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  1. #61

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    It's a pity that the attraction has to be bombarded with cartoon skeletons and santa hats from October through December. It stands well enough on its own, and its themes are more than appropriate for October as it is -- I will never understand why Jack Skellington was invited to the Mansion during its most appropriate season.

    Easy, MasterG, easy... it's marketing and merchandising. Disney realized all too late that they weren't making fortunes from Tim Burton's little romp and they went from zero to hero, embracing Nightmare Before Christmas rather than ignoring it.... maybe embracing it a little too strongly (surprised it doesn't have its own land yet!). And in their mind, it's a perfect fit because it embodies both Halloween AND Christmas.

    And being Disneyland with a mostly local make-up, it's much simpler to close it down for two months out of the year to promote the holiday layover. This just couldn't be done in WDW where visitors travel from afar and if the beloved Haunted Mansion was closed, there would be hell to pay.


    As for the question on relevance, I think ghosts, no matter how gory or scary are always relevant as people of all ages continue to be fascinated by them. Gore-fests are appealing to a good chunk, but it's not embraced by the family mentality... all the same there will never be a Pirate ride at a Disney park where actual rape and killing occur.


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  2. #62

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Relevance is what people make it.

    - Joe
    Last edited by Quacky4Donald; 11-02-2008 at 09:23 PM.

  3. #63

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Quote Originally Posted by dougeebear View Post
    As to the Haunt industry, you can't really compare blood-and-gore to classic atmosphere. Each has their place, much as the movies that inspired them. Psycho is a creepy film, while SAW is an edge-of-your-seat gore fest. Neither is really more relevant to today's audience than the other; both speak to segments of the population.

    As an example, look at the Hallowed Haunting Grounds. This haunt was open for many, many years until the owners went on to other things. But it was all atmospheric rather than gore. And there is a large conversation in the haunt community over atmosphere vs gore, how much gore is too much, etc. It all just depends on which audience you're trying to reach.
    As part of the "haunting" industry I feel you hit the nail on the head. We have always looked up to the Haunted Mansion as the ultimate Haunted House. When we have gatherings at DL that is the first stop because most haunters feel that it is one of the best. You don't need gore to creep people out. The use of Scrim, peppers ghosts, and other classice scare methods are so well used that it is the best.
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  4. #64

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Blood and gore and people that jump out to scare you are created by and viewed by the lazy. They are the easy way out, that which requires the least thought.

    The Haunted Mansion, on the other hand, is like a classic Hitchcock 'scary' thriller. It requires you to think, it builds anticipation and fear. It makes you wonder what is around the next corner, just as Hitchcock made you wonder when the birds were going to attack and what was going to happen in the shower. Only on rare occasions did it come to blood, and even then, it was only in black and white.

  5. #65

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojave View Post
    Blood and gore and people that jump out to scare you are created by and viewed by the lazy. They are the easy way out, that which requires the least thought.

    The Haunted Mansion, on the other hand, is like a classic Hitchcock 'scary' thriller. It requires you to think, it builds anticipation and fear. It makes you wonder what is around the next corner, just as Hitchcock made you wonder when the birds were going to attack and what was going to happen in the shower. Only on rare occasions did it come to blood, and even then, it was only in black and white.

    Blood, gore, and startles may be easy to accomplish and take in, but it can't be debated that it doesn't get results. More-so from a generation that, let's face it, is clueless as to what a classic Hitchcock thriller is.

    I, for one, appreciate what Hitchcock was able to do for that genre, and I fully understand the mindset one has to be in to enjoy one of his stories. However, I just can't bring myself to sit through an entire film that I find truly boring. It's not that I crave dead bodies and gallons of excrement, I simply need more sustenance than what is provided in those films.

    Sustenance that can be found in an experience like the The Haunted Mansion. Diverse locations rich in detail, an absolutely genius musical score, and a broad range of iconic characters. And yet, nothing about it actually "scares" me. The only things that ever came close were the old "I DO" pop-ups in the attic that are now long gone. If I'm looking for amazing settings and atmosphere as well as the stuff that I find scary, I'll head over to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights.

