Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / The Haunted Mansion

Go To

As a general note, The Haunted Mansion has its own Nightmare Fuel page for the ride, the film, and the video game.

     The Actual Ride 

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Given that the backstory for the “main” versions of the ride is rather vague (and a lot of it boils down to “whatever the Imagineers feel like that day”), the amount of alterations they’ve had over the years and the fact that the spin-off material and merchandise has a bit of Multiple-Choice Past going on, there’s naturally fuel for interpretations of the various Happy Haunts. In particular, was The Beating Heart Bride/Emily an innocent young woman that suffered a tragic fate or was she every bit as murderous as Constance Hatchaway, but more subtle about it?
  • Awesome Music: The Mansion's music is suitably gloomy and cheery, built around the catchy tune of "Grim Grinning Ghosts". Phantom Manor as well, with its orchestral and choral sound.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The Attic in the Mansions, in all of its forms. The Bride (both versions) and the Hatbox Ghost don't have anything to do with the "ghosts coming out to party" story. The tone suddenly darkens for the Attic scene as well, and it's between two light-hearted gatherings of happy haunts.
    • As traditional as the Madame Leota scene is, it doesn't really fit in too well with Phantom Manor's story, and it's strange seeing the character being used as a malicious figure by the story as well.
  • Broken Base: The WDW queue addition draws some of the most intense flame wars. Some see it as useless self-indulgent Continuity Porn that spoils a lot of things for first-time riders, others think it is a mine of clever nods to the fandom and funny new ideas that contributes to expanding the Mansion's universe. Others feel that it ruins the tone of the ride (which is dark, realistic, and ominous before turning lighthearted) by featuring cartoonish figures that immediately broadcast the eventual comic tone of the ride.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Constance Hatchaway is a malevolent ghost in a house full of playful spirits. Constance is The Bride with a Past, as in life she was a Gold Digger that married wealthy men, and then killed them by beheading them with a hatchet. She spent her adult life marrying and killing over a period of many years until she married George Hightower, the owner of the titular mansion. After marrying and killing him, she decided to settle down in her newly inherited mansion and flaunt her wealth. She eventually died and became a ghost. Seeing no more reason for money, she decided to fully embrace her sadistic love of killing and began attacking and killing others, including other ghosts, who she could kill by beheading because she actually died on the property. Many ghosts fell victim to this until they locked her in the attic. In the ride, guests are confronted by her before escaping out the window. She openly admits to her crimes and has yet to be defeated or destroyed.
    • Phantom Manor (2019 refurbishment): Henry Ravenswood is the founder of Thunder Mesa and the one behind the evils of Ravenswood Manor. In life, Henry murdered the suitors of his daughter Melanie to keep her from leaving him. After he died in an earthquake, Henry returned as the Phantom, secretly hanging Melanie's fiancé on her wedding day, causing her to wait for him to return for the rest of her life and afterlife. The Phantom laughed at her despair and began inviting other ghosts to inhabit the mansion, causing the disappearance of an expedition sent to investigate the manor. In the ride itself, the Phantom poses as a friendly guide for the guests, reminiscing about his murders before trapping the guests in the manor. He then attempts to murder the guests by sending them to be tormented by all those who died in Thunder Mesa.
  • Critical Research Failure: The fans who assumed that Master Gracey was the master of the house didn't know that in a noble family, "Master" is what you call a young man who is not yet the lord of the house, but must still be treated as an adult by the staff. Also, more Mansion-specifically, those who assumed that Aging Man/Master Gracey was also the Ghost Host didn't bother to check whether the Ghost Host already had a backstory and face… which he had. (He's the subject of the hatchet man portrait in the Corridor of Doors.)
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • The Hitchhiking Ghosts are really popular thanks to their memorable designs and amazing pepper's ghost effect to the point they tend to be seen as the ride's mascots with them showing up in commercials and having merchandise.
    • Despite his removal from the original ride, the Hatbox Ghost remained as one of the most beloved ghosts of the haunt thanks to his scary but unique design. When it was confirmed he would be returning to the mansion, many fans cheered over his inclusion and welcomed his new and even more reliable special effect.
    • To a lesser extent, Purply Shroud and Miss April-December. None of them are as insanely popular as the Hitchhiking Ghosts or Hattie, but compared to their extremely small role in the attraction proper, they still have much more fans that you'd expect.
    • Master Gracey could be said to be this. Many a Fanon makes him out to be the Ghost Host and the Master of the House, as well as the man on the 'Aging Man' portrait. However, strictly speaking, he's just a name on a tombstone as far as the ride itself is concerned (though his role in merchandise and spin-offs may make him into an Ascended Extra).
