The first official trailer of the forthcoming slasher film Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey has been released, turning the usual animated cuddly bear into a murderous hunter.
It was first announced in May – to mixed fan reactions – that the beloved childhood character would receive a sinister makeover from director Rhys Waterfield.
In the newest trailer, Christopher Robin (Nikolai Leon) can be seen returning to the 100 Acre Woods to reunite with his “friends” Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore.
However, after having “been abandoned” they “ have turned wild” and are now on the prowl.
Scenes cut between an eerie message written in blood on a cabin window warning a group of girls to “get out”, Pooh hitting a girl in the head with a sledgehammer, and blood streaming down another girl’s face.
“We used to be friends, why are you doing this?” Christopher Robin asks. “I would have never left I swear.”
Pooh Bear, created by AA Milne, entered the public domain earlier this year on 1 January when the copyright on the book, initially issued in 1926, expired.
This means that the character is available for use without permission of the author’s estate and can be interpreted in any creative work, such as movies, musicals and plays.
Previously, the rights to Winnie the Pooh were held exclusively under Disney licensing, which gave the character a red T-shirt and is the version recognisable to most.
According to Jennifer Jenkins, director of the Centre for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University, the rights to the Winnie the Pooh stories and characters after 1926 still belong to Disney.
The character of Tigger will not feature in the film, as he wasn’t introduced until 1928 so remains under Disney copyright.
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey will release on DVD and VOD worldwide soon. An exact date is TBA.