Walt Disney’s the Haunted Mansion ride – an indoor spook house ride at Disney parks designed to take brave souls through a gamut of chillingly fun scenes set to creepy music and eerie sights and sounds – has had a special place in the hearts of amusement park aficionados since first opening back in 1969. With its good natured scares such as a phantom piano player and its atmospheric and zonky séance room, the family friendly attraction has long held an appeal to mom’s and dad’s around the globe who want to take a brief respite from the over-caffeinated antics of Mickey and the gang and yet still remain true to an all-inclusive and G rated going’s on at the legendary theme park.
To younger fans, the Haunted Mansion is also known as a 2003 theatrical film starring Eddie Murphy and Terence Stamp. This first visit to the mall multiplexes was greeted by general dislike from critics and a treacly showing at the box office. By this point in time and with bleak financial returns, The Haunted Mansion was designated as the Jan Brady of Disney’s theme park rides to its four other movie adaptation siblings: Tower of Terror, Mission to Mars, The Country Bears and Pirates of the Caribbean. In other words, the film hit with a resounding thud with any dreams for sequels and spinoffs about as dead as the benign fictional ghosts which resided in various and sundry Haunted Mansions in Disney parks around the world. Never let it be said, however, that the gremlins at the Disney studios give up easily…
Word has come down from our brethren in the know – The Hollywood Reporter – that a brand-spankin’ new iteration of The Haunted Mansion is in the works courtesy of prolific scribe and actor Katie Dippold. Dippold, known for her skill in turning a phrase for such projects as MADtv and Parks and Recreation was tapped to reimagine Mansion after early and positive buzz from such projects as The Heat and 2016’s Paul Feig directed reboot of Ghostbusters.
The new Haunted Mansion enterprise will be produced by gents Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich for their Rideback production house and is intended as a live action movie. Rideback was one of the maestros behind the billion dollar haul for Disney’s recent live action Aladdin remake and it’s a safe bet that Disney is hoping some of that good juju will lend itself to their sophomore effort in taking Haunted Mansion to the silver screen. This jaded, seen-it-all filmaholic can only offer one good bit of advice to the otherwise canny and savvy snake oil salesmen that constitutes Disney in 2020: Get ye to a blu ray player or a streaming device STAT and watch copiously and religiously director Alan Rafkin’s 1966 so goofy that it crosses over into the sublime film paean The Ghost and Mister Chicken. Wanna know how to properly balance clean family scares with goofy fun? This little gem might just be their blueprint in how to build a better commercial and box office juggernaut. If cliff notes to this Don Knotts masterpiece doesn’t work? Pray. And then grab the very first safe trip you can finagle to the Magical Kingdom and witness the bliss of a Haunted Mansion theme park ride that’s been getting it right since 1969.