There is something fundamentally different about the latest film aboutchildren’s character Winnie the Pooh: this time his honey jar is filled withthe 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 tosay about that.
By Esther Villerius
Until a few years ago, the specter that director Rhys Frake-Waterfield nowportrays of Pooh was impossible. A large company such as Disney has strictcopyright rules. That means that not everyone can just make productions withthe popular Disney characters.
So Frake-Waterfield does, and how: in Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey wesee a Winnie à la Leatherface in Chain Saw Massacre. The bloodthirsty andhaggard Winnie the Pooh and Piglet in the film are out for revenge on theirfriend Christoffer Robinson, who abandoned them.
There are plenty of killings and scenes where it’s not clear whether Pooh’smouth 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 andillustrator Ernest Shepard. Disney bought the bear’s exclusive licensingrights some forty years later. So Winnie the Pooh has been copyrighted fordecades. But these rights have expired since the beginning of this year.
United States copyright law dictates that a work may be held for ‘only’ abouta hundred years before it becomes part of the public domain again. The popularteddy 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. Disneystill owns the rights to its own version of Winnie the Pooh, as most peopleknow the bear.
That is the version with the yellow bearskin and the red T-shirt, which wasonly created in 1966. Any remakes should therefore not be too similar to theDisney 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 from1926. The mask has kept the honey yellow color, but there is something offbalance. Pooh has aged. He has wrinkles and his facial expression is no longersmiley, but dead.
Piglet isn’t doing too well either: the previously shy piglet is now clubbingsomeone in the pool with a sledgehammer. He looks a lot more terrifying with afew 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 alsoexpire on January 1, 2024.
Piglet helps Winnie the Pooh kill people in revenge.
Disney can and will not say anything
Disney does not want to go too deeply into questions from NU.nl about thestriking developments surrounding Pooh. “The rights of Winnie the Pooh arefree. We wish the distributor good luck with the release.” The film studioalso emphasizes that it is not a Disney film.
The greedy and somewhat silly bear can now take on all kinds of forms. “Wehave a lot of quirky ideas,” Frake-Waterfield tells Dread Central. “Thereare other characters in this universe, but I can’t touch them. I don’t want tostep on anyone’s toes either. I’ve tried to stay as far away from the Disneyside as possible. And I hope, because I I’ve done a good job, I can now make a