    The Haunted Mansion is like a time capsule of things and ideas (not to mention, Disney Imagineering) that were scary "back in the day" and I love it because of that, so it will be forever relevant to me. To children, The Haunted Mansion is a "gateway ride" if you will, meaning that when they are able to conquer this, they're ready to take on just about anything else the park has to throw at them. As for everyone else, the ride is a staple of Disneyland Park and it will always be expected by APers and first-timers alike.

    So in short, our mansion isn't going anywhere.

  6. #66

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    So... where does Timmy fit in to this relevant question?
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  7. #67

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Sambo View Post
    The word "than" has all but dissappeared - replaced by "then"...
    So much for the value of education.
    People are taught all of these things, but most rarely retain much beyond the final exam each semester. There are some people who retain pretty much everything, however. What I wonder is how people can substitute the wrong word phonetically and still believe that what they're saying makes any sense. An example I've seen a couple of times recently on this forum is "...give [some person] their do"--were they giving somebody their due credit or their hairstyle?

    I have many pet peeves regarding grammar that I usually keep to myself, but the worst, for some reason, is when people say "I" instead of "me"--it's almost as bad as the converse. I believe that this phenomenon is most likely the result of overzealously correcting children who say things like "Me and Mickey are going to Disneyland," attacking the misuse of the word "me" to the point where now most adults say grammatically incorrect things like "Is anybody going to meet Mickey and I at Disneyland?" ARGH!

    Anyway, on the subject of specific movie tie-ins, my view is quite complex with few absolutes, and each case has to be considered individually. Generally speaking, I prefer Disneyland to have rides based on concepts original to the park, which in turn would be based on timeless ideas (or futuristic ones in the case of Tomorrowland) instead of whatever the latest box office hit or apparent thematic tie-in might be. Concept and execution are both important but can be considered separately when critiquing an attraction.

    The regular Haunted Mansion certainly meets my criteria for an ideal Disneyland attraction: an original concept based on timeless ideas. In addition, its execution is marvelous. The holiday overlay, however, is anything but ideal. The Nightmare Before Christmas may be quite a good movie, which always helps, but whatever timeless ideas and themes it may have are not used in the overlay, which is simply an aesthetic one based on something that turned out to be a disaster in the movie itself, namely mixing Halloween with Christmas. In most cases, this would simply mean poor execution because people would always be aware of the main themes of a movie-based attraction, however in this case it's just an overlay of an existing attraction with a different name, and as with the movie itself there is an overemphasis on celebrating the disaster rather than presenting it as the raging internal conflict that it is. Taken as a whole, Haunted Mansion Holiday truly is just a seasonal throwaway thing, not the classic, eternally relevant attraction that the real Haunted Mansion will always be.

    While we're on the subject, a set of examples we should look at are the Fantasyland attractions based on Disney's fairy tale animated features. While they're based on movies, which I claimed is less than ideal, this type of movie is where Walt Disney got his start in feature-length subjects, and (somewhat ironically in this context) formed the basis on which the whole concept of Disneyland developed: telling stories. These movies are based on stories that have proven to be classics over time, and the movies themselves have generally become classics, as well. What we have here is a case of rides based on movies (less than ideal) and are Disney-themed (also less than ideal), but are nevertheless intrinsic to their area of the park (execution can be evaluated separately). This is why I said earlier that there are no absolutes with regard to what belongs in Disneyland and what doesn't. In another thread, the suggestion of a new Fantasyland attraction based on Beauty and the Beast was brought up, and I think that it would fit right in because fairy tales don't get more classic than this one, and it's one of the four animated features that epitomized Disney's so-called "Renaissance" or "Second Golden Age" of animation. Had such an idea come up, say, 15 years ago I might have hesitated because you can't keep putting in every new fad that comes along just because it's temporally "relevant," but with time comes perspective, and I think that this is a good idea along with the upcoming attraction based on The Little Mermaid (although it belongs in Fantasyland). OK, I just fibbed a little bit--I knew that these two movies were classics as soon as I saw them, but time does help in proving such assessments.

    One more example I'd like to look at is one of the first brought up in this thread: replacing the Swiss Family Treehouse with Tarzan's Treehouse. Both attractions are based on Disney movies that are based on existing novels involving shipwrecked families, so there certainly are parallels between the two. Ignoring any nostalgia I have for the former attraction during its long run at Disneyland, I'd actually say that in terms of ideas and themes Tarzan digs deeper into the meaning of family (especially when your family is of a different species) in addition to covering ground on what it means to be human. These are timeless themes that are deserving of a Disneyland attraction, and the original story is itself kind of a "pulp classic" (although few people these days know the true character and story, Disney's version is surprisingly representative in some ways), so conceptually I have no problems with the newer attraction. That said, I agree with some of the criticism over its execution in comparison to that of the original attraction, but that is a different matter.
    Last edited by Robert Cook; 11-03-2008 at 08:57 PM.

