Ducktales Short Proves There's Still Life in Disney's Haunted Mansion
Earlier this summer, DuckTales received a much needed modern reboot that actually compliments and builds on the original series. And now that the show is in full swing, Disney XD is having some fun with the Duck family. As part of a month-long Halloween build up, Disney is teaming up with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios (the team behind Robot Chicken) promos. In the first video, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby find their way on the grounds of the Haunted Mansion. Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, Bobby Moynihan, and Kate Micucci voice their respective characters as their quest for the Ghost Bride’s ring brings them face-to-face with Baby Boo and the Hatbox Ghost.
Disney really stumbled upon something special here. The stop-motion animation is terrific, and it makes the Haunted Mansion characters seem more alive, if you know what I mean. It’s the perfect fusion of modern and classic, much like the new DuckTales. Unlike Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney failed to make a franchise out of this theme park ride. But maybe now is the right time to try again. Ideally, Disney would put Stoopid Buddy Stoodios to work on a Haunted Mansion animated series. But there are definitely other ways to resurrect the 999 ghosts and ghouls who live in the most haunted house in America.
As opposed to Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion has a lot of its backstory and mythology in place from the ride itself. For decades, Disney theme park visitors have seen the Ghost Bride, Madame Leota, the Stretching Portraits, the Hitchhiking Ghosts, and more. And we can’t forget about the Singing Busts, and their catchy tunes! Even the Ghost Host has a lot of personality, just from his voice alone. Some of the more recent Haunted Mansion material has suggested that the Ghost Host was once Master Edward Gracey, a previous owner who hung himself in the gallery. But at least he’s got a sense of humor about it!
Disney started developing the Haunted Mansion characters all the way back in 1969, with The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion album. But it wasn’t until 2005 that the characters were given more individual attention in the Haunted Mansion comic book anthology series by Slave Labor Graphics. Of course, the biggest attempt to franchise the characters came in the 2003 Haunted Mansion movie with Eddie Murphy. However, that film just couldn’t quite capture the charm of the ride. Again, the first Pirates movie made it look too easy!
Seven years ago, Guillermo del Toro was set to write and direct a new Haunted Mansion movie that he described as scary and fun. Instead, the project never rose from its grave. But there’s no reason that the Haunted Mansion can’t get a revival. Perhaps Disney should consider the stop-motion animation for a new movie. The Nightmare Before Christmas has proven to have staying power with the fans, and it’s an approach that clearly works in the new Haunted Mansion promo. All it takes is the imagination and the will to see it through. We won’t need our death certificates...hopefully. Either way, The Haunted Mansion deserves to live again.
Images: Disney XD