In 2015, Saturday Night Live spoofed Disney’s obsession with live-action remakes of classic animated features by releasing a “trailer” for an upcoming Bambi adaptation. The Fast & Furious–style short follows Dwayne the Rock Johnson’s Bambi as he leads a ragtag bunch of forest friends on a revenge mission to murder the hunters who shot his mother.
Now, as Entertainment Weekly reports, a live-action Bambi movie actually is in the works—and while the SNL sketch didn’t accurately predict the genre, it at least nailed the not-for-kids nature of the film.
ITN Studios and Jagged Edge Productions is currently developing Bambi: The Reckoning, a horror movie in which “Bambi will be a vicious killing machine that lurks in the wilderness,” as director Scott Jeffrey told Dread Central. “Prepare for Bambi on rabies!”
It’s not clear yet whether the homicidal fawn will be seeking retribution for his mother’s death or just killing whoever crosses his path, though Jeffrey’s comments seem to point to the latter. (After all, rabid animals aren’t typically very calculated in targeting specific victims.)
Jeffrey also revealed that he and his fellow filmmakers—including producer Rhys Frake-Waterfield—will “[find] inspiration from the design used in Netflix’s The Ritual.” The 2017 David Bruckner–directed British horror movie features a towering moose-like monster with certain human elements. In short, don’t expect this Bambi to resemble the one from Disney’s 1942 animated classic. The House of Mouse reportedly has a Bambi remake in the pipeline, too.
It won’t be Jeffrey and Frake-Waterfield’s first time transforming beloved characters from your childhood into the stuff of nightmares. They also created the forthcoming horror film Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey, slated for a February 2023 release.
Despite Bambi’s close association with Disney, it didn’t originate as company IP. The animated movie was based on Bambi, a Life in the Woods, a 1923 Austrian novel by Felix Salten that entered the public domain this year (along with A.A. Milne’s first Winnie-The-Pooh book). In other words, it’s fair game to include the orphaned deer in your own film without fear of litigation.
[h/t Entertainment Weekly]