Friday, February 19, 2010

Freaky Fridays @ The Haunted Mansion: The Attic

After the birthday banquet, your Doombuggy rounds the corner and comes across the revamped attic, showing various portraits of the Bride with her husbands, who intermittently lose their heads over her. Although the special effect is neat, there’s something jarring about these photos and the new “improved” bride; they just don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the mansion and its tone.

For you Old School fanatics, here’s a vintage undated shot; popup ghost barely visible on far left.

Here is the first wedding portrait you see as you enter the recently revised attic area.

And without the head:

Fading fast:

This Bridal Portrait is from 1874 and shows The Marquis & Constance.

From 1875 we have Reginald & Constance; one year between marriages is not a lot of time to plan for the ceremony.

Be sure to notice the ghostly apparition making music to the right of Reginald:

Another Bridal Portrait, from 1877, shows George & Constance.

The attic bride “then” (2002) versus now, in the 2.0 version:

Frankly, neither one of them really excites me. If you're going to put a haunted bride in, something more comic in the Marc Davis style would seem to fit better. All of the characters in the mansion bear the Marc Davis magic and style stamp, with the exception being the Leota heads; for some reason, those both work for me. However, the bride just seems to break the wall and come out of nowhere like she doesn’t really belong with the other elements. An animated face rather than the face of a real person would probably be more effective for me. Same thing on the fading bridal portraits; the entire attic section seems like an "add-on"; which is also how I feel about the Jack Sparrow treasure room at the end of Pirates, which is a shame as the rest of the added figures and effects are seamless.

Before closing this post, here are a few 2002 attic photos (pre-Constance) from the Ambiguous Confabulation collection:

See more Disneyland Haunted Mansion photos on my website.


William Bezek said...

The actress chosen to play Constance is all wrong, shame on Disney! She has such a modern look that the "vintage" wedding photos are not believable at all.

stu29573 said...

Personally I always thought the original beating heart bride (from teh 70's) was far creepier than any of the newer ones. I agree that Constance doesn't fit in...

TokyoMagic! said...

Yep, Constance sticks out like a sore thumb....a great big fat and ugly sore thumb. The whole attic is trying to be too high tech now and it doesn't work with the rest of the Mansion. At least they didn't stick Eddie Murphy and Meg Tilly in the attraction. If the Haunted Mansion movie had been as big of a hit as Pirates, you just know that would have happened.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Great post & photos! To me the attic has just become a transition space from the ballroom to the graveyard. Stu is right, it used to be much creepier when it was simple.

ToykoMagic - Ouch, man am I glad the Movie was a stinker.... Everyone raise their hand if you paid to see it...


Yes, the original bride was far more eerie......the fact that the veil covered her face, and her eyes slightly glowing......and the beating heart. It was subtle, yet quickly conveyed a sad/scary character. Sometimes knowing very little about the spirit makes it far more scarier than seeing every wedding photo and remains of every wedding that she ever partook in. Wouldn't people have stopped marrying her by the second groom's decapitation?........I always thought a sitting bride --face unseen---and sobbing while holding an axe would be extremely eerie..seen beyond long forgotten steamer trunks and boxed up posesstions of long-gone residents.

Daveland said...

Mike - I love your idea about the unseen bride!

Chiana_Chat said...

While I appreciate their good intentions in trying to "plus" the Haunted Mansion, I'm afraid it's another attraction that might be best put on a "to restore to original presentation" list. It's not a bad, really should fix kind of change though.

Seems to me there are 4 kinds of changes:

A) Brilliant! Everyone can smile.
Example: Sleeping Beauty walk-through, majority of the '80s Fantasyland remodel.

B) Nice, maybe a small plus, at least not a big minus, but not needed and there were other things in the park to do. Understandable reasoning.
Example: cheap Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Nemo movie tie in "repurpouseing," Space Mountain effects.

C) Nice notion, not a plus, maybe a small minus and really, there were other things that needed attention. No apparent reasoning.
Example: fiddling with the original Haunted Mansion.

D) Put it back. These people shouldn't have fooled with that.
Example: The Plastic Cartoon Figurine Usurper's Treehouse.

They did put plenty of work into the new attic stuff. It did feel a bit vague before. So I appreciate the idea. But the "beating heart" bride did the trick fine and the new version doesn't quite belong with the larger whole. Also the couple pictured seem too modern and literal for the original HM's vibe. So, I give the changes a C, not something to get upset over but might even have been a hair better overall the way it was.

This stuff probably would have been all plus in a slight redo of Florida's, it'd probably have benefited from having some greater difference from the original.

philphoggs said...

As a personal preference, I'm not excited by the new bride at Disney World either. Actually back when the story could be interpreted, I thought that the attic was key in a different line of reasoning. The bride herself being inconsequential, but the heart beating out the life blood to the "spirits" and haunting the mansion. After the initial ride, the beating heart remained throughout the ride in my mind. A heartbeat is such a great way to connect to us mere mortals anyway :)

Jason G. said...

Great photos to go along with the story. A tough scene to illuminate.

Unknown said...

Were some of these photographs taken with a flash camera?

I didn't know the names of all the husbands; thanks for listing a few. Interesting backstory.

Daveland said...

Phillip: Yes, some of these photos were taken with a flash back in the day before I reformed my evil ways.

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the other comments: the older attic scene was MUCH BETTER than the newer version. As I went on the ride, I was immediately struck with how the new attic scene is so out of place with the tone and feel of the rest of the ride.

Bring back the one of the previous bride versions plus the swirling bats!

By Bill