Haunted Mansion, not again.. By Topher Adam

Haunted Mansion, not again.. By Topher Adam

I love the Haunted Mansion without a doubt. As you may have noticed, I'm a big fan. With the anticipation of another Haunted Mansion film, I was eagerly awaiting the teaser, even though I only knew a few details about it. However, I must admit that I'm not as thrilled about this remake as I would like to be.

I want to express my opinion without being disrespectful. As a passionate fan, I have specific expectations for any new film related to my beloved franchise. When Guillermo Del Toro was in talks to direct The Haunted Mansion, I was filled with excitement and optimism for what the film could have been. Unfortunately, that project fell through and now we're left with a new filmmaker creating a film that seems similar to the previous version with Eddie Murphy.

Do you understand what I mean? The teaser appears enjoyable, charming, and somewhat cheesy, and there are a few elements that pay homage to our cherished mansion's originality. However, upon closer inspection, you realize the things that are conspicuously absent and start questioning why.

Let's review the images I've captured from the teaser and have a discussion about it. My hope is that you'll see my point of view and understand the frustration that comes with the Walt Disney Company's trend of remaking films that feel more forced than true to the originality that made them great in the first place.

On a side note, I want to express my frustration with the Walt Disney Company's trend of remaking films that feel forced instead of staying true to the originality that made them so great in the first place. I hope my point comes across clearly.

As we go through the teaser together, I can't help but wonder why some things are missing. But let's start with the positive nods to the original haunted mansion. The teaser begins with the unlocking of large gates with chains, reminiscent of the older film. Then we see the exterior of the mansion, which is close to the original, giving us a familiar feeling. Next, we enter a grand stairwell with portraits on the wall, including one of "April - December" with a knight. Although I'm not sure if it's the same hawk knight from the Infinity hallway, we'll find out soon enough.

Moving along, we see the corridor of doors, including the lion head medallion and serpent door handle, which is beautifully done. There is even a nice nod to Constance in a portrait that looks ghostly and sinister, much like those found in Paris' Phantom Manor.

As we continue to scrub through the teaser, we see different glances of the mansion, including a hallway with lighting similar to that of the Infinity hall scene from the ride. However, what's interesting is that the two staring busts are not an effect, but actual busts on the wall, supporting the new story of the family that lived in the mansion.

Lastly, I'm really happy to see Disney diversify their films and make them inclusive, rather than exclusive. It's a positive step in the right direction, and it's great to see everyone represented.

We catch a brief peek at the dining hall room, but there are no visible ghosts. The windows have the elongated look we are familiar with from the dining room scenes in the mansion ride. While I'm okay with that, the wallpaper matches and provides a nice nod to the original. I'm hoping to see the ghosts, including the birthday ghost, ballroom dancers, and Victor Geist playing his organ.

In the next scene, a new character is introduced. It is unclear whether she is a clairvoyant or a witch. Often, with remakes, we are not provided with a full explanation of the characters' motivations. It could be Leota, but there were also rumors that Jamie Lee Curtis was playing the role of Madame Leota. Only time will tell.

In the next scene of the teaser, a new character named Kent is introduced, though it's unclear whether he's a demon fighter or a spiritualist who clears out haunts. The local priest seems to be his hired help. The next shot shows Kent walking down what appears to be the infinity hallway. In the background, there is a portrait of Hatchet Man with an axe and dinner. As the hallway extends, the portrait changes, and Hatchet Man becomes a more sinister figure. While I appreciate this scene, I am disappointed that the eye ghoul wallpaper, which is so beloved, has been removed from the mansion without explanation.

The next scene takes us to the stretching portrait gallery, which has been reimagined as a bedroom. It's possible that this is Kent's room, as he was brought in to defeat the evil spirits in the mansion. We see some familiar stretching portraits and gargoyles, although the arrangement is not exactly the same as in the ride. Suddenly, a new character appears. We're not sure who she is, but she looks like Baba-Yaga, which is exciting because she was part of the original mansion's storyline. In fact, if you listen closely near the restrooms in the park's New Orleans Square, you can hear Baba-Yaga's bones rattling and her chanting. It's a fun fact to check out next time you're at the park.

Next, we are treated to a fun view of the Hatbox Ghost, who looks wonderful! 
I am very excited to see his role in this version of the film. It seems like he is duking it out with Danny DeVito's character. I am really pleased to see that they have incorporated some elements from the Haunted Mansion in Florida into the original in Anaheim.
We also get a quick view of the library, where they have presented the staring busts in the walls of books. This is a very cool touch. If you haven't been to the Florida version, this scene is definitely worth checking out.

In the next clip of the teaser, we see Constance walking down the steps, wielding her infamous axe. It's great that they kept this storyline.

As a diehard Mansion fan, we all love the grimacing look of the 13-hour clock in the ride. However, in the film, it seems they decided to change it, which is a bit disappointing. The new clock looks way different and has digital eyes, which is not familiar to what we know. I don't understand the change or the reason behind it, but I guess remakes have the liberty to alter and change based on the filmmaker's vision. It's sad, isn't it?

Moving on, we get a glimpse of Victor playing his organ, which looks exactly like the one in the ride. It's so similar that I suspect they may have filmed this scene on location. However, I am a bit confused about Madame Leota. Earlier, I mentioned that there were rumors that Jamie Lee Curtis would play her. In this scene, we see Jamie Lee's character being escorted by two twin butlers.
Madame Leota is not floating in her crystal ball, which is disappointing because it's something we all love seeing when we visit the mansion. Instead, we see her in an ethnic outfit that is a bit confusing. Does anyone know the significance of this change? Check it out in the clip below.

The teaser ends with the characters deliberating on their next move. While the film appears to be campy and full of original nods to the ride, there are many elements of the ride that may be missing. It's frustrating to see such an iconic ride being altered and changed, even though it's unnecessary. Disney should stay closer to their IP, make what they have into the franchises they own, and create trilogies and merchandise to explore the backstories of the mansion and its inhabitants.

The film could have been an opportunity to dive into the legacy of the Haunted Mansion franchise, but it feels like a missed opportunity. The 2003 film with Eddie Murphy was another example of wasted potential, and it seems like true fans' opinions are not taken into account. While the film is something to look forward to and enjoy, it's still missing so much of what makes the ride so special.

What do you think? Are you excited about the film? While it may be fun to watch, it's still lacking in many ways. It's frustrating to see a lack of care for what true fans have to say about this subculture.

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I liked it. I watched some behind-the-scenes bits about it, and one detail I thought was awesome was how the director went to Disneyland and took a photo of the Haunted Mansion at the angle you first see it in line. He then recreated that exact same view for the first time the audience sees it in the film. Madame Leota was in the crystal ball when the characters first find her, and they have to use one of her own spells to release her for the final battle – this release is only temporary, too. The actors did a good job, and there were so many aspects that were straight out of the “real” Haunted Mansion that it really did pay homage throughout. I hope that by now you have given it a shot; it is definitely better than the first movie attempt, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Janice French

It looks like it’s going to suck as much as the last one. Maybe they should go back to the record version, where two kids end up there and have to escape. It should be kid focused. The Eddie Murphy version was way too focused on him and his wife and that side plot for kids to be interested. They could have easily made this about a group of people investigating the mansion without any family subplot. I wonder why that has to be there at all.

Leopard Girl

It’s tough to judge a film based on less than two minutes of clips (alas that’s all we have). I remain optimistic that Disney will not repeat the mistakes of the last film (which for all its many faults, was visually stunning). We will have to wait and see.

Gordon Free

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