Screamboat: Steamboat Willie Horror Movie Casts Terrifier's Art the Clown Actor

Screamboat is one of a number of Mickey Mouse-themed horror projects currently in the works.

David Howard Thornton, the actor best known as Art the Clown in the Terrifier films, will step into the shoes of Mickey Mouse in the forthcoming public domain horror movie Screamboat. From the production teams behind Terrifier 2 and The Mean One, Screamboat will be directed by Steven LaMorte, and stars Thornton as a horror-themed sendup of Mickey's role in Steamboat Willie, the first-ever animated short to feature the famous mouse. Steamboat Willie, Plane Crazy, and that first-ever version of Mickey all entered the public domain on January 1, meaning that anybody who wants to can remake, repackage, or riff on those first two films.

Blending horror elements with concepts made for children to create twisted, often hilarious results is nothing new, whether it's terrifying takes on Grimm's Fairy Tales or even just movies like The Ice Cream Man and Santa's Sleigh. The subgenre has taken it up a notch, though, following the release of Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey. The microbudget slasher defied poor reviews from both critics and fans to not only make over $5 million, but spawn a sequel that earned significantly more positive feedback across the board. The producers of that film are planning a whole, cinematic universe featuring horror takes on characters like Pinocchio and Bambi.

"I'm thrilled to be working on Screamboat with such a killer cast from horror legends to comedy icons," LaMorte said in a statement. "David Howard Thornton is bringing our mischievous and murderous take on Steamboat Willie to life like never before. I can't wait for audiences to laugh and scream with us onboard Screamboat!"

"I'm beyond excited to join this incredible cast and bring Steamboat Willie to life with a horror twist," Thornton added. "Screamboat is going to be a horrific and hilarious big screen thrill ride that fans won't want to miss."

Since entering the public domain, the early version of Mickey Mouse has appeared in a horror video game, a NSFW animated short on Adult Swim, and at least two different movies have been announced. He has also served as an antagonist in Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon, where Mickey is depicted as a serial rapist, inspired by the never-say-no attitude he took to a kiss from Minnie in Plane Crazy.

"He was a real creep to begin with," Larsen told ComicBook. "That was the state of entertainment at the time. Skirt chasers were something of a staple back in the early days. That sort of thing was prevalent for decades in comics and cartoons. Nobody stopped to think about how terrifying it was for the poor woman being doggedly pursued."

In Screamboat, Thornton takes on the lead role as Steamboat Willie (as with many of the Mickey parodies seen so far, the movie seems to be avoiding using the mouse's given name) in the film. David next appears in Terrifier 3 – the highly-anticipated sequel to the horror sensation that took the 2022 box office by storm. Joining him are Allison Pittel (Stream), Amy Schumacher (The Mean One), Jesse Posey (Teen Wolf, Selena: The Series), Jesse Kove (Cobra Kai), Rumi C Jean-Louis (Hightown), and horror veterans Jarlath Conroy (George A. Romero's Day of the Dead) and Charles Edwin Powell (The Exorcist III). The horror-comedy will also feature a number of yet-to-be-announced cameo appearances as production continues later this summer.

Amy Schumacher, Martine Melloul, and LaMorte, who previously collaborated on The Mean One are producing alongside Steven Della Salla and Michael Leavy, known for their work on Terrifier and Stream. The film's special effects are in the expert hands of Christian Beckman's Quantum Creation FX, Inc. (The Last Voyage of the Demeter), bringing to life a terrifying creature designed by concept artist Christian Cordella (Spider-Man: No Way Home). Screamboat is Executive Produced by Kali Pictures, Sleight of Hand Productions, Reckless Content, and Julien Didon.

Per its official synopsis, Screamboat follows a group of New Yorkers on a late-night ferry ride that turns deadly when a mischievous mouse begins a rampage, targeting unsuspecting passengers. The unlikely crew must band together to thwart the murderous menace before their relaxing commute turns into a nightmare.

Screamboat will set sail into theaters in 2025, distributed by Iconic Events Releasing.