Mickey Mouse Horror Trailer Drops Hours After 'Steamboat Willie' Enters Public Domain

The rodent-like villain in the slasher “Mickey’s Mouse Trap” also seems to be inspired by another iconic character.

Hello, Sidney — er, Minnie.

A trailer for a new horror movie starring a knife-wielding Mickey Mouse dropped Monday — the same day the 1928 version of the Disney character featured in the short film “Steamboat Willie” entered the public domain.

Titled “Mickey’s Mouse Trap,” the trailer features a “Steamboat Willie” version of the rodent playing a fatal game of cat and mouse with a group of young adults who have to Donald duck his blade.

The film was shot, edited and directed by Jamie Bailey and written by Simon Phillips, who also assumes the role of the murderous mouse, Entertainment Weekly reported. Phillips also posted the trailer to his YouTube account.

The upcoming movie isn’t just having fun at Disney’s expense. It seems to be lifting iconography from other beloved franchises as well. In the teaser, the killing spree is set in an amusement park arcade — a setting better suited for another well-known mouse, Chuck E. Cheese. The villain in this movie also wears a twisted-looking Mickey Mouse mask that vaguely resembles Ghostface’s in the “Scream” movies. If that seems like a stretch, a character in the trailer literally says: “Like, if he was in a horror movie, you’d never say, ‘I’ll be right back.’ Because then you don’t.”

In the original 1996 “Scream” movie, a character says the line: “Never ever ever under any circumstances say ‘I’ll be right back’ because you won’t be back.”

The idea to model a murderous Mickey after Ghostface may seem a bit lazy, but it makes sense if you want to slap together a trailer quickly enough to release it the same day the copyright on the “Steamboat Willie” film expired.

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse character first appeared in “Steamboat Willie” in 1928.
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse character first appeared in “Steamboat Willie” in 1928.
LMPC via Getty Images

Creators are only allowed to use “the more mischievous, rat-like, non-speaking boat captain” featured in “Steamboat Willie” in their work, according to copyright law, The Associated Press reported. So, modelling a murder-happy Mickey that’s not allowed to talk after the mostly silent Ghostface — who rarely speaks in person and usually makes his legendary quips over the phone — creates a nice loophole.

“Mickey’s Mouse Trap” isn’t the only “Steamboat Willie” horror offering we’re going to get, either. A video game from Nightmare Forge, titled “Infestation 88,” also released a trailer Monday featuring a much more sinister Mickey. Director Steven LaMorte is set to work on an untitled horror-comedy based on “Steamboat Willie” that will start production in the spring, Variety reported. But this time the “sadistic mouse will torment a group of unsuspecting ferry passengers.”

This is also not the first time filmmakers have had the idea to turn a beloved children’s character into a horror movie villain as soon as it becomes public domain. Jagged Edge Productions, a U.K.-based indie film studio, released the slasher “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” earlier this year after promoting it heavily throughout 2022, the year Pooh Bear entered public domain.


What's Hot