Childhood Characters Turned... Murderous
The Nostalgic Turned Horrific
It is hard to imagine our childhoods without our favorite fictional characters. The genuine figures we looked forward to watching on television or reading about shaped our morals and became our friends. We vividly remember our time in the Hundred Acre Woods or our ventures under the sea becoming the first glimpse of escapism, captivating us with their magical stories.
Ah, a nod to a simpler time. However, as we grow older, we learn that sometimes those colorful childhood characters are not always full of rainbows and honey but much darker and bleak narratives. Our most beloved childhood stories are based on the works of the Grimm Brothers and their collection of tales called Fairy tales From the Brothers Grimm. Disney would adapt them into more kid-friendly versions – the ones we’re used to. The original work is often set in tragedy and violence, teaching us lessons like scaring us away from the woods or strangers.
There is still beauty in the tragedy of these tales in their original form. The vivid, rich fantasy worlds the Grimm Brothers created offered Disney a platform to reinvent them. Instead of showing us Cinderella’s stepsisters cutting off part of their feet to fit into her slippers, they leaned into character growth, offering a ‘happily ever after’ structure that allows children to absorb moral lessons without subjecting them to adult realities and themes .
The aim is to teach our kids right from wrong, removing the dark and horrific narratives those fairy tales are based on. However, as more and more of these stories enter the public domain, a new trend is emerging in Hollywood. Straying away from the cute and gearing more towards the sinister, taking that whitewashed childhood character and transforming them into a murderous variant.
After all, the original work is remarkably similar to a slasher, and moviegoers have always loved horror — ironically, we hate the feeling of being scared yet crave the thrill of it. Fans of the genre love to experience the uncanny, grotesque, anxious, and uneasy moments. So, we enter unfamiliar territory when filmmakers reinvent children’s stories into campy twisted films.
In honor of Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey slashing its way to the big screen, we are diving into the new trend of childhood characters turning murderous.
Childhood Characters Turned Murderous
In 1996 the serial killer thriller Freeway would give us a modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Featuring “soon-to-be superstar Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland as the “Big Bad Wolf,” the film became a cult classic . This would set off the modern trend of fairytales being adapted into horror. Below is a list of children’s stories that were adapted into horror films:
- Deadtime Stories (1986) - Embracing the darker side of classic children’s tales, the series explores the twisted elements of these stories in an anthology-style format.
- Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996) - A slasher film that took influence from Child’s Play, has Pinocchio terrorizing a family. The film would slowly be forgotten by the public and was not seen as a success.
- Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997) - Follows the classic Disney tale but adds a gothic setting, brutal murders, and horrific realism.
- Cinderella (2006) - This South Korean film retells the classic Cinderella. The film strays away from the source material, creating a ghost story that breaks a lot of molds while still portraying an orphan girl with a glass slipper.
- Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) - Influenced by fairy tales, Guillermo del Toro’s OscarⓇ-winning film takes us on a lucid journey as Ofelia is taken on a quest by the Faun as she tries to protect her sickly, pregnant mother from her cruel stepfather. The story weaves an eerie fantasy world with a bleak reality as Ofelia becomes who she was destined to be.
- Coraline (2009) - Adapted from the 2002 novel by Neil Gaiman, which was directed toward children, the film deals with terrifying subjects and has been called one of the creepiest children's movies of all time. The film was directed by Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach).
- The Lure (2015) - Based on the original story of The Little Mermaid, which is significantly darker than the Disney version, The Lure is a Polish film set in the ‘80s and follows the story of mermaids joining a cabaret band. The film weaves in elements of gothic horror as one mermaid sister falls in love with a human while the other wants to eat them.
- Tale of Tales (2015) - An adaptation of Italian fables that include Cinderella and Rapunzel. The film is a fantasy-horror movie that deals with themes of obsession, lust, and generational differences.
- The Mean One (2022) - A reimagined version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, only this time the green figure is more bloodthirsty. The Grinch is played by the Terrifier (2016) clown, Art actor (David Howard Thorton).
- Bambi: The Reckoning (TBD) - According to director Scott Jeffrey, the film “will be an incredibly dark retelling of the 1928 story we all know and love” , setting Bambi up to be a vicious killing machine.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey11. Based on the 1926 children’s book by A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey turns the Hundred Acre Wood into the sight of a murderous rampage. Pooh and Piglet are the culprits of this slasher spree after they are abandoned by Christopher Robin.
Directed and written by Rhys Frake-Waterfield, the film is the first live-action movie about Winnie-the-Pooh not made by Disney due to its intellectual property entering the public domain in 2021. Following the classic slasher tropes, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey is shaping out to be a campy, honey-fueled horror film.
The new Hollywood trend of reimagining fairytales and children’s stories has captivated audiences and created a new subgenre of horror. With multiple new films slated for the next few years, it is safe to say we will be seeing more murderous Poohs and rabies-infected Bambis.
Join us in theaters nationwide starting February 15th for the theatrical debut of Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey. After all, Valentine's Day is for love, and February 15th is for murder.
Visit our event page for more information about Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey or our other events.