My darlings, I’m sure it’s a surprise to no one that I have a certain appreciation for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. From the grisly corpse of the hanged host, illuminated in the cupola of the stretching elevator by flashes of lightning, to the ghostly visage of Madame Leota calling spirits forth, there is a certain celebration of dark illusion there, as the Disney “Imagineers” reverently placed every last detail of their haunt.
I have a special fondness for the paintings in the “stretching room,” particularly the deliciously precarious Tightrope Walker. As the floor slowly drops beneath your feet, their portraits transform from benign pastoral images to scenes of murder and madness. Long-Forgotten, the repository of all things Haunted Mansion history, recounts the intriguing story of how the Tightrope Walker’s face has changed over time, while The Blogess did a lovely piece on the Tightrope Walker’s particular brand of madness.
If the latest news that Guillermo del Toro is making a Haunted Mansion movie is true, we Haunted Mansion fans are in some rather good company. I was thinking of just this, my dears, when I came across this video to create a lovely 19th-century inspired Haunted Mansion look, complete with doe eyes and upswept curls…perhaps the perfect look for Halloween, should you plan to spend the evening as the hostess of your own haunted estate.
“Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat; call in the spirits, wherever they’re at. Rap on a table; it’s time to respond. Send us a message from somewhere beyond. Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween: awaken the spirits with your tambourine. Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond; let there be music, from regions beyond! Wizards and witches, wherever you dwell, give us a hint, by ringing a bell!“
- Madame Leota, The Haunted Mansion