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11/14/2022 • 4 min read
Imagine a house. Now imagine it is super big with lots of rooms. Think about what it would take to consistently heat it all in winter. Calculate how long it would take to mow an entire courtyard in the summer. Consider rising interest rates. As you can see, this is quite a scary house! And on top of all that… it’s also haunted by ghosts.
The idea of a haunted mansion has been a Disney mainstay for over 50 years. No trip to a Disney amusement park is complete without a ride through the spooky domicile.
But it is also much more than a ride. Disney has turned the concept into a successful film franchise. Now, the doors of a new HAUNTED MANSION are about to open, and there are some fantastic actors inside.
For those who were never Disney kids, the Haunted Mansion is a slow-moving ride that ferries guests through the halls of a spooky mansion inhabited by ghosts. But they’re more or less nice ghosts. No one’s getting their head cut off in here.
The ride opened in Disneyland on August 9, 1969. But it is not limited to that one park. Through the years, the Haunted Mansion has been incorporated into the Magic Kingdom in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Disneyland Park in Paris.
The slow tempo of the ride, which also passes through a cemetery and conservatory, makes it suitable for all ages. Even so, for the very young, the ghosts are pretty effective. Even the line leading up to the attraction is filled with scares and surprises. It’s no wonder the Haunted Mansion has stayed popular for so long.
For many years, a movie adaptation of an amusement park ride would never have left the brainstorming room of a movie studio. Then, in 2003, Disney released THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. The movie made roughly a gazillion dollars. After that, everything changed. Sure enough, later that same year came THE HAUNTED MANSION.
The 2003 version of THE HAUNTED MANSION, starring Eddie Murphy, has a more comedic than scary personality. Murphy plays a realtor who, with his family, stays in the mansion before putting it on the market. They end up having to stay much longer than anticipated and in doing so, learn valuable lessons about putting quality time above professional ambitions. Also, they run into a ton of amazing ghosts.
The new HAUNTED MANSION is not a remake! Based on what we know so far, it is also not a sequel to the 2003 movie. Of course, Disney could be keeping secrets about the full extent of the story.
And, while we're at it, this is not the movie that Guillermo Del Toro scripted and once planned to direct for Disney. His ideas were seemingly more scary than the studio wanted.
In HAUNTED MANSION (no "the" this time), Rosario Dawson plays Gabbie, the new owner of the giant house we all know and love. After buying the home for a surprisingly low sum at auction, Gabbie and her son discover that some old inhabitants — very old ones — are lingering in the halls. Gabbie does what you would probably do: She hires a crew of four paranormal pros to sweep the spirits out of the home.
That crew would be enough to make us watch the movie even before you factor in their supernatural quarry. Lakeith Stanfield ("Atlanta") plays a widower who once tried to invent a camera that could see ghosts, but who lost his interest in the paranormal after the death of his wife. He scratches out a living as a ghost tour guide in New Orleans. Tiffany Haddish plays a psychic who might be able to talk to the Mansion's ghosts, while Owen Wilson plays a priest and Danny DeVito plays a grumpy historian.
And then there are the ghosts: Jamie Lee Curtis and Jared Leto play Madame Leota and the Hatbox Ghost, respectively. Dan Levy, Winona Ryder, and Hasan Minaj are in the movie, too, but their roles have not been revealed.
Will HAUNTED MANSION live up to the legacy Disney established over fifty years ago? We’ll find out next year!
All images courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.
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