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Two Mickey Mouse Horror Movies in the Works


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'Untitled Steam Boat Willie Horror Movie.'

‘Untitled Steam Boat Willie Horror Movie.’ Photo: Sleight of Hand Productions / Andrew L. Kern.

Preview:

  • The ‘Steamboat Willie’ version of Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain.
  • Filmmakers are taking advantage of that –– for horror movies.
  • Disney, though, maintains the copyright on more modern incarnations.

As the estate behind A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories can no doubt attest, having your beloved, child-friendly characters enter the public domain is not a lot of fun. Especially as there are filmmakers just waiting for the chance to turn cute, sweet creations into murderous monsters.

Last year’s ‘Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey’ was pretty dreadful, scoring 3% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it earned $4 million from a $100,000 budget (and it really shows), so director Rhys Frake-Waterfield has already worked on a sequel to keep his momentum going.

And now one of Disney’s most iconic creations, Mickey Mouse, is suffering the same fate, turning from an (admittedly weird) cute version into a murder-happy terror.

Steamboat Willie
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What does it mean for characters to enter the public domain?

1928's 'Steamboat Willie.'

1928’s ‘Steamboat Willie.’

Characters such as Winnie the Pooh and, now Mickey Mouse, have a set period of time in which they are the sole copyright of their creators or the company that represents them. The 1928 versions of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and other characters appearing in ‘Steamboat Willie’ became public domain as of this past Monday, which means that anyone can now use them to create new material.

But to be clear, it’s those specific versions –– more current incarnations, such as those with Mickey’s more recognizable pants and gloves, are still controlled by Disney, which plans to defend its rights to the full extent of the law.

Here’s what the company said in a statement:

“We will, of course, continue to protect our rights in the more modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works that remain subject to copyright, and we will work to safeguard against consumer confusion caused by unauthorized uses of Mickey and our other iconic characters.”

So yes, while we’ll see the ‘Steamboat Willie’ Mickey causing chaos on screens, the more up to date one will still be doing his wholesome thing at theme parks and on billions of dollars of merchandise.

Related Article: D23 Expo 2022: Disney Studios Presentation

What’s happening with the ‘Steamboat Willie’ Mickey?

'Mickey’s Mouse Trap.'

‘Mickey’s Mouse Trap.’ Photo: Into Frame Productions.

As of right now, two horror movies (and one horror game) are at different stages.

One is ‘Mickey’s Mouse Trap’, which sees someone sporting a Mickey costume murdering people in a locale that feels very similar to last year’s ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s, with a side of the genre awareness found in movies such as ‘Scream’, with characters discussing tropes.

Directed by Jamie Bailey, the film has a teaser out in the world (see below) and a synopsis: It’s Alex’s 21st birthday, but she’s stuck at the amusement arcade on a late shift so her friends decide to surprise her, but a masked killer dressed as Mickey Mouse decides to play a game of his own with them which she must survive.

Starring Sophie McIntosh, Callum Sywyk, Allegra Nocita, Ben Harris, Damir Kovic, Mackenzie Mills, Nick Biskupek and Simon Phillips, the movie has yet to announce a formal release date but is apparently eyeing March.

Here’s what Bailey said in a statement about the movie:

“We just wanted to have fun with it all. I mean it’s ‘Steamboat Willie’s Mickey Mouse murdering people. It’s ridiculous. We ran with it and had fun doing it and I think it shows.”

Then, we have an untitled movie that looks to retain more of the ‘Steamboat Willie’ concept, albeit with a killer twist.

Steven LaMorte, who has character-borrowing form thanks to making Grinch-inspired horror ‘The Mean One’ is set to direct an untitled horror-comedy based on Mickey’s cartoon debut. In it, a sadistic mouse will torment a group of unsuspecting ferry passengers. Production is set to begin in the spring.

LaMorte said this about his new movie:

“Steamboat Willie has brought joy to generations, but beneath that cheerful exterior lies a potential for pure, unhinged terror. It’s a project I’ve been dreaming of, and I can’t wait to unleash this twisted take on this beloved character to the world. We are doing our due diligence to make sure there’s no question or confusion of what we’re up to. This is our version of a public domain character. It’s a scary thrill ride with heart and humor, based on this character that everybody knows.”

What about the Mickey horror game?

'Infestation-88.'

‘Infestation-88.’ Photo: Via Nightmare Forge games.

It’s not just the movie side that is making use of Mickey. According to IGN, Nightmare Forge games has announced ‘Infestation 88’, a new 1-4 player survival horror co-op game that aims to infuse nostalgia with scares.

Here’s the synopsis for the game:

“In the year 1988, what was thought to be an outbreak of rodents in various locations morphed into something far more sinister. Sometimes you’ll need to fight, sometimes you’ll need to run, and sometimes you’ll need to hide in a locker. You can set traps and utilize CCTV cameras to try and stay one step ahead of the infestation, and item layouts are randomized in order to help keep matches fresh.”

The game has not announced a formal release date yet, but you can wishlist it on Steam.

Disney's 100th Anniversary.

Disney’s 100th Anniversary.

Other Movies Featuring Mickey Mouse:

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