“Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” composer Andrew Scott Bell used a wealth of unique sounds, including a beehiveolin — a combination of a beehive and violin — to score the micro-budget slasher movie.
Bell recalled reading an article in The New Yorker about Tyler Thackray, the creator of Instagram account @violintorture, who experiments with violins by altering them. Once, he even placed a beehive inside a violin to see if the bees would populate it. This would become the integral instrument Bell used in the film’s score.
Bell wanted to track down the instrument, or at least try. He explains, “I emailed him and said, ‘I’m doing this movie. It’s wacky and fun. I think it would be crazy to use that violin, do you still have it?’”
Thackeray responded telling him he had completely forgotten about the instrument and invited Bell to San Francisco. Bell says, “We went up there and took the violin out – this was after two years – and it was surrounded by honeycomb. There was also honeycomb inside the violin, right up to the F holes.” He adds, “It might have actually changed the sound of the violin.”
“Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” follows A.A. Milne’s beloved characters, Pooh and Piglet, after they’re abandoned by Christopher Robin when he goes off to college. Left to their own devices, the flesh-plush hybrid animals starve before morphing into monstrous killers who lurk in the Hundred Acre Wood.
To add to the score’s whimsical vibe, Bell wanted a choir to sing “blood and honey” in Latin. When Bell proposed the idea to director Rhys Frake-Waterfield, he said, “That sounds expensive.” So instead of hiring a choir, Bell sang all the parts himself.
Bell found other unique ways to bring a horror element to his score, including scraping his music stand “back and forth really fast.”
An accidental discovery was when his Igloo water bottle that he used for hiking dropped against his knee. “It plays like a C sharp, so I would play it with a mallet and move the sound back and forth in stereo,” he says.
For the scene where Piglet attacks a character with a sledgehammer in water, Bell had the idea of “drums underwater.” He explains, “I had these drums and I played them. I put them on my computer and tried to make them sound underwater so that it felt claustrophobic and it just builds and builds to this moment.”