Happy Halloween week, kids! I can think of no better way to celebrate than by going to the Haunted Mansion. If you’re in the parks right now, you’re obligated.
If you’re not? Never fear; I have you covered! Sure, we could watch a few on-ride videos, or even dig up some archival material. But since we’re all groovy dudes, I’d like to bring to your attention some vinyl records. Both were produced officially by Disney in the ’60s to promote the upcoming/new Haunted Mansion attraction, and they’re absolute musts for any Haunted Mansion fan (Me! Me!).
CHILLING, THRILLING SOUNDS OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE
The first, Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House, is from 1964 and features a spooky lady (Madame Leota?) guiding you through a second-person adventure story as you yourself brave the Haunted Mansion.
What makes this record particularly interesting is that it came out 5 years before the ride actually opened, so you get a more early-concepts version than a straight ahead walk-through of the ride. In fact, the record as a whole is more a loosely connected collection of eerie concepts than a story. After all, this is the Haunted House, not the Haunted Mansion!
THE HAUNTED MANSION STORY
The second, The Haunted Mansion Story!, is from 1969, and this story is not about you. Instead we follow Ron Howard and his nobody girlfriend (just kidding; the actress is named Robie Lester, but did she direct Apollo 13? No) as they escape from a thunderstorm by sheltering in the Haunted Mansion. Thurl Ravenscroft is there too! He’s GRRRRRRRRREAT.*
* Rim shot.
This record came out in tandem with the opening of the original ride, and so you get a story this time, and more in keeping with the final product – at least, the final product as it appeared in its first year. The Hatbox Ghost is still there and everything! Ron Howard is VERY brave.
Either or both of these stories would be great for a kids’ Halloween party or family horror night – they’re both spooky and evocative without tipping over into downright terror. Or just pop on some headphones, turn out the lights, and let your imagination fill in the rest. I guarantee wall to wall creeps and hot and cold running chills!
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