Winnie the Pooh entered public domain on Jan. 1 this year and promptly was demonized and turned into a serial killer on a murderous rampage. As Rolling Stone put it, “get ready for your childhood to be mass-murdered.”
The horror film “Blood and Honey” transforms a beloved childhood classic into “a classless gore-fest,” The Guardian stated.
How did Winnie the Pooh and Piglet become mass murderers?
Rhys Waterfield, director of the film, did an interview with Variety where he revealed the premise of the film: “Christopher Robin is pulled away from them, and he’s not (given) them food, it’s made Pooh and Piglet’s life quite difficult.”
This, he said, led Pooh and Piglet to go on a murderous rampage because they became feral after having to fend for themselves. Waterfield indicated, “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.”
Has turning beloved childhood characters into mass murderers happened before?
Jagged Edge Productions — the company that produced “Blood and Honey — has a history of turning classic childhood tales into serial killer narratives. Their “The Legend of Jack and Jill” turns the classic nursery rhyme into a story of Jack and Jill killing a grieving group of friends. Humpty Dumpty didn’t escape this sadistic style of adaptation either.
Historically, adaptations have gone in the other direction. It’s an open secret that many of Grimm’s fairytales, which were adapted into Disney classics, were twisted and horrific. The original Grimm fairytale of Cinderella, for instance, is less a princess story and more a story riddled with torturous punishment. But Disney adapted the tale to be less, and not more, horrific.
Does ‘Blood and Honey’ have other pitfalls?
Hypersexualization of women
After watching the trailer of “Blood and Honey,” it’s clear that the film is going the more horrific route, but it also has other pitfalls. The Representation Project lists “10 Media Tropes That Just Need to Die Already.” One of the tropes is “The Sexy Corpse.” Depicting scantily-clad women on the brink of death is an all too common example of hypersexualization of women.
Even in the trailer, it’s apparent that the film makes abundant use of this problematic, misogynistic trope.
The American Journal of Psychiatry published an article that discusses the impact of sexualizing women on social media on adolescent girls. The authors concluded that the sexualization of girls on social media leads to negative effects like “unrealistic expectations about sexuality and reductionist beliefs of women as sexual objects.”
Excessive violence on screen
The film also is slated to depict lots of violence on screen. The trailer itself can only be viewed by individuals who verify that they are above the age of 17. In a study available through the National Library of Medicine, L. Rowell Huesmann examined a half-century’s worth of research of the impact on watching violence on screen on human behavior.
Huesmann concluded, “In summary, exposure to electronic media violence increases the risk of children and adults behaving aggressively in the short-run and of children behaving aggressively in the long-run. It increases the risk significantly, and it increases it as much as many other factors that are considered public health threats.”
Depicting violence on screen is not a choice absent of moral consequences. Ancient Greeks had all violence “occur” off-stage so that the audience knew that violence had taken place in the plot, but it was not actually depicted. It’s worth considering, like Laura Swift wrote for The Conversation, “But do we really need to see graphic depictions of violence in order to reflect upon the darker side of human nature?”