Indie Horror Film ‘Mickey Mouse’s Trap’ Explores Public Domain Mickey as a Serial Killer

Mickey Mouse in Public Domain and the Birth of ‘Mickey Mouse’s Trap’

With the advent of January 1, a crucial milestone was reached in intellectual property law, allowing the original version of Mickey Mouse, known from the historic “Steamboat Willie,” to enter the public domain.

This development has inspired an indie horror film titled “Mickey Mouse’s Trap,” set for release in March 2024, which introduces a sinister rendition of the iconic character.

Public Domain and Copyright Laws in the United States

In the United States, copyright laws permit a 95-year copyright span, enabling the entry of previously copyrighted material into the public domain annually on January 1.

This legal provision has opened the gateway for the inclusion of Mickey Mouse from the original “Steamboat Willie” into public domain, although newer iterations of the character remain under copyright protection.

Disclaimers and Film Details

The film’s trailer, shared via actor Simon Phillips’ YouTube channel, explicitly clarifies that “Mickey Mouse’s Trap” is an independent production unrelated to Disney.

It emphasizes the use of the public domain version of Steamboat Willie’s Mickey Mouse and specifically excludes any copyright infringement on later versions or trademark violations associated with the character.

Synopsis and Concept of the Film

The indie horror film showcases Phillips portraying Mickey Mouse as a demented killer clad in the likeness of the Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse.

Set within an amusement park, the movie follows a group of friends terrorized by the murderous figure donning the iconic mouse mask. The trailer incorporates scenes of the original Steamboat Willie cartoon projected before the killer’s menacing acts.

Director’s Perspective and Film Production Details

Director Jamie Bailey highlighted the film’s intention to infuse entertainment into the storyline, emphasizing the surreal concept of Steamboat Willie’s Mickey Mouse engaging in murderous activities.

The project, he expressed, was an endeavor driven by creativity and enjoyment, evident in the film’s execution. The cast includes Sophie McIntosh, Callum Sywyk, Allegra Nocita, Ben Harris, Damir Kovic, Mackenzie Mills, Nick Biskupek, and Simon Phillips.

Film Development and Precedents in Public Domain Exploitation

“Mickey Mouse’s Trap” marks the utilization of Mickey Mouse’s public domain iteration in cinema, mirroring the entry of Winnie the Pooh into public domain in the past year, which led to the production of the indie slasher “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.

” The film was produced by Paul Whitney, Mark Popejoy, Alexander Gausman, and Andrew Agopsowicz, with Filmcore’s Mem Ferda co-producing.

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