Blood Rituals and Demonic Possession Plague New Disney Film

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Father Kent with the Hatbox Ghost Sketch

Credit: Inside the Magic

In light of recent events facing both the studio and the theme parks, Disney has faced a tidal wave of backlash from the fanbase. As the company continues to struggle at the box office with recent flops like Elemental and the new Indiana Jones installment, Haunted Mansion might be the next victim of Disney’s temperamental audience.

Tiffany Haddish and Jamie Lee Curtis posters for Haunted Mansion movie
Credit: Disney

While the new film adaptation greatly represents the original Disneyland attraction, it takes a dark dive most wouldn’t dare associate with the house of mouse. From occult imagery to depictions of rituals requiring blood sacrifices, the movie puts the dark in dark ride.

Haunted Mansion: The Exorcist by Disney

Hatbox Ghost reveals his face
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Disney’s Haunted Mansion tells the story of the titular Gracey Manor and the restless spirits that reside in its hallowed halls. However, it also takes a headlong dive into occult symbolism and rituals that showcase Disney’s darker side. But how far is too far in this tale of ghosts and ghouls from regions beyond?

Spoilers for Haunted Mansion beyond this point!

One of the most significant elements at work is the use of spiritualism and occult practices in the film’s atmosphere, which truthfully isn’t that different from the original ride. However, things get fifty shades darker when the film utilizes themes of possession and human sacrifice with the introduction of Alastair Crump, better known to fans and viewers as the Hatbox Ghost.

Related: FIRST LOOK: Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota in ‘Haunted Mansion’

To Disney’s credit, they really did the fan-favorite fiend justice, and Jared Leto’s portrayal is perhaps one of the most intimidating villains seen from the studio in recent years, but he might push several boundaries as far as conservative audiences are concerned. After the identity of the murderous Hatbox Ghost is revealed, things take a hard dive into horror with depictions of his evil deeds.

As Crump’s backstory is revealed, viewers are treated to images of Ouija boards, demonic symbols, devil heads, and blood rituals in an animated flashback. While this works wonders for the character’s reimagining, it’s undoubtedly one of the most unexpectedly chilling elements in the entire experience.

haunted mansion feature
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Additionally, the film utilizes spiritual possession several times in the film. Watching the antagonistic ghosts enter the bodies of the film’s characters is an unexpectedly uncomfortable addition, but it fits with the aesthetic and direction Disney has chosen. Still, we can’t say we’d enjoy seeing something similar in the Disneyland or Disney World attractions.

Related: Did Guillermo Del Toro Actually Make His ‘Haunted Mansion’ Movie?

Disney has genuinely been striking out with audiences lately, and the scenes described are definitely more grim than grinning ghosts. However, this sharp deviation from the traditionally goofy ghouls might be what the studio needs to generate more interest in the film. Either way, it’s bound to make an impression.

Did Disney’s new Haunted Mansion movie spook you? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!

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