  • Fandom Heresy: The Haunted Mansion is not under a curse, and the ghosts are not trying to move on. The thesis of the ride is that death's nothing to fear and the afterlife is a party! This is one of the things the fans never forgave the movie for changing.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: There are a lot of fans who ship the Beating Heart Bride or "Emily" with the Hatbox Ghost, due the fact in the early days of the mansion they were seen together in the attic and their gimmicks were made to match up with one another. It has made many come to the conclusion that the Hatbox Ghost was supposed to be her groom, which was supported by supplementary material.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: French people love the American Old West, which is why Phantom Manor is in Frontierland and draws a lot of its plot from old Westerns.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One of the backstories for the ride involves the murdered Bride (the Beating Heart Bride who preceded Constance Hatchaway) being named Emily. A murdered undead bride named Emily... Sound familiar? Bonus points for the film in question being created by Tim Burton, producer of The Nightmare Before Christmas which takes over the Mansion every holiday season.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Phantom in "Phantom Manor" crosses it by ensuring the deaths of all of Melanie's grooms and then condeming her to haunt the house for all eternity.
  • Misaimed Marketing: Constance Hatchaway, a Black Widow who's killed at least five people for money, has been turned into a cuddly plush doll, complete with ax hidden in a bouquet.
  • Older Than They Think: There's evidence that the "black widow bride" concept was there in the earliest days of the attraction, as there were hatboxes in the attic with pop-up heads in them, which built up to the Bride and Hatbox Ghost, the latter of whom's head also disappeared into a hatbox. However, since the HBG, the implied victim, failed to work, he was removed and the story of the attic was changed, as there was no longer a victim to hint at the Bride's darker nature. In 2015, the current murderous Constance Hatchaway who replaced the Bride was joined by the HBG, although their connection is now thoroughly unclear.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The ballroom dancers are the result of the "Pepper's Ghost" effect, which uses a large mirror. One small problem: because mirrors, by definition, reverse, the women are leading the men. The Imagineers always regretted that, but the effect was too large-scale and elaborate (it's the largest "Pepper's Ghost" in the world) to fix in time for the opening, and then, in time, since nobody noticed and it would be an Easter Egg for those who would, they just decided to Throw It In!.
    • The Hatbox Ghost was removed because they could just never get the lighting trick to work right; his original head was always visible. For decades, this trope virtually defined the character and kept him "undead" in the minds of fans. Eventually, he made a triumphant return to the mansion during the 60th anniversary of the park.
    • Sometimes there's a little too much lighting in the Séance Circle, so the wires holding up Leota and the other floating objects are visible.
    • While the Walt Disney World/Tokyo Music Room pianist projection is by no means stellar, the shadow on the floor has distinct and different animations. The Phantom Manor version, however, just showed the invisible pianist with his hands to the side, tipping lightly back and forth, with no attempt to mimic piano playing. The 2019 projection is more subtle and now matches the Phantom's silhouette.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Virtually any recent update to the attraction has met with disapproval from various fans. For instance:
    • The Beating Heart Bride being replaced by Constance Hatchaway. Many comment that Constance isn't scary, while the original bride just stood silently, staring at the riders with glowing eyes, and a bright beating heart, or on the contrary complain about the fact that the current Bride is much too scary for a globally lighthearted ride that ends with all the ghost partying together and singing silly songs. Then there are also those who complain that she is openly evil while they preferred the ambiguous predecessor, who could have been melancholic or evil from one fanon to another. They also complain that the new Bride was given an official backstory, while they enjoyed imagining one for her predecessor whose story wasn't solid.
    • The new Hatbox Ghost has actually been viewed negatively by a minority for making Constance and the ballroom dancers look like cheap effects in comparison.
    • The removal of the April-December portrait was not recieved well, especially since she fit into the Portrait Hall paintings (there's a motif of "beauty doesn't last/beauty hides evil") and there was no apparent reason to get rid of her.
    • While the effect of Madame Leota flying in the Séance Room is impressive, some argue that it fitted better, thematically speaking, when she was steady in the center of the room while everything else was flying. The Haunted Mansion Holiday, which turns her ball into a spired ornament, offers an interesting compromise: Floating up and down, but remaining in the center.
    • Phantom Manor after the 2019 refurbishment. On the one hand, most fans love the new Stretching Room portraits and the new Changing Portraits in the hallway, as well as the improvements to the various sets throughout the ride, feeling that they're improvements over the previous versions. But at the same time, many also expressed displeasure with the ride putting the Haunted Mansion music for the Séance and Ballroom segments in place of the Manor's. Enough that they reverted back to the original music before the end of the soft-opening.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The Ballroom scene, Madame Leota, Constance, and the Graveyard are all impressive effects to watch.
    • The Hatbox Ghost, now that he's returned, and the technology's improved. He has gotten universal approval from fans of the character.
    • Pretty much the entirety of Mystic Manor, which had led many Disney fans clamor for that level of technological prowess and flair in the Western parks.
    • Phantom Manor's Stretching Room portraits as of the 2019 refurbishment. They start off as portraits of Melanie Ravenswood with four prospective suitors, but Melanie fades from the paintings, and then they stretch like normal. None of the original Mansions' stretching portraits have this extra layer.
  • The Woobie: The caretaker is the only living character in the ride, an elderly man who works at an old house that seems to be abandoned. Then the ghosts come out and terrify him and his dog. The premise of many Disney rides is that you're seeing something that has never happened before, so the poor man must have gotten quite a shock.

