Turning Cartoon Icons Into Horror Movie Villains Is A Great Idea

Turning Cartoon Icons Into Horror Movie Villains Is A Great Idea

Steamboat Willie is in the public domain! The classic Disney character is just one of the popular cartoons that slipped out of copyright, allowing filmmakers to do what they want with the character without legal repercussions. That means the likes of Bambi, Peter Pan, Snow White, or Rapunzel can be used outside the walls of Disney. Thus far, some of these icons have been used in a horror setting. A big example is Winnie The Pooh: Blood & Honey.

To be honest, that movie is horrible, but the premise of an iconic kid’s character being used for horror fodder is an excellent one. Winnie The Pooh: Blood & Honey had the potential to be something unique and special. There’s bound to be more of these characters to be turned into horror movie staples in the future and we could be in for quite an unforgettable experience if these films are done right.

Turning A Colorful World Into A Nightmarish Paradise Can Lead To Interesting Stories

Turning Cartoon Icons Into Horror Movie Villains Is A Great Idea

Going back to Winnie The Pooh: Blood & Honey, the best part of the entire film is the opening sequence. The unique storyboard telling of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh nicely set up the story. Plus, it interestingly twisted the mythology. That’s the key to really making these characters work. Unfortunately, the script is the biggest downfall for Blood & Honey, but another big issue was the budget. The film wasn’t allowed to truly turn the magic of Winnie The Pooh into a horrific paradise.

Just like comic book characters have Elseworld stories such as Injustice: Gods Among Us or Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, exploring an alternate world allows filmmakers to tap into the sensibilities of these characters from a different perspective. Injustice: Gods Among Us explores what would happen if Clark Kent turned out to be a horrible dictator; the horrors of such a powerful man ruling the world break the mold of what storytelling should be and challenges DC characters like Batman or Wonder Woman, Superman’s closest allies.

It Can Add Complexity To Characters That Previously Didn’t Have Any

Turning Cartoon Icons Into Horror Movie Villains Is A Great Idea

Most adults and kids have fond memories of Winnie the Pooh or Mickey Mouse, though there’s not particularly a deeper layer within these characters beyond what’s on the surface. At the end of the day, they’re meant for kid’s programming, so telling three-dimensional stories that focus on more than a character’s journey or a silly gag isn’t necessary.

It’s not clear how Steamboat Willie or Peter Pan can work in a horror landscape, but that’s part of the fun. Without diving too much away from their morals and values, it puts a fresh spin on not just these iconic characters, but the world surrounding them. That gives them a layer of complexity that wasn’t there previously. Granted, if these characters pop up in the horror landscape, then it’ll likely be in the vein of Winnie the Pooh: Blood & Honey or The Mean One; simple slashers that mainly care about the guts and gore delivered by these memorable cartoon icons.

However, there are lots of Disney stories with dark layers underneath them. Bambi – which has a live-action horror film coming – tackles the topic of death. The original Peter Pan was about a mischievous boy who killed pirates and lost boys. The original story of Pinocchio from 1883 saw the character get into violent fights, being thrown into a fire as fuel for cooking a hungry puppeteer’s dinner, and even having a gruesome death! The point is that the story doesn’t have to be as simple as stalk and kill; it can bring out the humanity of these characters, even in horrific form.

It Could Slowly Help Disney Focus On The Adult Demographic

Turning Cartoon Icons Into Horror Movie Villains Is A Great Idea

Thus far, the independent versions of these cartoon characters have been a bust particularly due to the lack of budgeting. When Disney purchased the likes of Snow White and dozens of other characters, they heavily toned down some of the original origin stories to suit their target audience – kids. However, Disney has been venturing into the adult demographic as of late, with Deadpool 3 or Echo being touted as the first two original R-rated properties under their brand.

Disney doesn’t have to completely abandon their target demographic, but having an Elseworlds section that allows filmmakers to tell adult stories with these iconic characters can bring back some originality that the brand has been lacking for a while now. Films of this nature at least need a mid-range budget to truly bring out the darkness and magic of these characters for these stories to reach their true potential.

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