We might be experiencing the beginning of a disturbing cinematic trend that could ruin the childhoods of several generations by recreating cherished public domain works into terrifying horror films. Just months after the announcement of the upcoming horror-thriller film Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey — where fan favorites Pooh and Piglet turn into ruthless murderers — another classic animated character is set to receive the horror treatment. This time it’s the titular beloved deer from the 1923 Austrian novel Bambi, a Life in the Woods, whose story will be getting a sadistic twist in the upcoming horror project. The film is reportedly moving forward under the working title Bambi: The Reckoning.
Rhys Frake-Waterfield, the filmmaker behind Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey, recently announced that he is developing a dark take on Peter Pan, titled Peter Pan: Neverland Nightmare. Similar to Pooh and Peter, it appears that Bambi enters the public domain, and can now be used in a variety of odd ways that the original creators never intended. Now, Bambi is set to have a horror reimagining, which will be executive produced by Frake-Waterfield, with Scott Jeffrey at the helm. Jeffrey revealed via Dread Central that the film will surely be an interesting version of the classic tale, saying: “The film will be an incredibly dark retelling of the story we all know and love. Finding inspiration from the design used in Netflix’s The Ritual, Bambi will be a vicious killing machine that lurks in the wilderness. Prepare for Bambi on rabies!”
Despite being one of the saddest animated films ever produced, the 1942 movie captured the hearts of audiences, making it one of the greatest Disney classics. This is especially true given that the plot of the movie centers on Bambi discovering his identity and his place in the world. Fortunately, even though the original 1923 version of Bambi has been in the public domain since 2016, Jeffrey is not permitted to use any of the beloved Disney elements that have delighted children for decades, including Bambi’s distinct character prototype. It is therefore impossible to predict how the deer will appear in the upcoming horror project.
When it comes to transforming Bambi into a beast, Jeffrey mentions the 2017 horror film The Ritual as his primary visual inspiration. If you’ve watched the David Bruckner-directed film, you’ll know it’s not quite the cute and lovable concept Bambi is known for. The director has helmed various lackluster horror films with interesting premises, including The Bad Nun, Awakening The Nun, The Curse of Humpty Dumpty, and Cannibal Troll. While most of these films have been widely panned, Jeffrey does have experience putting a terrifying twist on classic tales.
There are no plot details available yet, but the upcoming film is sure to be a blood-filled and childhood-ruining one. Stay tuned to Collider for more updates.