  8. #68

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post
    In another thread, the suggestion of a new Fantasyland attraction based on Beauty and the Beast was brought up, and I think that it would fit right in because fairy tales don't get more classic than this one, and it's one of the four animated features that epitomized Disney's so-called "Renaissance" or "Second Golden Age" of animation.

    I think it would depend entirely on execution. For some reason, the old Fantasyland dark rides draw me in so much more... like it was speaking to me on a more visceral level, giving me moods and feelings based on what I'm experiencing. Winnie the Pooh and Monsters Inc, both recent, do not do that as they are more passive in nature. Can Beauty and the Beast be told in a very short ride system method? Or would it need to be given the E-Ticket Haunted Mansion treatment like Little Mermaid?

    I think the new method of having huge bulky ride vehicles with large show rooms have changed the entire feel of the dark ride.. and not for the best.


    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post
    One more example I'd like to look at is one of the first brought up in this thread: replacing the Swiss Family Treehouse with Tarzan's Treehouse. Both attractions are based on Disney movies that are based on existing novels involving shipwrecked families, so there certainly are parallels between the two. Ignoring any nostalgia I have for the former attraction during its long run at Disneyland, I'd actually say that in terms of ideas and themes Tarzan digs deeper into the meaning of family (especially when your family is of a different species) in addition to covering ground on what it means to be human. These are timeless themes that are deserving of a Disneyland attraction, and the original story is itself kind of a "pulp classic" (although few people these days know the true character and story, Disney's version is surprisingly representative in some ways), so conceptually I have no problems with the newer attraction.
    Grrr but don't you see that --

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post
    (cutting coheteboy off) That said, I agree with some of the criticism over its execution in comparison to that of the original attraction, but that is a different matter.
    fine.


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  9. #69

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    My problem with the treehouse isn't as much thematic, as it is placing stupid cartoon characters in Adventureland. Why not have the hippos from Fantasia in the jungle cruise? Or a Chibi Indy?

    To me - the only land these cartoon figures belong is Fantasyland. That goes for Buzz and Woody as well. Blasphemy!







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  10. #70

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Sambo View Post
    My problem with the treehouse isn't as much thematic, as it is placing stupid cartoon characters in Adventureland. Why not have the hippos from Fantasia in the jungle cruise? Or a Chibi Indy?

    To me - the only land these cartoon figures belong is Fantasyland. That goes for Buzz and Woody as well. Blasphemy!
    Exactly. Things get visually funky when you start throwing cartoon characters into environments that are supposed to be quasi-realistic, no matter whether the theme is relevant (Tarzan's Treehouse) or not (BLAB). However, we should add Critter Country and Toontown to the list of areas where cartoon characters can be acceptable - but only if they're thematically relevant to those areas.


  11. #71

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    I think it would depend entirely on execution. For some reason, the old Fantasyland dark rides draw me in so much more... like it was speaking to me on a more visceral level, giving me moods and feelings based on what I'm experiencing.
    They certainly do that, although the Haunted Mansion doesn't exactly tell a linear story, either. It's like comparing long, slow panoramic shots to quick jump-cutting in movies--each can be quite involving in their own way, at a totally different pace, although some people have a definite preference for one over the other. Personally, I like variety, and am glad to have both types of attraction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    Winnie the Pooh and Monsters Inc, both recent, do not do that as they are more passive in nature.
    That's right. The current Fantasyland dark rides don't even try to tell the whole story in a nutshell--instead they focus on certain moments that are easily translatable into a visceral experience, leaving the rest to your knowledge of the story. Although the Winnie the Pooh ride had some potential, in my opinion, it wasn't realized. Monsters, Inc. was a decent enough movie (all of Pixar's movies are good to great), but it's a bit "soft" for the kind of short-format ride that you have in mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    Can Beauty and the Beast be told in a very short ride system method?
    I think that one could tell almost any story in the short format as long as there are enough memorable moments as well as intense ones, both of which BatB has in spades. We'd have to go through scene-by-scene to find out what such a ride would be like and whether it would really be worthwhile, but there is a lot of material to work with, such as: Maurice's crazy log-cutting contraption, Beast's scary castle, his lair in the castle, the tavern scene, a glittering ballroom, a violent mob attacking the castle, a big fight involving lightning strikes, and a transformation at the end.

