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R-Rated ‘Winnie the Pooh’ Movie Looks Terrifying, and Yet, I’m Intrigued

I wouldn't be caught dead (or alive) in this Hundred Acre Wood.

Large person wearing flannel in a Winnie the Pooh inspired mask. Image: Jagged Edge Productions

Last night, news broke that the next Winnie the Pooh is on the way, but this time, he’s out for revenge. Because 95 years had lapsed since the publication of Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, the honey-loving bear entered the public domain on January 1, 2022. Images of the first non-Disney (or Disney sanctioned, in the case of Cold War relations) Pooh movie have emerged now that it’s in post-production. Entitled Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, the film is written and directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield and stars Chris Cordell (Piglet) and Craig David Dowsett (Pooh).

This slasher version, where Pooh is a murderous bear, takes inspiration from Milne’s first novel. The IMDb synopsis reads, “It follows Pooh and Piglet as they go on a rampage after Christopher Robin abandons them.” If you know a person named Christopher Robin, it may be time to cut ties. In an interview with Variety, co-writer Frake-Waterfield explained that this happened after Robin went to college:

Because they’ve had to fend for themselves so much, they’ve essentially become feral. 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.

This image was posted before news broke but was trending because it was definitely on theme. 10/10.

Funny enough, we’ve seen a horror version of a Disney Winnie the Pooh before—just not like this. I’m talking about those remixed trailers on YouTube like ones that made the 2018 Christopher Robin, starring Ewan McGregor, look like a thriller or horror movie. There are plenty of trailers like this imagining “What if?” and Pooh is almost always the villain in these trailers.

Limitations of the story

Illustration to page 3 of Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) by artist E. H. Shepard. Pooh since on a log looking up at the sky. Image: Creative Commons, A. A. Milne
(Creative Commons, A. A. Milne)

Because Disney is very protective of its copyright, anyone seeking to adapt this book must be cautious. Plagiarism Today founder Jonathan Bailey dedicated a whole entry, back in early January, discussing what the story’s public domain status means with some vital specificity. For example, only Milne’s original story is part of the public domain. This means characters, style, and story elements from books two through four cannot be used as freely. Bailey continued,

This means that many of the characters from the series, most notably Tigger, have not lapsed and will not for a few more years. In fact, the image of Pooh wearing a red shirt was not published until 1932, meaning, much like Frankenstein’s monster, those seeking to exploit the public domain work may want to be careful about how they portray him.

Despite these limitations, Frake-Waterfield looks like he’s changing enough and can nod to characters he can’t yet introduce. While it’s fun to imagine and watch these far-out scenarios like Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, I can’t wait to see what animated (including claymation) stories crop up dedicated to the popular children’s book. By about 2024, all four books should be in the public domain, so now would be a great time to start a show, comic, or game.

Winnie the Pooh soul leaving body.
(Square Enix)

(via Bloody Disgusting, featured image: Jagged Edge Productions)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3, Apex Legends, and CS:GO. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)