German distributor Dolphin Medien has partnered with U.K. horror production house Red Shadow Studios on horror films based on public domain children’s properties Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan, it was revealed at the ongoing Cannes film market.
“Winnie the Pooh: Death House,” described by the makers as “The Strangers” meets “The Purge,” is a stylized serial killer slant on A.A. Milne’s beloved character, which recently entered the public domain. The film is written by Red Shadow’s Adam Stephen Kelly and is directed by S.J. Evans (“Dead of the Nite”). The story centres around an unexpected school reunion in a remote country mansion – an event orchestrated by members of a cult who were mercilessly tormented by the guests as children. Now, years later, they’re out for gruesome revenge. Filming is underway at U.K. locations.
Evans said: “The script is supremely clever with scope for iconic visuals, and we have assembled a terrific young cast loaded with star potential. I’m very excited to share this dark and disturbing horror with the world.”
A recent example of a Pooh horror adaptation is “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.”
“Peter Pan Goes to Hell” takes J.M. Barrie’s iconic boy who never grew up from his first appearance in “The Little White Bird” and uses it as a jumping off point for a slasher movie in the vein of “Psycho” and “Nightmares in a Damaged Brain.” The script is by Kelly, while Phil Claydon (“Lesbian Vampire Killers”) directs.
Claydon said: ‘I grew up on a healthy diet of low-budget horror from the masters like Sam Raimi, Wes Craven and Peter Jackson. In recent streamer times, opportunities to create high concept horror on a small budget had vanished so I relished the opportunity to dive on board with Red Shadow Studios in carving out an environment for filmmakers to come and craft some grass roots scares. Let the mayhem commence.”
Kelly wrote and directed short film “Done In,” starring Guy Henry, which was produced by Evans. He went on to direct and co-write “Kill Kane” starring Vinnie Jones, and write and co-produce gangland home invasion movie “Nemesis.”
All upcoming productions under the partnership will be fully financed by Dolphin Medien. The initial films will draw inspiration from public domain children’s stories but the slate will diversity later in the year.
Both films will be delivered before AFM and Dolphin Medien handles international sales.
Kelly said: “The huge interest in horror movies based on public domain properties piqued my interest as it did many, but with Red Shadow Studios – in partnership with Dolphin Medien – I’m trying to bring together really talented filmmakers and high- caliber actors as I firmly believe that, in this space, budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on talent or creativity. While these first two films are absolutely ‘out there’ gonzo takes on beloved children’s stories, we have a whole host of different – sometimes shocking – new genre projects on our ambitious slate, and in Benjamin Krause at Dolphin Medien, we have the perfect, shrewd distribution partner and executive producer.”
Benjamin Krause, CEO of Dolphin Medien, added: “I am very proud to bring out my own new productions with my company Dolphin Medien. The film industry is and always will be my passion and I already have more ideas for the next productions.”