The 1928 short film “Steamboat Willie” from Disney saw its US copyright expire on New Year’s Day, 95 years post-release, allowing free usage of early Mickey and Minnie Mouse versions from the movie. An upcoming slasher flick, “Mickey’s Mouse Trap,” drawing from “Steamboat Willie,” is set for March.

Its trailer on YouTube brands it the “first-ever live-action Mickey Mouse comedy horror.” The story unfolds as friends arrange a surprise 21st birthday at an arcade for a late-shift-working friend.

In the trailer, a masked killer resembling Mickey Mouse engages the group in a sinister game, mirroring scenes from “Steamboat Willie” before targeting a woman. Director Jamie Bailey expressed delight, citing Mickey’s involvement in the horror as an absurdity embraced in the film.

Another Mickey-inspired horror by Steven LaMorte revolves around a New York boat ride becoming a survival struggle due to a transformed mouse. LaMorte envisions the potential for eerie terror within Mickey’s cheerful image.

Currently, the untitled film is in pre-production. Also, a video game called “Infestation: Origins” by Nightmare Forge Games, inspired by the early Mickey Mouse, is set for a 2024 release.

“Steamboat Willie,” directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, showcased Mickey Mouse as a boat captain playing musical instruments from animals. Last year, “Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey,” released after A.A. Milne’s original book entered the US public domain, 96 years after its 1926 publication.

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