New dark-comedy Cocaine Bear is set to become gen Zers’ favourite drug-fuelled film of the year – Screen Shot
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New dark-comedy Cocaine Bear is set to become gen Zers’ favourite drug-fuelled film of the year

Imagine you’re sitting on the floor, it’s around 2 am and you’re surrounded by your friends reminiscing over the night, eating chips and chatting gibberish. All of a sudden someone starts telling a story about a 500-pound black bear who, in the mid 80s, ingested over 70 pounds of cocaine, suffered serious internal damage, and ultimately died in the woods. You’d potentially start thinking, “Wow, I’d love to see this story play out on the big screen.” Well, don’t fret, your dreams are about to come true.

Cocaine Bear is set to hit theatres on 24 February 2023 and director Elizabeth Banks has promised to deliver a wacky yet brilliant depiction of the infamous ‘Pablo Eskobear’.

What is the true story behind ‘Cocaine Bear’?

Now, when you initially watch the trailer for Cocaine Bear, you’d most likely assume that it’s completely fictional. You would, of course, be extremely wrong. There was indeed a cocaine-infused massive black bear that, after dousing itself in drugs, passed away between Tennessee and Georgia in the Chattahoochee National Forest.

According to The Independent, the cocaine consumed by the bear, which had been worth an estimated $15 million, was dropped out of a plane in 1985 by drug smuggler Andrew Thornton. The runner had been dropping packages over Northern Georgia when he jumped out of the plane, his parachute failed to open and he subsequently fell to his death.

While it’s presumed that the bear located the multiple duffle bags full of drugs quite soon after Thornton passed away, it wasn’t until three months later that the mammal was found by the authorities. Pablo Eskobear had suffered massive internal haemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hypothermia, heart failure and a stroke. Medical examiners confirmed that his stomach had been extensively lined with cocaine.

Super-fans of this unlikely cult figure might be excited to know that the bear was taxidermied and is currently on display at the Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington.

So, back to the Cocaine Bear film. Banks has managed to get a hold of a pretty killer cast for this upcoming dark comedy. Stars such as Keri Russell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and the late Raymond Liotta.

In terms of plot, the film will focus on the days following the bear’s discovery of the cocaine. As can be seen in the trailer, gore, chaos and destruction will be at the forefront of what’s going to potentially become a gen Zer cult classic. Did I hear someone say 2024 Golden Globes?

One netizen on Twitter is so sure of the film’s sheer genius, they posted: “You laugh now but just you wait until Cocaine Bear gets nominated for best picture, best director, best actress, best special effects, etc.”

So, calling all fans of the recent Peter Pan: Neverland Nightmare, Cocaine Bear is sure to be a fan-favourite among all of you.

Meet ‘Peter Pan: Neverland Nightmare’, the slasher film nobody asked for

All children, except one, grow up. When Peter Pan flew sans wings into our hearts with Disney’s long list of feature films, the protagonist’s magical escapades with fairies, mermaids, and the Lost Boys in Neverland became the talk of the playground. While Wendy Darling knew she and her brothers must inevitably grow up, time made little difference to the carefree boy—because when you never grow up, life is nothing but fun, whimsy, and adventure… right?

Well, as it turns out, the premise of an immortal boy—with barely any conscience and a self-centred focus on having fun at the cost of other lives—makes great fodder for a slasher film.

Introducing ‘Peter Pan: Neverland Nightmare’

Director Rhys Frake-Waterfield, the same creator behind the viral childhood-ruining horror movie Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, has now revealed plans for yet another twisted film. First noted by The Hollywood Reporter, the chilling flick will feature characters created by Scottish novelist James Matthew Barrie and popularised by the 1953 Disney animated film, Peter Pan.

While plot details are currently unknown for the project, it is said to be in development under the working title, Peter Pan: Neverland Nightmare. To die will be an awfully big adventure, eh?

Now, it should be noted that, when news of Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey first made headlines, the violent film garnered a divisive response. While some loved the prospects of seeing Pooh and Piglet go rogue and feast on forest animals, family-driven audiences found it rather distasteful—commenting along the lines of how every “cute” character has to be reimagined as evil beings in the name of creativity in 2022.

Regardless of this discourse, the movie recently got confirmed for a limited theatrical release in the US, UK, Canada, and Mexico on 15 February 2023. Heck, Frake-Waterfield has also confirmed that he is currently eyeing a sequel for Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, which he had previously teased in his efforts to “ramp it up even more” and take the characters to crazier places.

Peter Pan as nightmare fuel

If you really think about it, Peter Pan has always been one with the dark side. Sure, his bittersweet story is beautiful and sometimes paints a fitting picture of the fleeting innocence and pixie dust of childhood. But if not for this image, he could be a slasher film villain in a heartbeat.

Peter is infamous for doing things on a whim and is often insensitive to the people around him. The fact that he essentially kidnapped Wendy to take her to Neverland—not to mention the time he sneaked into her home to find his shadow—just so that he could bask in his narcissism, does not help his case either. He was also more than happy to banish his lifelong sidekick Tinker Bell if she offended him enough and even nearly killed the kids when he forgot to give them pixie dust to fly.

Talking about the sassy fairy, Tinker Bell is the literal embodiment of the ‘Cute and Psycho’ TV trope. Remember the time Bell almost killed Wendy when she thought she was taking Peter’s attention away from her? She later went public with her murderous intentions and showed no remorse for her violent thoughts.

And don’t even get me started on Captain Hook, the downright terrifying evil who used to kill his own crew members on a regular basis. If the very fact that he was obsessed with an underage flying boy with elf-like ears doesn’t tingle your sus senses then I don’t know what will.

Peter Pan first appeared in Barrie’s The Little White Bird published in 1902 and, according to the Great Ormond Street Hospital, the novel is in the public domain in the US. However, the play and stage adaptations are in copyright there until 2023. Meanwhile, over in the UK, the copyright first expired in 1987, 50 years after Barrie’s death.

“However, former Prime Minister Lord Callaghan successfully proposed an amendment to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) of 1988, giving Great Ormond Street Hospital the unique right to royalties from stage performances of Peter Pan (and any adaptation of the play) as well as from publications, audiobooks, ebooks, radio broadcasts, and films of the story of Peter Pan, in perpetuity,” the institute mentioned.

All that said, the concept of Peter and his Neverland cult embarking on killing sprees doesn’t seem so far-fetched to me. Imagine the young boy sneaking into your room one night and enchanting you with a: “Forget them, Wendy. Forget them all. Come with me where you’ll never, never have to worry about grown up things again.” Fruity Pinocchio could never.

On the other hand, if you failed to conjure up that mental image, think about the time resident vampire Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) called himself a “broken boy who has Peter Pan syndrome” and labelled Megan Fox his Wendy.

“She understands that he was just a broken boy who has Peter Pan syndrome—which is me,” the rapper said on a live episode of the Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast. “You don’t want to grow up. You know what I mean? You’re a lost boy, but you have Wendy, and Wendy doesn’t want to be with the lost boy, but she’s like, ‘Come back home and be a grownup with me’. And you watch Peter Pan have the choice.” Yikes?