Low Budget Horror Brings On the ‘Wrath of Wisney’ [New Blood News]

Winnie the Pooh

The public domain is an interesting concept. Essentially, it’s where all the copyright-free stories, movies, characters, music, and everything else go. Why don’t they have copyrights? Numerous reasons: the rights expired, were waived, forfeited, or just not liable in the first place. The cool thing about this is it allows ANYONE to use these creative works without having to ask permission from any sort of rights holder.

When it comes to horror, there are plenty of works included that the public has at their disposal, from characters like Dracula and Cthulhu, to films including Night of the Living Dead and The Little Shop of Horrors, to literature ranging from Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Wendigo, and so forth. The world’s your oyster when it comes to the domain of copyright-free horror (in the United States, at least). For some, however, that’s not fun enough.

Oh no, it’s too easy to take a pre-established horror property and run with it. It’s been done before, too blasé, surely we can do something more interesting… What if we had Winnie the Pooh brutally murder people? What if we did it twice?

Ludicrous! Surely the House of Mouse would have something to say about this, right? You’d be correct. If the cartoon interpretation of Winnipeg T. Pooh was used, they’d have plenty to say about it. Here’s the thing, though. Ol’ Winnie existed years before Disney got their stubby, white-gloved paws on him. Their version of the honey-addicted bear can’t be touched, but the original book portrayal? Fair game, baby! You see, copyright can be a wacky thing with many twists and turns and fine print. But there is something that’s mostly consistent: after 95 years from the date of the property’s conception, it falls into the public domain. Only the version from that particular point, though, so Disney’s cartoon Winnie doesn’t count. But those original books? All yours, friendos.

Horror creators are taking full advantage of these developments, including one John Lepper, who’s opting to take a more meta approach to the concept with his upcoming feature—The Elegant Destruction of Your Childhood Memories, aka The Wrath of Wisney!

Read the film’s synopsis below:

“In the not-too-distant future, the trend of copywritten children’s properties going public domain and being turned into low-budget horror movies has continued unabated. Many of these works included the creations of beloved children’s animator, Dalton “Dalt” Wisney. Believed by the world to be deceased for decades, that all changes when Dalt’s signature, most beloved and memorable creation, Ricky Rat, goes public domain and a horror film adapting the character enters production. Wisney, unbeknownst to the general public, was not dead.

Deep in the catacombs of the Wisneyville amusement park, Dalt slumbers in cryogenic suspension. But this production is the final straw: sensing the desecration of Ricky, a rage begins to build within Wisney, awakening him. Now loose upon the modern world, Dalt has sworn to put an end to the Ricky Rat film production… by any means necessary.

Lepper is also the co-owner of Cyfuno Ventures, a sales agency that specializes in the distribution of low-budget genre fare from The VelociPastor to Shaky Shivers. With, The Wrath of Wisney, he’s tackling his own original horror project inspired by Final Destination.

The Wrath of Wisney is currently early in pre-production. I’ll keep you posted on the film’s development as soon as I am!

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