Walt Disney Pictures has just released the first trailer for its remake of Haunted Mansion, and several of the film’s elements feature things we’d rather not see in our dreams tonight.
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Have you ever wondered why moviehouses release teaser trailers? After all, most of them are barely teasers, and once the film debuts, it’s clear that very little (if any) of the content in the teasers ever made it into the final picture. If we’re honest, we’re hoping the same is true of Disney’s latest “scary” movie, Haunted Mansion.
The newest rendition of the film inspired by the iconic spooky attraction has had multiple theatrical release dates materialize since it was first announced. As of the time of this publication, Disney promises every foolish mortal interested in seeing the film in the theater that they’ll have the chance sometime in late July. Sorry, that’s the best we can do since the good folks at Walt Disney Pictures keep changing their minds . . . hmm. Maybe they’re scared?
The storyline follows a single mom named Gabbie who moves into a mansion with her son and eventually brings in a tour guide, a psychic, a priest, and a historian–anyone who can help to exorcise the spirits from inside the frightening mansion and all its “inhabitants.”
But the teaser trailer focuses very little on the storyline and is, instead, laser-focused on showcasing some of the terrifying visuals from the film–like a version of Constance Hatchaway that rivals the evil characters in some PG-13- and R-rated horror films. To be fair, we’ll say that there are pros and cons to the new trailer. And to be even more fair, we’ll start with the pros. (Also because there are far fewer of them.)
Disney’s Haunted Mansion clearly boasts a star-studded cast, sure to bring the chills and spooks of the Haunted Mansion attraction to . . . well, not life, but . . . well, you understand, and the new trailer did a quasi-decent job of showcasing several of those stars in their haunted best. Fans catch more than a few seconds of Owen Wilson as a priest, Danny DeVito as a professor who laughs a lot (you know, that maniacal laugh–not one of childish frivolity and innocence), Rosario Dawson as the young mother named Gabbie, Chase Dillon as Gabbie’s son, and if you don’t blink, you get a millisecond of Jared Leto as the notorious Hatbox Ghost.
Sorry, no Madame Leota vibes (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) in this trailer, and there’s also no sign of Ryan Gosling or Winona Ryder–not yet, anyway.
Now for the cons–and there are many; perhaps as many as 999, but we’ll spare you and only give the abridged list. The trailer makes it very clear that there will be some humor in the film–but we aren’t sure it’s enough to ease the horror factor in the film. Again, Constance Hatchaway’s appearance could give several non-Disney horror film villains a run for their ghastly money, assuming they use money. The team of exorcists would do good to start in the attic of the mansion in this version of the film.
Further, the trailer gives very little of the plot of the film–even for a teaser trailer. It’s as if the purpose of the trailer was only to show potential fans just how scary and unsettling some of the footage is. (Hey, Disney: not everyone is enamored with horror flicks, including Walt Disney, who made it clear that the Haunted Mansion attraction he envisioned for Disneyland would be a sort of silly spooky, not the stuff of nightmares.)
In short, if Disney’s point was to tease prospective audience members to pay $12 to $15 per ticket to see the film in the theater based on their interest being piqued by the storyline, the studio failed miserably. However, if their goal was to give us nightmares tonight, well, then, they might just have succeeded.
You can see the teaser trailer in its entirety below, and you can catch Disney’s Haunted Mansion in theaters on July 28. (Well, that’s the date in the most recent announcement from Disney. We’ll keep you posted.)