|Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey|
|Directed by||Rhys Frake-Waterfield|
|Screenplay by||Rhys Frake-Waterfield|
by A. A. Milne
|Music by||Andrew Scott Bell|
Jagged Edge Productions
|Distributed by||ITN Studios|
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is an upcoming independent slasher film directed and written by Rhys Frake-Waterfield. The film serves as a horror retelling of A. A. Milne's 1926 book Winnie-the-Pooh, and follows the anthropomorphic characters Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet as they become bloodthirsty murderers when Christopher Robin abandons them for college. Development for the film began when the original book became a public domain work in the United States in January 2022, resulting in The Walt Disney Company no longer holding exclusive film rights to the characters first depicted in the book.
Upon its announcement, the film was met with mixed reactions and drew widespread attention due to its concept involving a character that had garnered a reputation for being a "beloved childhood icon". The film is produced by Jagged Edge Productions and distributed by ITN Studios.
During his childhood, Christopher Robin befriended Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, and their friends, playing games and also providing them with food. As he grew, these visits grew more infrequent, as did the food supply, causing Pooh and the others to grow increasingly hungry and desperate. When Christopher went to college, the visits stopped completely, causing them to become completely feral and unhinged, resulting in Eeyore getting killed at some point. Now, Christopher has returned to the forest alongside his new wife, hoping to introduce her to his old friends. This causes them to go on a murderous rampage for human flesh as they antagonize a group of university girls who are occupying a rural cabin.
The cast list includes:
On May 26, 2022, Ryan Leston of IGN reported the announcement of a Winnie-the-Pooh-based horror film adaptation. The characters' rights had been owned by The Walt Disney Company since 1966 and, while Disney retains exclusive rights to the depictions of these characters from their 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, as well as later characters such as Tigger, Winnie-the-Pooh went into public domain in January 2022. After the copyright lapsed, Rhys Frake-Waterfield began production on Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey the same year, with the film marking his directorial debut.
Speaking to Variety, Frake-Waterfield described the plot as both Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet turn into homicidal maniacs after Christopher Robin left them for college. He stated:
Christopher Robin is pulled away from them, and he’s not [given] them food, it’s made Pooh and Piglet's life quite difficult... 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.
He also revealed that, prior to the events of the film, Pooh and Piglet ate Eeyore alive due to their hunger; Eeyore's tombstone will be shown in one scene.
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, which was shot in England, was filmed over a period of ten days. Jagged Edge Productions produced the film in collaboration with ITN Studios, who distributed it. In order to avoid copyright issues, Frake-Waterfield was careful to avoid Pooh's red shirt, and any other elements from Disney's depictions that could pose a copyright issue.
The film's first poster was released on July 14, 2022.
After the film's announcement, Salon writer Kelly McClure wrote the film is "a perfect example of the wrong that could come from a creative work slipping into public domain." She continued, calling the film a "horrific take" on Winnie-the-Pooh, also stating "you've got the makings of a dark and twisted cult classic." Jon Mendelsohn, writing for Collider, called the film images "nightmare fuel" and the concept "extremely bizarre" while noting "the internet is freaking out." Rotem Rusak, writing for Nerdist, wrote, "Seeing the iconic bear reimagined as a nightmarish slasher monster speaks to a delightfully imaginative spirit that really inspires us." Justin Carter of Gizmodo wrote:
"The appeal of Blood & Honey will depend entirely on if you're willing to meet the movie halfway on its premise, and aren't immediately turned off by the idea of children's characters being turned into murderers or having some dark, edgy backstory. The internet was filled with that sort of thing just a decade or so ago, and this feels like it’s very much pulling from that same cloth."
Katarina Feder of Artnet wrote, "...you can’t buy publicity like the kind they've had and something tells me that this indie passion project will find its funding, bringing to life the director's unique ideas about murdering women in bikinis."
In June 2022, Frake-Waterfield expressed an interest in creating a sequel and wants to "ramp it up even more and go even crazier and go even more extreme."