Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey Director On Turning Beloved Childhood Characters Into Bloodthirsty Monsters

Elevated horror is so 2018. Now, in 2023, we’re in a time of “bonkers” horror, one which began with 2021’s Malignant and continued with 2022’s Barbarian, Terrifier 2, and kicked off 2023 with M3GAN. Still, none of these movies might maintain a candle to the upcoming Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. Yes, that is proper, your favourite snuggly teddy bear, your cherished childhood reminiscence, is popping right into a bloodthirsty killer.

Directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey asks the query of what occurs when Christopher Robin outgrows his imaginary stuffed buddies. And in contrast to Disney’s Christopher Robin movie starring Ewan McGregor, Blood and Honey reveals the reply to be moderately violent. We spoke with Frake-Waterfield about his soon-to-be basic/abomination (relying on how connected you’re to Winnie the Pooh and his buddies). He informed us what this film is about, who this film is for, and among the bother he has confronted with “destroying” individuals’s notion of their favourite childhood reminiscence.

GameSpot: First of all, what’s Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey about?

Rhys Frake-Waterfield:

The common theme of the movie is about abandonment. It’s centered on Christopher Robin having this relationship and this friendship with Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and the opposite creatures when he was youthful. As he grew up, he was nurturing them. He was virtually treating them like a pet.

When he was 15 or 16, he wanted to maneuver away to go to school. And then, when he went to school, it resulted in his buddies having a lack of meals. They wanted to fend for themselves extra. Then, winter got here and so they had to return to their animalistic instincts to be able to survive. The consequence of that, when meals was getting low, was they needed to eat their good friend, Eeyore. Yeah, so Eeyore will get eaten. Their thoughts warps as a result of they had been so used to being family pets, that going into the wild, it could dramatically change their mentality. And that is what’s occurred with Pooh and buddies.

They now have this warped hatred, notably for all of humanity, and for Christopher Robin. They’re feral and so they’re out for blood. And they’ve eaten individuals.

Christopher Robin comes again, which is the place we quick ahead to within the film. He spots them and so they go into this rage after seeing him. And throughout this, their rampage impacts a gaggle of ladies who’re happening a rural retreat. It’s a little bit of a cabin-in-the-woods form of vibe the place they’ve gone there to flee actuality, the busy lifetime of town, and simply have a pleasant chilled weekend. But then, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet are on a rampage close to them, and so they get caught up within the onslaught which follows. And you get individuals having their heads smacked with sledgehammers. They get their heads run over with vehicles. Some individuals get chloroformed, knives stabbing them within the throat… a great deal of stuff.

Wow. Knowing that Winnie the Pooh was arising on changing into public area, did you begin on the movie earlier than that? Or did you not begin engaged on this till after it was already within the public area, and then you definately had been dashing to get it up?

Rhys Frake-Waterfield:

It was afterwards. We can produce and get tasks transferring actually quick. And when it received to about February, I feel it was, we realized that the idea was out there, it was within the public area, so we may make a film out of this if we wished to. And immediately, my eyes sparkled on the considered it.

You’ve received quite a lot of typical horror villains, the place you’ve got received werewolves, vampires, zombies, blah, blah, blah… And I assumed, there’s one thing tremendous distinctive and tremendous attention-grabbing with this, the place you’re twisting a personality which was all the time deemed as being lovable and small and cute into this monstrosity. And, at the least afterwards, everybody has began to see the identical form of factor I used to be imagining proper on the start–that it is simply actually unusual imagery.

It’s actually foolish and enjoyable. And additionally it piques lots of people’s pursuits. Because you are like, “How has he become a monster?” Because it’s hard to initially imagine. So yeah, the idea came to us about February. Immediately we were like, “Hey, let’s begin going with it.” And I started looking up costumes, how he could look, how the story could go, locations. I was saying, “Where can I get this based mostly?” And I started just going full steam ahead with it, putting all the pieces together, started writing the script, and then directed it about a month and a half after the initial idea of the inception. So, it was quite fast we moved.

And then, once it was filmed, about two months after, it just started going absolutely viral. And some of the stills got shared, particularly one where you’ve got this girl enjoying her time in the jacuzzi. She’s having a lovely time. And then behind her, you see Pooh and Piglet creeping up on her from the darkness. And yeah, it’s just so strange. It’s so weird to see a massive Winnie the Pooh with a huge stomach, his little ears, with chloroform in his hands.

