From the Theme Parks to the Silver Screen
The Haunted Mansion Goes Hollywood
Welcome, curious souls, to DoomBuggies.com's Haunted Mansion Movie site, where you can learn about the stars, visit the soundstages, and enjoy exclusive content you won't find anywhere else on the web! DoomBuggies.com has spoken with the people behind the film, toured the sets, and seen the props and special effects that made this film a Haunted Mansion fan's favorite nightmare come to life. In fact, DoomBuggies.com was used by the staff of the film for research during production, and we are proud of our small contribution to a darkly beautiful film.
Pictured below: one of Disney's billboard designs used to promote the film, which is based on a scene that exists in the attraction, but not in the movie.
Discover the Film's Secrets!
Read The Legend of Gracey Manor, an exclusive official history of the Gracey family mansion written by the film's writers at the Walt Disney Studiosexclusively available to vistors of DoomBuggies.com! Click here to read The Legend!
Pictured at left: Edward Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) carries his beloved Elizabeth (Marsha Thomason) out of a mysterious Mardi Gras masquerade.
Exclusive: The "Other" Haunted Mansion Film!
That's right... back in the early '90s (and again in 1997), Disney optioned a screenplay for "The Haunted Mansion" by screenwriters Jim Hill and Sheila Greenberg. Click here to learn the story behind the project and read the entire screenplay!
Exclusive: Visit the Sets and Soundstages!
A rare look at the filmmaking process is revealed as you join Chef Mayhem and the DoomBuggies.com staff on a tour through the sets at Barwick Studios in L.A. for an in-depth inspection of the sets and props created to bring the Haunted Mansion to lifeand enjoy exclusive photos that you won't see anywhere else. Click here to visit the sets!
Pictured at right: A stroll through Gracey Manor's ancient graveyard.
Going Behind the Scenes
Discover ride-references and tributes throughout the film! Be sure to keep your eyes open for some clever subtle (and not-so-subtle) homages to the classic Disney attraction. "We're huge fans of the ride ourselves," producer Don Hahn told DoomBuggies.com. "We wanted to be as faithful to the fans of the attraction as we could." For example, keep your eyes peeled for paintings that seem to change over time. Do the images above (from the film's property vaults) seem familiar?
Also: An Exclusive Interview with Imagineer Jason Surrell!
Listen in on a candid talk with the author of The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. Jason Surrell, from Walt Disney Imagineering, has written the definitive tell-all about Haunted Mansion history that should please haunted-house afficienados and Disney fans alike! In this exclusive interview, Mr. Surrell talks about his inspiration for the book and his experiences on the movie set. Click here to read the interview.
SPECIAL: Click here to buy the book at a discount from Amazon.com!
More: The Haunted Mansion 3-D "Ghost Vision" Mall Tour!
In support of the film, Disney produced a tour through various shopping malls across the country that featured a walk-through Haunted Mansion which contained fun sets, live special effects, and actual props and costumes from the film. Click here to read an exclusive review of the tour from DoomBuggies.com. We have photos, promotional materials, and more!
A Special Sneak Preview
On October 26, 2003, weeks before the film was scheduled to open nationwide, DoomBuggies.com hosted a "Chilling Night of Ghoulish Delight" event near Walt Disney World which featured guest speaker Jason Surrell (from Walt Disney Imagineering) and a sneak preview of scenes and special effects shots from the then-upcoming Haunted Mansion film. In a filmed appearance, director Rob Minkoff and producer Don Hahn thanked DoomBuggies.com for providing a valuable resource during the filmmaking process. Surrell signed his newly released book on the Haunted Mansion, DoomBuggies.com gave away valuable door prizes (such as signed movie posters and props from the film), and DoomBuggies.com community members enjoyed an evening of meeting friends from all over the country.
Scaring Up a Soundtrack
Film composer Mark Mancina (Speed, Twister, Training Day, Brother Bear) created a fine atmosphere with his original score, which is quite appropriate for the Haunted Mansion of the film, which was described as the "central character" of the film by producer Don Hahn. Filmtracks, a respected web site with critical examinations of cinema soundtracks, describes Mancina's work for the film as a "fully orchestral and choral recording by Mancina... [which] raises ghostly whispers and outright orchestral terror just as a fan of the ride would expect and admire."
The score was never released commercially, and the only bits available to fans were contained in a collection of five tracks released by Disney to critics for Academy Award consideration. This compact disc, with a running time of about 20 minutes, does a good job of representing Mancina's work for the film. Click here to read Filmtracks' in-depth review of Mancina's soundtrack for the Haunted Mansion film.
McDonalds Promotes Frightfully Fun Happy Meals
As part of a long-standing contract between Disney and McDonalds, the fast-food chain offered Haunted Mansion-themed Happy Meals during the release of the film. Six toys were produced, all of which were amazingly intricate and fun offerings. The toys included a "camera" that would display images from the film through the viewfinder; a coffin with a finger-grabbing "pop-up" ghost; Madame Leota's crystal ball, with an illuminated inverted head that mimics a popular effect from the attraction; an attic chest with a "pop-up" ghostly hand inside; a mysterious mirror that would display ghosts; and a singing bust with a sound chip inside. The toys proved to be a very popular promotion, and offered very affordable Haunted Mansion movie souvenirs.
A Special Display at El Capitan Theatre
For the world premiere of the Haunted Mansion film, Disney pulled out the stops with an event surrounding the film at Hollywood's historic El Capitan Theatre. From November 26, 2003 through January 4, 2004, many of the extravagent film sets and properties from Barwick Studios were set up and displayed in a space adjacent to the theater. Guests could literally walk through some of the fantastic spaces created for filming. Interactive kiosks and displays were also included in the experience - including the opportunity to have yourself photographed among the set pieces and props, and then have the photos emailed to yourself instantly. No matter what the participants' opinion of the film may have been, reviews for the El Capitan display itself were almost unanimously high praise.
Lylle Breier, senior vice president of Worldwide Special Events for The Walt Disney Studios, said, "The filmmakers behind ‘The Haunted Mansion’ wanted to make a film where the world of the mansion is unlike that of any other movie. We felt that they hit the mark, and wanted to create something equally impressive for moviegoers. The Haunted Mansion in Hollywood gives our guests at the El Capitan a special opportunity to find out how six-time Oscar-winner Rick Baker built a better zombie, or how costume designer Mona May got her outfits to glow and seem to come alive, or how Madame Leota’s head got into that crystal ball. This is a perfect family outing – and for the budding filmmaker in all of us, this is a rare chance to go behind the scenes and see how the magic comes to life."
Fiendishly Fun Film Extras!
Talk about the film with other Haunted Mansion fans! Click here to join hundreds of fans on the DoomBuggies.com community message boards
Watch the official trailer! Click here to visit the official Disney movie web site
Learn more about the stars! Click here to learn about The Haunted Mansion at the Internet Movie Database
View exclusive images from the movie sets! Click here to see photos from the set that you won't find anywhere but DoomBuggies.com!
This in-depth article about the Haunted Mansion film's make-up design is a rare treat - a detailed look at the work of veteran make-up artists Bill Corso, for whom the job was a "dream come true" as a early Haunted Mansion attraction fan, and famed special effects make-up artist Rick Baker, who created the innovative zombies for the film. An example of the detail: "Rick did a really cool thing," said production supervisor Bill Sturgeon. "He pushed the necks forward a little bit so they look really small - basically, just a spinal column - and then he used dark fabric and other things to hide the actual neck. It's just smoke and mirrors." Click here to read the article.
Here's an article from the November 2003 issue of Architectural Digest that explores the lush production design of Oscar-winner John Myhre and the incredible details provided by set decorator Rosemark Brandenburg. "We decided to play it straight," said Myhre. "After all, Eddie Murphy is the star - the house is the straight man." Click here to read the article, which contains stunning photos of the sets at Barwick Studios in Los Angeles.