Why Your Favorite Cuddly Childhood Character Might Be the Next Horror Star

3 minute read

In the new Winnie-the-Pooh horror movie Blood and Honey, in theaters Feb. 15, a murderous Pooh and Piglet are nearly unrecognizable from the cute and cuddly animals many know and love. And your other favorite childhood characters might be next to take a terrifying turn on screen.

Blood and Honey sees deranged versions of Pooh (Craig David Dowsett) and Piglet (Chris Cordell) take bloodthirsty vengeance on humanity in retribution for Christopher Robin (Nikolai Leon) leaving the creatures of the Hundred Acre Wood to fend for themselves when he goes off to college. The microbudget slasher, reportedly made for under $100,000, is set five years after Christopher Robin’s departure and opens with him returning to the woods with his wife Mary (Paula Coiz) to introduce her to his old friends. But in the wake of having to kill and eat Eeyore to stay alive, Pooh and Piglet aren’t so welcoming anymore.

“Because they’ve had to fend for themselves so much, they’ve essentially become feral,” writer-director Rhys Frake-Waterfield (The Area 51 Incident, Firenado) told Variety. “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.”

Blood and Honey is the product of British author A.A. Milne’s 1926 book Winnie-the-Pooh entering the public domain on Jan. 1, 2022. This opened Milne’s classic story, and E.H. Shepard’s accompanying illustrations, up to new adaptations, while Disney continues to own the rights to the animated cartoon versions of Pooh and friends that have appeared in TV shows and movies over the year.

Read more: How the New Winnie-the-Pooh Horror Movie Blood and Honey Came to Exist

Production on Blood and Honey began early last year and, according to Frake-Waterfield, is intended to be the launchpad for his own universe of horror movies based on beloved children’s characters. Not only is there a Blood and Honey sequel already in the works, but Frake is also developing Peter Pan and Bambi installments. Dubbed Peter Pan’s Neverland Nightmare and Bambi: The Reckoning, the two movies are based on J.M. Barrie and Felix Salten’s respective original stories, with Frake-Waterfield saying that his version of Peter Pan would feature a Tinker Bell who is “heavily obese and recovering from drugs.”

“The idea is that we’re going to try and imagine they’re all in the same world, so we can have crossovers,” the filmmaker told The Hollywood Reporter. “People have been messaging saying they really want to see Bambi versus Pooh.”

With all this in mind, Disney enthusiasts may be nervous about the fact that Steamboat Willie, the 1928 cartoon short that made Mickey Mouse famous, enters the public domain next year. But Frake-Waterfield has said that he would be hesitant about turning the House of Mouse’s namesake character into a rampaging killer.

“I’m still very on edge about that,” he told Yahoo! Entertainment. “I have a feeling that laws can change, and he’s already been extended multiple times in the past. There’s also a big, big risk factor because he’s very tied in with Disney so they may get more litigious.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com