Is this going to traumatize people who grew up with Winnie the Pooh? Because my husband is a huge Winnie the Pooh fan. And when I told him about this, he’s like, “Yeah, I’m not seeing that film. I do not care what it’s a must to do. I’m not seeing that film.”

Rhys Frake-Waterfield:

There’s two camps of people with this film. You’ve got 50% who love it. They’re like, “This is one of the best factor. It’s such a singular concept. The idea’s superb.” They’re super, super excited for it. But then, you’ve got another 50% of people who I am the devil to. They think I’m pure evil–I’m destroying [the] lives of children, and yeah, I should be put in jail. We’ve literally had petitions getting made in the UK to stop it. We’ve had death threats. We’ve had someone saying they’re going to call the police on us. It’s been mad how controversial this is. And that’s still coming out now as the film’s releasing. You’ve got 50% [on] one side, 50% [on] the other side.

Well, that’s the response we want with people. There’s two versions of Winnie the Pooh. There’s the Disney version, which is the cute, lovable one. That’s the one kids should watch. And if people want to have that cemented as their view of Winnie the Pooh, then they can stick to that. They don’t need to watch the film, our version.

Our version, it’s completely optional. This is targeted towards a more horror audience. And for people who don’t want to take it too seriously. It’s a bit satire-y. And it’s a bit fun and silly. But watching it is completely your choice.

You said that it’s satire. So, it’s okay if we laugh at it?

Rhys Frake-Waterfield:

Yeah. That’s exactly what I want.

I was trying to put my mind [into] how a buyer would be thinking. When you’re in a cinema and you put money out, and you’re picking up a ticket for Winnie the Pooh as a horror movie, what are you thinking? What do you want to see? And my mind was thinking, if I paid for this, I’d want it to be fun and I’d want it to be silly. I wouldn’t want it to be just a deadly serious film. I’d 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 play into it. I didn’t want them to find it funny that they were running away from Winnie the Pooh, and for it to come across as a B-movie. I wanted them to actually believe it’s really, really scary.

And the humor and the silliness comes in from the fact it’s Winnie the Pooh doing something. Like he’s holding a knife [and] running after someone. That’s what makes it look a bit goofy and a bit fun. So yeah, I want people to laugh in the cinema. You’re supposed to go there to have a good time–be entertained, laugh, have fun. Not every horror film needs to have a deep metaphorical undertone and be really grounded and elevated horror. There can be these silly fun experiences, too.

I noticed on your credits list you have Peter Pan and Bambi horror films coming up. Is this a new niche that you found for yourself?

Rhys Frake-Waterfield:

Yeah, I’m cementing in a bit of a world here, where I really want to do loads of retellings. Because I’ve always had this view that I’m just getting quite bored with some of the typical villains out there–the ghosts and the werewolves and the vampires. I like watching them, but I know what I’m about to watch, basically. And it’s hard for them to be innovative or different. They become very formulaic. But these retellings and these new characters, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know what lore is going to be built up around them. You don’t know what their differing characteristics are. And it doesn’t have to just be limited to Winnie. There are many other characters out there. And they’re not just the Disney ones. Bambi, I think, is amazing for it. Because everyone’s like, “Bambi’s going to be a monster?” And it has that same effect of, “What the hell?” And their interest piques. And yeah, Peter Pan’s another one.

But there are so many other ideas out there. There’s so [much folklore]. The Tooth Fairy could be really interesting, for example, because that’s so synonymous with childhood, but it’s creepy. It’s about someone creeping into a kid’s bedroom and taking something under their pillow. It’s got this darker tone to it. So, there are stories and ideas like that, which I can integrate into this. And I want to make a bit of a universe surrounding retellings, where we’ve taken all these nostalgic characters and legends, which we’ve all heard of, so they have that marketability, and then twisting them and altering them into a horror landscape.

So, it’s going to be the horror fairytale universe.

Rhys Frake-Waterfield:

Yeah, exactly. Like Marvel’s [Cinematic] Universe. But my low-resource one, at the moment. But we’re starting to get more money and more budget behind some of these now. Because people are seeing the potential in it. I’m hoping I’ll be able to make some really, really cool ones in the future.

Winnie the Pooh: Blood & Honey is in theaters on February fifteenth.

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