t touch them. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes either. I’ve tried to stay as far away from the Disney side as possible. And I hope, because I I’ve done a good job, I can now make a sequel.”