Friday, October 23, 2009

Unused Concept Art from the Haunted Mansion Animated: Ghost in the Mirror


I'm going to do something a little different this time. For my past Haunted Mansion animations I've tried to remain as faithful as possible to the original artist's intentions, but this time I'm going to do my own armchair Imagineering.

You'll notice the above concept art of a woman trapped in a mirror looks rather aged and old. When I discovered this sketch floating in the boundless realm of the Internets I assumed it was from the 1960's. To my surprise, it's from 1995 and is supposedly part of some proposed HM enhancements (thanks again to GRD999 for this info).

This woman/ghost trapped in the mirror gag was to be placed in the Corridor of Doors. For those who don't know, The Corridor of Doors is one of the scarier places in the Mansion. This is the section of the ride where you travel past a series of doors - each with a seemingly very noisy and angry spirit pounding on the other side.

This gag would work similarly to the mirror gag with the Hitchhiking Ghosts. Although I assume the figure of the woman would be a reasonably sophisticated Audio-Animatronic. My guess is she would look like she's pounding on the glass, move her head, eyes and blink. I also think she'd probably talk or scream. There is an up-light lighting her from below. I assume this would dim up and down to reveal the figure.

Although this gag was never installed in the Haunted Mansion, I think it's a good idea.

Now there's a unwritten rule in the Haunted Mansion that says you cannot see the ghosts until you pass Madame Leota, who through her incantations allow the spirits to materialize. I respect that. Therefore if I was in charge of doing a ghost in the mirror gag for the Haunted Mansion I would do it differently.

Having an actual figure behind the glass, while certainly effective, it's probably much too literal. I think you if you show a ghost in the mirror, it must remain blurry and undefined. Also with the advancements in flat panel HD displays, I would probably dress a monitor to look like a mirror. I also think you could have some sort of mirrored glass on the monitor too that would reflect when the ghost is not visible too (I don't know for sure if this practical. I haven't done any R&D on this so don't hold me to it).

So enough with the set-up, here's my animation...



Additional comments...

This effect isn't perfect, but it's very close to how I would do the effect if I was actually designing this for the Haunted Mansion. It's certainly a very good first draft of the proposed effect.

Just in case there's some rabid HM fan out there reading this who wants to debate why this effect is not appropriate, or some other sort of nonsense. Remember I am not an Imagineer, or work for Disney in anyway. This effect is NOT going in the Haunted Mansion. This is just for fun. This is my sandbox to play in, and so if you're upset you can take your Tonka trucks and go home.

Yes, that's me as the ghost in the mirror.

5 comments:

Jay Amabile said...

that came out really awesome. Nice work, you SHOULD be an imagineer!

Haunted Mansion Collectibles said...

that would scare the bejeezes out of me and I think its fantastic!! Would love to see this in the ride!!

giddy girlie said...

It's perfect! It would be a FANTASTIC effect and could run as-is, with maybe the volume lowered just slightly (since the corridor is pretty quiet and you wouldn't want to hear the effect before you reached it). In actuality, it wouldn't even have to be animatronic. It could be installed simply with a projection or video screen. And then use some high falutin' robotics to just make the mirror lurch and wiggle as it is pounded on. This could be a relatively simple trick for even an in-home Haunted House.

Thanks for sharing it!! :)

David W. said...

Thanks for the nice feedback people.

Yeah Jay, I wouldn't mind being an Imagineer. It seems like a fun way to make a living.

Todd Franklin said...

Boy, I'm really enjoying these!!

Yeah I think Disney needs to hire you!

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