The last year has seen a boom in ultra low-budget horror movies making bank at the box office. First, there was Terrifier 2, which made almost $15 million on a budget of $250,000. Then there’s Skinamarink, which has passed $2 million on a budget of an unbelievable $15,0000. The next horror sensation is set to be Winne-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, which reportedly had a budget of under $100,000 and has already made a million in Mexico alone.
It takes a special kind of mind to see Winnie-the-Pooh enter the public domain and to immediately make a slasher movie out of the beloved children’s character. And those twisted minds belong to Rhys Frake-Waterfield and Scott Jeffrey, a filmmaking team from Essex. Jeffrey has made over 100 ultra low-budget movies in just eight years, including five in the slasher Tooth Fairy franchise.
Since the first images of a killer Pooh went viral in 2022, people have wondered about the exact nature of the newest serial killer in town. Frake-Waterfield told Variety; “He’s got a mix of human organs and blood, but also there’s fluff [inside] him.” If that sounds ridiculous, it’s deliberate. “To me, the whole tone of the movie is just fun and a bit [of] satire. You’re supposed to laugh at it.”
Significantly, Pooh is not doll-sized, like M3GAN. “That was a very early conversation,” says Frake-Waterfield. A 3 feet tall, knife-wielding teddy bear (which was what “everyone was suggesting”) would have been largely CGI, which, due to the “very, very tight” budget, meant he would hardly appear in the film. “I mostly go to a horror film for the villain,” and this way audiences get “non-stop Pooh. A lot of horror fans, and a lot of the people who really like the film – that’s an aspect they love.”
Even with minimal VFX, every expense was spared. The rubber mask used for Pooh was one of the most costly items, sourced from an online retailer for $650, while his hands are clad in dishwashing gloves, a snip at just one pound.
A sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey has already been greenlit, and the first movie will be released on February 15, 2023 in the US. While we wait, check out our guide to the best body horror movies.