In the past hours, the image of the animated mouse created in 1928 inspires the appearance of a terrible murderer.
As in the case of Winnie The Pooh, the most iconic character of the Disney factory became the center of a horror film as soon as it entered the public domain.
Mickey’s Mouse Trap is a comic slasher that presents the mouse from the short film Steamboat Willie (1928) as a ruthless and enigmatic killer. The first preview of the film was published by its creators on January 1, less than 24 hours after the rights to the first version of Mickey Mouse were released.
Mickey Mouse: the version of the mouse in ‘Steamboat Willie’ resurfaces in a new horror film
The plot of the film revolves around the 21st birthday of Alex, a young woman who works at night in an arcade-type game store, where her friends decide to surprise her. “However, a masked murderer decides to have fun with them in her own way, a game in which Alex must survive,” says the synopsis published by Deadline. The preview also intersperses some scenes from the original short with images of the criminal in question terrorizing his young victims. This footage was filmed, directed, and edited by Jamie Bailey, with a script by Simon Phillips—no known release date or distributors associated with the project’s exhibition in movie theaters
More terror is on the way
A second feature film with a macabre tone is developed by Steven LaMorte, known for his horror parody The Mean One, about the children’s story of The Grinch. The Steamboat Willie-inspired proposal, which still has no title, features a sadistic mouse who torments ferry passengers. The production team is taking legal precautions to avoid confusion with the Disney brand, and the main character will be known as “Steamboat Willie” instead of Mickey Mouse. Filming will begin in spring.
Mickey Mouse and his legal relationship with Disney
Despite the entry of the first Mickey Mouse into the public domain, Disney maintains the copyright on more modern versions of the iconic mice. The company has stated that it will continue to protect its connection to these versions and actively work to prevent consumer confusion caused by unauthorized uses of its iconic characters.
According to specialized sources, this means that while filmmakers can use the 1928 version of the character, any representation that resembles or implies a connection to more recent versions of Mickey Mouse could face legal action by the animation company.
Where to see “Steamboat Willie”?
Directed by Ub Iwerks and produced by Walt Disney, this approximately seven-minute short film marked the debut of Mickey Mouse on November 18, 1928, becoming one of the most iconic and beloved characters in popular culture.
Set on a steamboat, the black-and-white tale features a jovial rodent interacting with his surroundings musically and humorously. This formula would soon become a hallmark of Disney’s works.