Remember that embarrassing Winnie the Pooh horror movie that got a lot of press solely due to its own existence? It was only possible because the characters from AA Milne’s original Pooh book had fallen into public domain as of January 1 of this year. Now the creator of that film, Scott Jeffrey, knows what his next project is: a BAMBI horror movie.
Is Bambi public domain? The answer is yes. It didn’t get quite as much press as Pooh, but Bambi’s copyright lapsed on the same day. Disney didn’t invent Bambi, the deer came from a 1920s novel called Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten. The book differs from the movie in a lot of ways, but the dead mother is still part of it, which is enough. As long as nothing Disney created for their own version is used, Jeffrey is once again on safe legal ground.
We can guess for ourselves what this proposed movie would be like, but Jeffrey is eager to tell us anyway: “The film will be an incredibly dark retelling of the 1928 story we all know and love,” he’s quoted as saying to the website Dread Central. “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!”
Um….rabies isn’t a drug, Jeffrey, you can’t be “on” rabies. …I don’t think he cares.
Bambi: The Reckoning will be directed by Jeffrey and executive produced by Rhys Frake-Waterfield, who also directed Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey. Waterfield has his own separate ideas too, like a different horror movie with Peter Pan as the antagonist. Pan has been public domain for over 30 years in the US; in England he is the permanent property of a children’s hospital Barrie donated the rights to.
Where this will stop, nobody knows. Mickey Mouse, or at least the earliest version of him, becomes public domain January 1, 2024. You’ve been warned.