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The Haunted Mansion is one of Disney's ventures in adapting their theme park attractions into movies, directed by Rob Minkoff. It was theatrically released in November 2003 and wasn't quite as successful at the box office as the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, which was also released in 2003.

Workaholic realtor Jim Evers (played by Eddie Murphy) and his family -- wife Sara, son Michael and daughter Megan -- are invited to the old and haunted Gracey Manor outside of New Orleans. Things take a sinister turn when the family learns that the ghostly owner, Master Edward Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) and his butler Ramsley (Terence Stamp), both believe Sara to be the reincarnation of Gracey's long-lost fiance Elizabeth and that she will be the key to lifting the curse on the house that keeps the 999 souls from passing onto the next world. With the help of Madame Leota (Jennifer Tilly) and a few ghostly servants, Jim and his kids must uncover the truth behind what really happened to Elizabeth that Ramsley has been hiding this whole time, encountering the many ghosts of the graveyard, zombies, haunted suits of armor and the gates of Hell themselves opening.

The film is extremely polarizing. Fans of the ride hate its guts because it decides to focus on the antics of Eddie Murphy and de-emphasize some of the ride's more notable elements. Several critics also hate the film's guts for Eddie Murphy's childish antics. It earned a 13% approval rating amongst critics at Rotten Tomatoes. For good measure, the bulk of people outside the target demographic hate the film's guts. But the movie apparently has its fans, and kids seem to love the film, plus it's a lot easier to watch if you DVD Skip everything between the opening credits and when the family arrives at the house.

The bright spots are the gorgeous set designs, ride-based Mythology Gags, and the soundtrack music, which pays a nice tribute to Buddy Baker and Grim Grinning Ghosts. Unfortunately, it was never independently released to the masses. What they released to the masses instead was The Haunted Mansion - Haunted Hits, which consisted of one soundtrack song, several horrifying remixes of 1980s pop horror songs by unknown artists, and an equally horrifying remix of "Grim Grinning Ghosts" by Barenaked Ladies. Only a few incredibly rare copies of the true soundtrack exist -- they were used to submit it for a movie award nomination, they were auctioned for a final bidding price of $500, and they subsequently became highly sought after memorabilia.

Disney has recently announced that they are going to be taking another whack at a Haunted Mansion movie, to be headed by Guillermo del Toro.


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