Disney Fans Rejoice!! If you haven't heard yet, award winning director, Guillermo del Toro is in the process of working on a highly anticipated reboot film based on Disney's famous ride-through attraction, The Haunted Mansion. Del Toro's most recent film, Crimson Peak, was released on DVD this week and it proves that he absolutely knows how to handle a haunted mansion and some visually stunning ghosts. Wasn't there already a Haunted Mansion movie starring Eddie Murphy, you ask? The answer you may get from the majority of the attraction's cult following is, "Unfortunately, yes". Although, the original movie isn't the worst live-action Disney film, a lot of hardcore fans of the mythology of the attraction were greatly disappointed and believe that the film missed out on a lot of opportunities to do The Haunted Mansion justice. So, if you were unaware of this reboot, I have some good news and bad news for you:
The Good News:
When Guillermo del Toro announced the movie during the Disney panel at Comic Con, we learned that it would be a live action 3D reboot and we got to see a teaser image of the new logo (below).
Since this massively exciting announcement, we also learned that Ryan Gosling is in talks as the star of the film.
Awesome, right? Well, sort of.
Here's the bad news:
That Comic Con announcement that I told you about? That was in 2010 during the Tron: Legacy panel. Yes. Almost 6 years ago. And the news about Ryan Gosling was some of the only news we've heard since and that was released at the end of 2015. No release date. Nothing. If we have to wait another 5 years for more news, I don't think I can handle it.
Although, one thing that is in our favor is that Del Toro and Gosling are both known to be Haunted Mansion super-fans like many of us, so we all want the same thing: the perfect adaptation! So I, being a super-fan myself, have come up with a list of 5 things that we absolutely NEED to see in this movie (whenever it comes out). If you have any other ideas of what you want to see, speak up in the comments! There's a whole lot more than 5 thing that should show up!
1. The Hatbox Ghost
One of the biggest and most talked about things among HM fans is The Hatbox Ghost. If you don't know who he is, here's a (somewhat) quick rundown: The Hatbox Ghost was an audio animatronic that was used in a lot of the promotional photos of The Haunted Mansion when it was being built. The premise was that Hatbox was one of the infamous bride's deceased husbands. His head would vanish from his shoulders and reappear in a hatbox that he carried with him. His image was seen on almost everything so fans awaiting the grand opening of the ride were expecting to see him upon riding in their "Doom Buggies". On August 9, 1969, The Haunted Mansion opened in Disneyland's New Orleans Square. The Hatbox Ghost was nowhere to be found. Disney imagineers announced that the character had been taken out of the ride before opening due to the illusion not working as well as intended. The Hatbox Ghost became even more of an urban legend when years and years later, a home video surfaced on YouTube from the attraction's early days. In the video you can see what looks like the prop resting in the background, near where it originally was placed. After years of fans speculating and creating stories around this famous character, Disney decided to give a gift to the devoted fans of The Mansion. In 2015, a perfectly working version of The Hatbox Ghost now sits in the attic, forever teleporting his head to and from his hatbox.
2. The Black Widow Bride
You can't have The Hatbox Ghost unless you have his murderer herself, The Bride, who is generally known by the name Constance. This character has developed a few times with technology advancements to become the chilling figure she is today. Starting out as a basic mannequin with a fan, The Bride is now a fully functional audio animatronic with a projected face that makes her look like a live actress. Undeniably one of the scariest (and least family friendly) characters in The Mansion, The Bride recites unsettling wedding vows (such as, "Until death do us part") while flashing her hatchet which she used to dismember her numerous husbands. If The Hatbox Ghost is confirmed for the movie, I can see a good part of the story being about this devious murderess.
3. The Stretching Portraits
One of the very first things you witness upon entering The Mansion, is the infamous Stretching Room. Before you even board the "Doom Buggies", you are led into a circular room where you are surrounded by 4 portraits of seeming normal people. Soon after, the room begins stretching and the fates of each of these people are soon revealed. The bottom of each portrait shows something rather dismaying that befell each character. Some skilled fans have even noticed that the woman sitting on the grave is indeed The Bride herself! It's little hidden things like this which can really translate well to film and be fun for diehard fans to notice. Even if we don't get the portraits the way we expect them, it would be interesting to get the characters' backstories.
4.Master Gracey or The Ghost Host
The owner of The Mansion, and the man who is rumored to have built it in this story, is Master Gracey. We have learned that he has since departed, as we can see his gravestone and soon after, his fate in a changing portrait in the main foyer. Some argue that Master Gracey is the disembodied voice that we hear throughout the ride even though it has been stated a few times that he is a separate character.It can almost be assumed that Master Gracey will be played by Ryan Gosling himself and depending on the timeframe, he could be a ghost or a living human being tormented by ghosts. He could even bring along his "Notebook" house building skills. He could be a great fit or maybe Del Toro will reuse Crimson Peak's Tom Hiddleston, as the character of Thomas Sharpe was very "Master Gracey-like".
5. The Hitchhiking Ghosts
What would The Haunted Mansion be without it's most well-known residents that tend to follow guests home. In the very last scene of the ride, due to mirrors and now projection and TV screens, the ride-goers are surprised by seeing themselves being accompanied by one of three goofy spirits who hitched a ride in their "Doom Buggy". Del Toro has the opportunity to fix what the original movie messed up. The ghostly trio only appeared in the movie for an insanely brief period of time. Maybe we can move these characters to a more important role. Even though, it's never mentioned in the attraction, fans know these ghosts by their given names: Ezra, Gus, and Phineas. Like The Hatbox Ghost, HM fans everywhere adore these characters and it would be a mistake to leave them out of any reboot.
For anyone who hasn't been to Disney, here is the best ride-through video on the web!
So what do you think? Which characters or plot points do you think belog (or don't belong) in the reboot of The Haunted Mansion? Share your thoughts below!!