Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey director turns beloved childhood characters into bloodthirsty monsters
In 2018 horror soars. Now, in 2023, we’re in the throes of horror, a period that begins with Malignancy in 2021 and continues with Barbarians, Terrorists 2 in 2022 and begins 2023 with M3GAN. However, none of those movies can hold the candle coming Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. Yes, that’s right, your favorite cuddly teddy bear, your cherished childhood memory, is turning into a bloodthirsty killer.
Directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey raises the question of what happens when Christopher Robin grows faster than his imaginary stuffed friends. And unlike Disney’s Christopher Robin starring Ewan McGregor, Blood and Honey shows rather violent answers. We talked to Frake-Waterfield about his soon-to-be classic/disgusting (depending on how attached you are to Winnie the Pooh and his friends). He tells us what this movie is about, who this movie is for, and some of the trouble he’s had with “destroying” people’s perception of their favorite childhood memories.
GameSpot: First of all, what is Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey about?
The overall theme of the film is about abandonment. It focuses on how Christopher Robin had this relationship and this friendship with Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and other creatures when he was a child. As he grew up, he raised them. He almost treats them like a pet.
When he was 15 or 16 years old, he needed to move out for college. And then, when he entered college, his friends lost sleep as a result. They need to protect themselves more. Then winter comes and they have to revert to their bestial instincts to survive. As a result of that, as the food ran out, they had to eat their friend, Eeyore. Yes, so Eeyore gets eaten. Their minds are disturbed because they are so used to being house pets, that going into the wild will change their mentality dramatically. And that’s what happened to Pooh and friends.
Now they have this twisted hatred, especially towards all of humanity and towards Christopher Robin. They are wild and they are bloodthirsty. And they ate people.
Christopher Robin is back, which is where we fast-forward in the movie. He spotted them and they went on a rampage after seeing him. And during this time, their rage affects a group of girls who are on a rural retreat. It’s a bit of a jungle cabin vibe, where they go there to escape reality, the hectic city life, and just to have a relaxing weekend. But then, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet were raging near them, and they were caught up in the ensuing onslaught. And you get people hit in the head with a sledgehammer. They were run over by a car. Some people get chlorinated, have knives in their throats… loads of things.
OH. Knowing that Winnie the Pooh was about to become public domain, did you start making movies before that? Or didn’t you start working on this until it was in the public domain, and then you rushed to get it?
It was after that. We can produce and move projects very quickly. And when it came around February, I think, we realized that the concept was already there, it was in the public domain, so we could make a movie if we wanted to. And immediately, my eyes sparkled thinking about it.
You have a lot of typical horror villains in which you have werewolves, vampires, zombies, blah, blah, blah… And I think, there’s something super unique and super fun. Enjoy this, where you’re turning a character that was always supposed to be lovable, small and cute in the face of this monstrosity. And, at least after that, people started seeing the same thing I had imagined in the first place–that it was just really weird images.
It’s really silly and fun. And it also piqued a lot of people’s interests. Because you’re like, “How did he become a monster?” Because it’s hard to imagine at first. So, yeah, the idea came to us around February. Right away we said, “Hey, let’s get on with it.” And I started looking for the costume, what he might look like, how the story might play out, the location. I said, “Where can I get this based?” And I started doing my best on it, putting all the parts together, starting to write the script, and then directing it about a month and a half after the initial idea of the beginning. So, we I moved pretty fast.
And then, when it was filmed, about two months later, it started going viral. And some stills have been shared, especially the one where you capture this girl enjoying her time in the jacuzzi. She is having a lovely time. And then, behind her, you see Pooh and Piglet crawling on top of her from the shadows. And yes, it’s weird. It was strange to see a massive Winnie the Pooh bear with a huge belly, small ears, and chloroform hand.
Does this hurt those who grew up with Winnie the Pooh? Because my husband is a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh. And when I told him about this, he said, “Yeah, I didn’t see that movie. I don’t care what you do. I didn’t watch that movie.”
There are two camps of people with this movie. You’ve got 50% of people loving it. They said, “This is the coolest thing. It’s a unique idea. This idea is amazing.” They are very, very excited about it. But then you have 50% more people where I am the devil. They think I’m completely evil – I’m destroying [the] children’s lives, and yes, I should be in jail. We literally have petitions launched in the UK to stop it. We had death threats. We had someone say they would call the police for us. It’s crazy that this is controversial. And that’s still happening right now as the movie is released. You already have 50% [on] one side, 50% [on] on the other hand.
Yes, that’s the reaction we want with people. There are two versions of Winnie the Pooh. There is a Disney version, a cute, lovely version. It’s one of those kids should watch. And if people want that to be as solid as their view of Winnie the Pooh, they can stick with it. They don’t need to watch the movie, our version.
In our version, it’s completely optional. This is targeted towards a more horror audience. And for those who don’t want to take it too seriously. It’s a bit sarcastic-y. And that’s a little fun and silly. But watching it is entirely your choice.
You say it’s satire. So it’s okay if we laugh at it?
Yes. That’s exactly what I want.
I tried to put my mind [into] What will the buyer think? When you’re at the movie theater and you’re paying for a ticket to the horror movie Winnie the Pooh, what are you thinking? What do you want to see? And my mind was thinking, if I pay for this, I want it to be fun and I want it to be silly. I don’t want it to be just a deadly serious movie. I want to be able to sit there and just laugh. And it’s very dry humor. I told all the actors and actresses not to get into it. I don’t want them to find it funny to run away from Winnie the Pooh, and make it a B-movie. I want them to really believe it’s really, really scary.
And the humor and goofiness that comes from Winnie the Pooh doing something. It’s like he’s holding a knife [and] run after someone. That’s what makes it look a little goofy and a bit hilarious. So yeah, I want people to laugh in the cinema. You have to go there to have a good time – be entertained, laugh, have fun. Not every horror movie needs to have a deep metaphor and truly grounded and uplifting horror. It’s also possible to have these silly fun experiences.
I noticed in your credits list you have the upcoming Peter Pan and Bambi horror movies. Is this a new niche you found for yourself?
Yeah, I’m consolidating a bit of the world here, where I really want to do loads of retelling. Because I’ve always been of the opinion that I just get pretty bored with some of the typical villains out there – ghosts, werewolves and vampires. I love watching them, but basically, I know what I’m about to watch. And it’s hard for them to innovate or be different. They become very formulaic. But these retellings and these new characters, you don’t know what will happen. You don’t know what lore will be built around them. You don’t know what their different characteristics are. And it’s not just limited to Winnie. There are a lot of other characters out there. And they’re not just Disney’s. Bambi, I think, is great for it. Because everyone was like, “Will Bambi become a monster?” And it has the same effect, “What the hell?” And their interest piqued. And yes, Peter Pan is a different person.
But there are plenty of other ideas out there. As such [much folklore]. Tooth Fairy, for example, can be really fun, because it’s synonymous with childhood, but it’s scary. It’s about someone sneaking into a kid’s bedroom and grabbing something under their pillow. It has a darker tone. So there are stories and ideas like that, which I can incorporate here. And I wanted to create a universe around these retellings, where we used all these nostalgic characters and lore, that we’ve all heard of, to make them capable marketing, then distort them and turn them into a horror scene.
So it will be horror fairy universe.
Yeah exactly. like Marvel’s [Cinematic] universe. But my resources are low, at the moment. But we’re starting to get more money and more budgets for some of these now. Because people are seeing potential in it. I hope I’ll be able to make some really, really great movies in the future.
Winnie the Pooh: Blood & Honey hits theaters on February 15.
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