    BatB is not the easiest movie to translate into a storytelling ride because of certain character dynamics, but this format avoids this issue. The only general problem I see is that many of the movie's setpieces were designed with a very large scale and scope in mind, which is perhaps less than ideal for a small dark ride; then again, just look at what was accomplished with the volcano fly-around in Peter Pan's Flight (now there's some good execution!).

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    Or would it need to be given the E-Ticket Haunted Mansion treatment like Little Mermaid?
    I don't know much about the ride based on The Little Mermaid that is planned for DCA, but have you seen the original concept for the ride on the latest DVD set of the movie? You're suspended from a track above your head much like in Peter Pan's Flight, but instead of flying you start out floating on the "water" and then dive underneath the "surface" defined by lasers scanning through fog. The ride resembles the current Fantasyland dark rides in most respects except that it's more linear in telling the story and seems to move at a slower pace through fewer, larger scenes (sort of a compromise between these rides and the Haunted Mansion). It looks really cool, and I hope that the version based on the Omnimover system will be just as good. My point here is that whatever the upcoming ride turns out to be like, The Little Mermaid sure seems to translate well to the smaller format.

    As for BatB, although I think that a small dark ride could work, honestly it would benefit a lot from a larger, longer ride. The large scale of the setpieces, as mentioned earlier, could obviously make use of additional space. In addition, the Beast's castle is almost a character in and of itself, which obviously parallels the Haunted Mansion in some respects, and is key to the movie fitting a slower, longer, more detailed ride format. Some enhancements to the castle settings could be made to bring people more into the story. For example, guests probably wouldn't find the castle's interior architecture as scary as Belle did after she made the deal because they hadn't really gone through the same ordeal, so the gargoyles on the capitals of the columns could make creepy movements and sounds as guests pass by. And some of the sets could be scaled down dramatically in order to create a claustrophobic feeling that emphasizes the theme of imprisonment that both of the main characters go through. Beast is imprisoned in his own body because of the spell but more importantly by his inability to empathize with others, while Belle is imprisoned in the castle but more importantly by the limitations that society would impose on her (she has her books, but the selection is quite limited until she is introduced to the castle's library). This should be clear enough to anybody who understands the movie, but a ride is a different experience, so it sometimes has to evoke certain ideas and feelings in a different manner. The much larger scale of later sets like the library and ballroom would provide a major contrast that emphasizes the feeling of the release of the characters from their internal prisons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    I think the new method of having huge bulky ride vehicles with large show rooms have changed the entire feel of the dark ride.. and not for the best.
    We all want the right concepts to be made into attractions at Disneyland, but given that, ultimately the execution of these concepts is what determines the success of the attractions. A big part of being successful is matching the type of attraction and ride system to each concept, and in the case of BatB I'd go with the large format for the reasons given above, although the small format would probably work, too.

  12. #72

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    Re: "Relevance" and the Haunted Mansion

    Comparing the Haunted Mansion with what Knott's has -- or any other local seasonal haunted house -- is like comparing apples to oranges. They are attempting to please two different audiences. The people who frequent these other haunted places are often a teen audience who plan on visiting one time a year at most.

    That Haunted Mansion remains relevenant because it seems to remain popular with audiences of all ages still today. It's also not some seasonal attraction like all of the others. It's packs the same amount of fun no matter what time of the year you visit it.

    The Haunted Mansion is like the original Dracula and Frankenstein movies. No matter how many horror films have been made since and no matter how many times these two films have been remade, they continue to be held in the highest regard by all those who have seen them. Is Bela Legosi not Dracula in most people's minds? Is Boris Karloff not the only Frankenstein they think of? As long as that is the case, they continue to remain relevant even today.

    The Haunted Mansion will continue to be the ultimate 'haunted house' regardless of how many newer, hipper, gorier versions come along. It won't become less relevant until someone else truly tops it -- and I wouldn't hold my breath for that to happen.

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