So much for Disney’s anti-Woke agenda.
Back in 2003, Disney made a movie about one of it’s long-standing attractions with a slightly past his sell-by-date leading man.
No, not Pirates of the Caribbean.
I’m talking about the one that failed.
The Haunted Mansion starring Eddie Murphy. I suppose when all is said and done, the reason it failed is that it needed to be a scary movie with some comedy thrown in and it didn’t deliver on that. It was a comedy with a couple of jump-scares and that was it. Honestly, The Ghost and Mister Chicken was a better film.
In 2010 there was an announcement that Disney was trying again but this time with Guillermo del Toro. Now, that sounded just about right. He was easily the best man for the job. Everyone who heard about that project was stoked about it.
And then it quietly vanished.
It’s been another ten years. Disney has never in its history been in the dire straights than it is now. They need a low risk, high return, guaranteed to make money projects. So Disney is making another Haunted Mansion movie.
And they’ve hired Katie Dippold, the woman who wrote Ghostbuster (2016), to write it.
I shit you not.
“Dippold’s background seems to heavily lean The Haunted Mansion in the direction of comedy, since her resume includes writing for Parks and Recreation, along with the 2017 Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn movie Snatched. Will the studio dare to walk the halls of family comedy after its previous adaptation didn’t please a lot of fans? It’s frankly too early to tell until a director is picked out for The Haunted Mansion.”
Dippold has no background whatsoever in horror. What she has always written is girl-power feminist scripts. I will grant that she writes decent comedy but it’s always been pretty solidly left of center stuff.
Now, I can be magnanimous. The original script for Ghostbuster 2016 appears to have been shredded on the set. There was constant stream of thought improvisation going on by the cast, throughout the entire production. And she wasn’t responsible for the basic concepts, Paul Feige was.
Regardless, the rest of her career has been strictly GRRL POWER stories.
And I guarentee that’s why she was hired.
Unlike the Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion has something close to the storyline. In the original iteration, the death of the Bride was either malicious or tragic depending on how the attendee chose to interpret the events he/she was watching. After 2006 the story was firmed up and was now the tale of Constance Hatchaway, a black-widow, who offed several previous husbands before acquiring her last victim and the Haunted Mansion with it.
So, I suppose there is something vaguely feminist to work with here.
The pity of it is that there is a much creepier story to work with if they would only use Disneyland – Paris’ Phantom Manor story.
“Henry Ravenswood (born 1795) was a Western settler who struck gold in Big Thunder Mountain and founded the Thunder Mesa Mining Company, thus creating the city of Thunder Mesa. Ravenswood became rich and built himself a Victorian manor high on Boot Hill overlooking Big Thunder Mountain, where he lived with his wife Martha (born 1802) and his daughter, Melanie Ravenswood (born 1842).
Big Thunder Mountain was rumored by natives to be home to a Thunder Bird possessing a treasure. According to the legend, its wrath could be materialized into a terrible earthquake. However, Ravenswood would not believe such stories. Years went by and the gold in Big Thunder Mountain became scarce, making miners dig deeper into the mountain.
Melanie grew from a young girl into a beautiful young woman and became drawn to several suitors who planned to take her far away from Thunder Mesa, much to the dismay of Henry. Henry did everything he could to stop this, with the first four being subjected to various cruel fates. Sawyer Bottom was sawed in half by a saw blade, Captian Rowan D. Falls fell off of a waterfall, Ignatius “Iggy” Knight was blown up by dynamite and Barry Claude was mauled to death by a bear. With Bottom, Falls, Knight and Claude all dead, Henry’s attempts became useless in order to stop Melanie in the midst of being engaged to a train engineer named Jake when a terrible earthquake killed him and Martha in 1860. It seemed the Thunder Bird had been awakened and the family was never heard of again. After several years, the story of what really happened came out from underneath the rubble:
On Melanie’s wedding day, a mysterious Phantom unknown to anyone appeared in the house. Unbeknownst to anyone, this was the spirit of Henry himself, seeking vengeance on Jake for his defiance of him. While Melanie was preparing in her room, Henry lured Jake up to the attic where he hanged him by the neck from the rafters.
In the ballroom, the bride sat alone. Hours went by with no sign of the groom. Guests slowly filed away, leaving Melanie alone in the house with the staff of maids and butlers. “Some day”, she told herself, “he will come”. And so, having never taken off her wedding dress or dropped her flower bouquet, in preparation for her loved one’s return, she wandered the house aimlessly, singing melancholy songs of lost love.
But Henry was still in the house, laughing at his daughter’s devotion to her intended husband. One after one, Henry invited his dead, demonic friends from the afterlife to fill the house in an eternal party. A dark curse fell upon the house and the shape of the house was slowly transformed by the evil forces. No one ever set foot in the house ever since.
Inside and outside, the house was decaying with age. Dusty cobwebs covered every inch, the disheartened staff not caring, for it was rumored that Melanie had lost her mind. She wandered the house for years and years, singing softly to her groom, while all around her demons and ghosts reveled and danced. Everywhere she went she was reminded of the wedding. Her father’s eternal laughter still carried through the walls of the house. Outside, the once beautiful grounds were falling apart and crumbling. The gilded staircase and structure were dotted with mold and trees and every plant on the grounds died. As if sensing the evil inherent in the house, nothing living ever trod there. Even so, Melanie kept her hopes, waiting for her love’s return and never figured why he didn’t show up at the wedding.
The earthquake that killed her parents all those years ago cut a huge gouge in the west half of the property and in the crumbling ghost town of the old Thunder Mesa. The deserted buildings were rumored to be called Phantom Canyon, the dark supernatural version of the town and anyone who entered the ghastly old town at night never came back.
Today, no one knows if Melanie Ravenswood is still alive in that old house on the hill. If she is, then she is well over 100 years old. Her beautiful voice still carries over the town at night though, through the walls of the house and night air. And sometimes, people still see lights in the house.
Some nights, when the moon is full and the sky is clear of clouds, one can still hear the lonely mourning of the bride, the maniacal laughter of Henry, and the faint tinkle of glass and the laughter of party guests. Whether she is alive or not, what is well known is that poor Melanie never really left the crumbling mansion. She waits for a groom until Judgement Day. And if you set foot in the house, her eye might be on you…”
I’m honestly sorry I’m never going to be able to go through that ride.
I’m even more sorry that I won’t be able to do Mystic Manor. Had I known what I was missing, I would have hopped a ride to Hong Kong when I was stationed on Okinawa.
It suffices to say that either of these stories would have been vastly superior to the dreck that Disney is about blow millions, (that they can’t afford), on.
Yeah, it’s gonna suck.