Cross stitch pattern of Ice Kirby from Kirby Super Star Ultra. Yes, this has nothing to do with The Haunted Mansion, but there’s still a review below if you’re interested. Thanks to OmegaKyogre for the sprites. Download the PDF here: Ice Kirby Pattern
Grid Size: 105W x 35H
Design Area: 7.36″ x 2.36″ (103 x 33 stitches)
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Once again, I’m going to use Kirby as an excuse to talk about anything but Kirby. Last night I watched two (sort of) Halloween movies: Clue and The Haunted Mansion. Clue was an awesome fun romp with a bunch of idiots who aren’t too annoying. There’s a great bit of physical comedy where the cast has to convince the cops that three dead people are actually alive and the whole movie is shot in such a way that you feel like you’re in the room with these people without resorting to awkward shaky cam. It’s a fantastic film. Go watch it.
But what I really want to talk about is The Haunted Mansion, that one Eddie Murphy movie based on a ride at Disney Land that came out on the coattails of the success of Pirates of the Caribbean. I skipped over this movie when it came out mostly because I didn’t want to spend an hour and a half watching Eddie Murphy trying to be funny, and now that I’ve watched it, I have mixed feelings about it. It’s not as bad as I was expecting, not good, but not bad. There’s a scene at the beginning of the movie that I don’t particularly like, but I’m so glad it’s there. Eddie Murphy is trying to teach his son how to kill a spider. I don’t remember the exact words but, Murphy says that he’s never scared and tells his son that he shouldn’t be scared. Then the older sister comes in and swats the spider easily. It’s not all that funny, but it’s perfect for introducing these characters and the way they interact. This is the benchmark for the character growth in the tomb scene, and yes this movie has character growth, more than I expected. In the tomb scene Murphy and his kids have to get a key from inside a mausoleum. The son stays outside while Murphy and his daughter get the key. They wake up some dead people and there’s this big scramble to get to the door in a scene that definitely merits the PG rating. The door is latched shut from the outside and there are spiders crawling all over it. In this moment, Murphy admits to his son that he’s scared and that it’s okay to be scared sometimes, but you still have to do what needs to be done. Then his son opens the door and two character arcs are completed! The Haunted Mansion has just successfully told a story! And the movie would have been great if it had just been a father/son story with wacky ghosts interspersed with moments of horror, but no, that was not the climax and this is not the finale.
The actual story is about the mom, Sarah. This woman has no personality and is just there for the plot to happen around her because she looks like the dead lover of the ghost who owned the mansion, Mr. Gracey. The real climax happens when Sarah is marrying Mr. Gracey and Murphy busts in to stop her from killing herself because she thinks her kids are in danger and she’s being blackmailed by the butler, and none of it feels exciting or intriguing because I have been given no reason to care about her as a person. You know that spider smacking moment that was so important to character building in the beginning of the movie, yeah, she wasn’t in that scene. Anyway, Murphy saves her and reveals to Gracey that his butler has been lying to him, and it has no weight because the butler has more characterization than Gracey. I actually expected there to be a bait and switch where Gracey ends up being evil, because he’s so generically nice and bland that any scene of him and Sarah had me checking the time on my phone. And I’m not at the worst part yet. Sarah dies, so that Gracey’s old flame Elizabeth can possess her body and make up with Gracey. The thing is that Elizabeth’s will-o-wisp has been there since the family first showed up. She could have possessed Sarah at any time, but she didn’t. They handwave this by saying that Gracey had to know the truth before she could appear before him, and okay, maybe she couldn’t have told Gracey directly, but there are 996 other ghosts that she could have gotten to pass a message to him. She interacted with the kids and got them to solve the mystery for her, so why couldn’t she have gotten literally anyone else to do it?
Maybe I’m wrong though, maybe Elizabeth just isn’t strong enough to possess someone who isn’t close to death or dead. The thing is that they don’t telegraph that at all. It would have been easy too. You just need a short scene where a ghost scares one of the kids then tells them something like, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to possess you or anything. You’re a little too alive for that.” Yeah, it wouldn’t have been very funny but at least it would have given an explanation for the climax of the movie!
And being possessed suddenly brings Sarah back to life. I was so worried…
But, the movie is not without it’s merits. The set design and effects are fantastic, except when they suddenly aren’t and Murphy is hiding in a bland hallway from weird floating CG instruments. I also love the cut between the scene where they finally get the key to the scene where they show it to the crystal ball chick. The camera follows the key in a seamless transition that made me smile. They tried to pull it off earlier with a door opening, but it wasn’t as strong. Then there’s a genuinely soul crushing scene where Murphy is locked outside the mansion and needs to get back in to save his wife so he desperately tries to break the glass to the greenhouse, but the cracks heal with each futile blow until he collapses in impotent exhaustion. This hopeless moment as he leans against his product placement car is surprisingly poignant.
I just don’t know what to think about this movie. I feel like there’s a strong movie hiding in there with a bunch of fluff. I can’t point at one thing that ruins it, but I wonder if it could have been better if it were shorter, move the climax to the tomb scene and kind of cut out the rest of the run time. It’s not as bad as Rotten Tomatoes says it is, but it’s still not quite good enough for me to tell you to go watch it, sorry.