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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?

‘Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey’ is the slasher film here to ruin your childhood

In the most bizarre development of 2022, the once loveable and honey-obsessed Winnie the Pooh is officially the leading star of a new violent slasher film titled Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. Far from the lush green pastures of the Hundred Acre Wood, this unusual yet unique horror film sees Pooh and Piglet go rogue, feasting on forest animals, rampaging the woods and murderously plotting against Christopher Robin.

‘Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey’ is the slasher film here to ruin your childhood

The film, which Rolling Stone referred to as “childhood-ruining,” follows Pooh and Piglet’s journey after having been abandoned by their closest companion Robin. Seeking retribution, the two vigilantes begin to wreak havoc on the inhabitants of the forest, kidnapping a bikini-clad young woman from a hot tub, beheading a lone holiday-goer, and gorging themselves on all of the honey they can find. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

Director Rhys Frake-Waterfield and producer Scott Jeffrey recently spoke about their motivations for the slasher flick with TMZ. In the interview, they expressed how “this film is for different people who want a different type of Winnie.” They also teased a future project where Peter Pan and the world of Neverland are transformed into a wild circus featuring Captain Hook and Tinkerbell as tormented freak show acts.

The trailer for Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey was released on 31 August 2022 and captures all of the goriest moments. Viewers watch on, horrified, as Pooh and Piglet smear blood on windows, consume eyeballs, and chase a terrified victim through a swimming pool while wielding an axe.

Following the release of the highly anticipated trailer, the film’s leading man himself gave audiences a closer glimpse into what to expect in theatres. The actor behind the mask, Craig Dowsett, has warned viewers that this movie is “not for the faint-hearted.” Speaking with UNILAD, Dowsett expressed his immediate excitement at the prospect of taking on this iconic role. “When I first read the script I knew this was going to be special!” he exclaimed.

The Guardian, having recently reviewed the trailer, stressed the significance of the antagonists’ identities. The publication emphasised that the film’s primary purpose is to shock audiences by “subverting an innocent icon like Pooh.” For many of us, we remember Alan Alexander Milne’s creation as a simple creature whose soft voice and friendly nature helped soothe many of his companions when they were struggling. However, now we’re faced with a Pooh who craves bloodshed, violence and destruction—quite a big contrast.

We should ask ourselves, if the stars of this film had been obscure inventions rather than historic symbols of nostalgia, would we all still be so enthralled?

In all seriousness, we highly doubt the film will make an appearance during awards season. That being said, it’s somewhat comforting knowing that, out there in the ether, a piece of cinema exists to further cement Milnes’ seminal character Winnie the Pooh as a cultural icon.