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.
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- For more of Yhara Zayd’s work, here’s their look at “Social Cinema”: a growing number of movies explicitly concerned with social media.
- And here’s their look at the origins of the iconography of the nymphet archetype in 1990s erotic thrillers.
- Here’s their essay that argues body horror is a cathartic sub-genre.
- Okay, one more from Yhara Zayd: a video essay on how Wes Craven‘s The People Under the Stairs confronts the intersections of housing and class.