Live-Action ‘Bambi’ Movie Takes New Controversial Approach, Mocks Disney

Live Action Bambi
Credit: Disney

As we have seen popular Disney characters begin to enter the public domain over the past few years, creators, and specifically production companies, have began to take the classic, lovable characters that we have associated with childhood and innocence our entire life, flipping those memories around, creating alternate, gruesome, horror versions of those same characters.

Winnie the Pooh in a horror movie

Credit: Jagged Edge Productions

In 2022, for example, Winnie the Pooh entered the public domain, and in 2023, Winne the Pooh: Blood and Honey was released. If someone visits Disney World, the Winnie the Pooh they will see is a fluffy, silly, yellow bear. They can even ride the very child-friendly The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom.

In Winne the Pooh: Blood and Honey, things are not so magical. 

With the character becoming free-reign after losing its copyright, British filmmaker Rhys Frake-Waterfield was able to change the narrative into a slasher film which follows Pooh and Piglet, who have become feral and bloodthirsty murderers, as they terrorize a group of young university women and Christopher Robin when he returns to the Hundred Acre Wood many years later after leaving for college.

Pooh and Piglett sneak up on woman in hot tub

Credit: Jagged Edge Productions

In 2016, Bambi entered the public domain. Like Pooh, while many associate Bambi with Disney, the character was based off of Felix Salten’s 1923 novel, Bambi, a Life in the Woods, and its sequel, Bambi’s Children.

Now, the same team that created Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey will be responsible for turning Bambi into something much more gruesome with Bambi: The Reckoning.

Bloody Disgusting confirmed the news that, “Roxanne McKee (Wrong Turn 5) will star in Bambi: The Reckoning, alongside Nicola Wright and Tom Mulheron. Samira Mighty (Beauty and the Beast) will also appear in the upcoming horror movie. Filming begins on January 6, 2024 in England with a planned Fall 2024 release.”

It was stated that the plot of the film will film “follows Xana (Roxanne McKee) and her son Benji (Tom Mulheron) who find themselves in a car wreck and soon hunted down by the vicious killing machine, Bambi. Bambi will destroy anyone in its path.”

Director Dan Allen said, “It’s gonna be terrifying. When people see a deer in the wild after this film they’re gonna run for the hills. This film is about the death of childhoods as much as it’s gonna ruin childhoods. Expect bloodshed, tears and rabbits… and one mean killer deer. At last, the British countryside will finally get its Godzilla.”

Bambi exploring the woods with friends

Credit: Disney

Bambi: The Reckoning is part of a fairytale universe from the team. Peter Pan’s Neverland Nightmare, which will find Tinkerbell injecting pixie dust like it is heroin, will be shooting this summer, directed by Scott Jeffrey. More projects within the universe are soon to be announced.

Knowing that the goal here is to flip the world of fairytales on its head, it will be interesting to see if the horror team tackles Mickey Mouse, the iconic Disney legend that, as of today, has entered the public domain. 

Disney is also working on their very-own Bambi film at the moment, adding it to their live-action collection of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Cinderella, and more

As we previously shared, “The film likely won’t be arriving until 2025 or 2026 at the earliest, and a Spring release would probably be the most appropriate. Disney does have dates already set for March 7 and May 23 in 2025 as well as March 27 and April 17 in 2026, so the film could land on one of those dates.”

Bambi talking to Thumper

Credit: Disney

Additionally, “The Bambi remake will almost certainly be coming to Disney+ eventually, but the question of when still remains. It’s honestly fairly difficult to say if Bambi will be getting a theatrical release or skip theatres entirely to go to Disney+. Bambi is certainly a recognizable brand, but it may not be relevant enough today for a big theater debut.” They compared it to the Lady and the Tramp live action, which did not make it to theaters.”

The film has already undergone controversy as it will remove the death of Bambi’s mother due to sensitivity issues, which some audiences disagree with. This, of course, will be very different from the horror film, which almost makes a mockery of Disney’s attempt to be sensitive around the topic of death, flooding their film with it.

Disney is also going to be releasing a live-action version of Lilo and Stitch on Disney+, so it seems that they are looking to mix up their Disney+ releases with theatrical ones, to further drive attention to the streaming platform. Considering how well films like Elemental and Encanto did after coming out on Disney+, this strategy may be one for success, especially after new theatrical releases like Wish have yet to make back what the studio spent on creating the film.

Would you rather watch Disney’s live-action version of Bambi, or this new horror storyline? 

This post is originally appeared on Inside the Magic.

About Alessia Dunn

Orlando theme park lover who loves thrills and theming, with a side of entertainment. You can often catch me at Disney or Universal sipping a cocktail, or crying during Happily Ever After or Fantasmic.

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