In the last post I reviewed the 1963 thriller, The Haunting, a film of special interest to us inasmuch as it was a major source of inspiration for the Haunted Mansion. Earlier this year we had already exhumed The Haunting for a fresh reexamination and found some previously unnoticed connections between the film and the ride. Time now to look at three other must-see (and by Imagineers certainly-seen) haunted house flicks: The Uninvited, 13 Ghosts, and The Innocents. No toes shall be trodden upon this time, I promise.
Foxxy's survey of pre-Mansion screen horror makes only a passing allusion to The Uninvited (1944), which is puzzling. This appears to be Hollywood's first attempt at telling a haunted house story with a straight face. The premise is not debunked or played for laughs; instead, we have a well-told tale about a lonely mansion with a mysterious past that is home to some real ghosts. It was a hit. Some consider it the finest haunted house movie ever made. The ending is a little too warm and fuzzy for my tastes, and the scares are not as intense as those in The Haunting or The Innocents, but it's a very good movie.
Pam stood her ground: "You have to admit that pretty strange things go on in some matte paintings."
Just then a shot rang out, followed by a long scream! "Quick, inside that matte painting!" cried Robert.
The entry to Ken Anderson's Ghost House is undeniably similar to the one in Windward House in several ways. He conceived of a front door opening into a big room that transformed the rectangular space into a large oval, with a twisting staircase in the center rising to a balconied second floor. In both houses the look is classic Baroque rather than some form of "haunted house Gothic."
Nevertheless, in one well-known Anderson concept sketch, the look of that stairwell is eerily similar to shots of the Windward House staircase seen throughout the movie, suggesting that visual images from The Uninvited may have exerted an influence, consciously or unconsciously. That sounds pretty mushy, but take a look. There is no denying the striking similarities.
Coats had architectural training and was as involved in that aspect of the ride as in any other.
Even if this gag only goes back to the early 1980s, when the Tokyo HM was in development, it could still be a contribution from one of the original HM Imagineers, because some of them also worked on the Tokyo version. But it doesn't matter, because it's also possible that later Imagineers were inspired by The Uninvited. One place you may see such a thing is on the animated Leota gravestone at WDW, installed in 2002. Above the fireplace at Windward House is a carving that is strikingly similar to the figure of Leota. See for yourself. The resemblance is uncanny, but on the other hand it is in some ways a pretty generic "classical" face, but on the other hand this particular face is found in a haunted house, but . . . and now I've run out of hands, so I'll just say that the Leota tombstone is presently down in my book in the "solid maybe" column and let it go at that.
standard design. You find it elsewhere. Here it is on a 19th c. mirror handle:
potatoes when compared to The Haunting. Still, it's probably safe to say that it provided some inspiration for the ride.
world and brought them there, some of them scary and some of them silly in a macabre sort of way.
That is, of course, the basic premise of the Haunted Mansion as well. And remember, this was originally Walt's idea. Here he is in 1965:
world, and we're making it very attractive to them, hoping, you know, that they'll want to come and stay at Disneyland."
Since we know Walt watched the movie with the express purpose of looking for usable ideas, you can easily imagine him thinking, "Hey, that's good. Ghosts collected from all over the world. We can use that." The idea was put to immediate use, too. It's probably no coincidence that the future attraction was regularly described as "the world's greatest collection of ghosts," beginning with the 1961 souvenir guide book. That was the first time the public was told anything specific about the character of the Haunted House. In a 1962 brochure, we find Walt's "talent scouts" out there "searching" and "gathering," collecting occupants for what is now called the Haunted Mansion.
If Walt thought borrowing the premise of 13G was a good idea, Dick Irvine apparently thought it was a GREAT idea. Irvine was VP of Design at WED (WDI) from 1952 until 1973. Basically, that means he was in charge of all the Disneyland attractions. He was the boss to whom the HM Imagineers were immediately accountable, and he had ideas of his own that were sometimes thrown into the creative mix. Squair suspects that Irvine came up with a way to use the suffocating canopy bed gag after seeing it in 13 Ghosts, where it plays a major role. I think Irvine took more than an isolated gag: He took the premise of 13 Ghosts and ran further with it than either Walt or the others did.
sketch as well, without comment. You can make up your own minds. Strictly fwiw.
seems to mimic the clothing on the 13G ghost. But as always, you can make up your own minds.
imagine how an idea that wasn't used would have been used if it had been used.