     The Film: 
  • Adorkable: From the way he presents his anniversary gift to Sara, and by how he's always cracking cringeworthy jokes, Jim comes off as a very adorkable person indeed.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Laying his racist Knight Templarism aside, does Ramsley actually care for Master Gracey in his own misguided way, or is he just a Manipulative Bastard who's using the clueless nobleman?
  • Awesome Music: For all it's faults, the tie-in album The Haunted Mansion: Haunted Hits largely consists of awesome covers of Halloween classics.
    • Two versions of the Signature Song, "Grim Grinning Ghosts": an acapella version by the singing busts from the movie, and a dark cabaret version by Barenaked Ladies.
    • Morris Day's cover of Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me," which many consider to not only be better than the original but the definitive cover.
    • Raven-Symoné's hip-hop take on the Stevie Wonder classic "Superstition." While Raven was humble enough to admit that nobody was going to beat the original, her's was a huge hit on Disney Channel.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: What happens when Ramsley curses the family. The Dragon comes right out of nowhere, attacks the 'wrong' enemy, and when it's all over is never spoken of again. bonus points for having no previous set up within the film. This was due to concerns that the original ending would be too similar to the Pirates of the Caribbean film already put out by Disney.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Jennifer Tilly's distinct voice for Leota works out evenly, when compared to the rest of the film.
  • Common Knowledge: A lot of people assume that the film was made to capitalise on the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, another film based on a Disney theme park ride — but the two films actually came out in the same year, with Mansion debuting barely five months after Black Pearl.
  • Continuity Lockout: A lot of screen time is spent on nods to things that happen in the ride — but the Haunted Mansion ride isn't very well known outside of the United States, so those nods were lost on international audiences.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Madame Leota.
  • Ham and Cheese: Terence Stamp constantly speaks in an extremely over-the-top tone throughout the movie, and is clearly enjoying every minute of it. Whether you find it entertaining or not is debatable, but you can't deny that it's memorable.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: This routine by Eddie Murphy (NSFW language). Now, what were you saying about leaving if the house was haunted, Mr. Murphy?
  • Harsher in Hindsight: As pointed out by Some Jerk with a Camera, the film's use of When You Coming Home, Dad? is Undermined by Reality when four or five years after the movie came out the mortgage market crashed meaning that it The Ever's bubble might come crashing down.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Nobody is going to call this movie a masterpiece by any means, but it's still appreciated for it's great set-design, loving nods to it's source material and awesome soundtrack.

     The video game: 


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: