Features and Columns · Movies

An Impassioned Case For 2003’s ‘The Haunted Mansion’

Jennifer Tilly as a disembodied head trapped inside a crystal ball? Five stars.
The Haunted Mansion
By  · Published on April 19th, 2023

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores why 2003’s The Haunted Mansion rules.

Cast your mind back, if you can, to a time before Disney put all its chips into remaking all their animated works. Yes, believe it or not, there was a time when Disney was a little sneakier about the plundering of its own back catalog. (Remember: the entire reason the Disney Vault exists was to maintain copyright through scheduled re-releases).

While it’s tempting to look back despairingly at Disney’s early efforts to re-imagine their existing IP, cynicism is the easy way out (not that I’m above that). And the reality is that, twenty years ago, these efforts kind of ruled, actually. While the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie proved that pirates (and theme park ride adaptations) were more than enough to get bums in seats — its cinematic peer is typically less discussed. Also released in 2003, The Haunted Mansion is based on the theme park attraction of the same name. It tells the story of a realtor couple (Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason) who finds themselves trapped in the titular spooky edifice thanks to a thunderstorm. Upon learning that the mansion is very much occupied by some less-than-living tenants, the Evers family must work together to uncover the truth about the estate’s mysterious past.

Kid-friendly horror is hard to come by. Which is to say nothing of kid-friendly horror prominently featuring a Black family. And quite frankly, I get much more of a kick out of people arguing why something is good than depressing screeds on why something stinks. So without further ado, let’s get spooky:

Watch “talking about the haunted mansion for five or six minutes”

Who made this?

This video essay on why 2003’s The Haunted Mansion rules, actually, is by Yhara Zayd. They provide insightful deep dives on young adult content from Skins to My Best Friend’s Wedding. You can check out more of their content and subscribe to their channel on YouTube here. If you like their stuff and you want to support them, you can check out their Patreon here.

More videos like this

Related Topics: , ,

Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.