I understand that this is several months late, but to be fair, the last few months of 2021 were a particularly insane time for me, so much so that I’m just now starting to get back on track (that’s why I posted next to nothing the last few months of the year). Part of getting back on track includes posting about some of the things I saw last year that I really liked before I dive into what’s coming in 2022. And one of the things I enjoyed way more than I thought I would was Muppets Haunted Mansion, a special that aired on Disney+ this past October.
Unbelievably, this was the first Halloween special the Muppets have ever done, which is mind boggling to me. How is it the Muppets haven’t covered Halloween before? I suppose better late than never. I set the bar for this special extremely low because I’ve not been the biggest fan of what Disney has done with the Muppets (remember their Disney+ series? Yea, me neither), but to my delight Muppets Haunted Mansion was pretty entertaining.
The setup for the special is relatively simple: instead of celebrating Halloween with the other Muppets, Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn are going to a special “VIP party” at a famous mansion, which turns out to be none other than the Haunted Mansion. The challenge is for the pair to spend the entire night in the mansion. If they survive they’ll be allowed to leave, but it not…they’ll become permanent residents of the Mansion.
The overriding theme of the special, once the stakes are laid out, is confronting one’s fears and the fact that Gonzo claims to have none, despite being confronted by a number of scary horrors throughout the Mansion. This leads to a legitimately terrifying scene where Gonzo finally confronts his fears in the mysterious Room 999. In a million years I never would’ve thought a Muppets special could create nightmare fuel, but oh my good lord, the moment Gonzo realizes what his particular fear is….that was the stuff of nightmares. I had no idea a Muppets show could be that intense and I never want to see the Muppets go that intense ever again because it was TERRIFYING, even if it did make a good point about spending time with your friends while you can.
The Mansion itself was a lot of fun once Gonzo and Pepe got inside. I loved all of the musical numbers, particularly the “Tie the Knot Tango.” I’d actually forgotten about Constance Hatchaway, the bride who kills all of her husbands, so once I realized who this was, she immediately became my favorite ghost in the mansion, just because Pepe was so oblivious to the danger he was in. I also didn’t mind the big number that ghost-Kermit did to introduce Gonzo to the Mansion. I know a lot of people criticized Matt Vogel’s performance as Kermit the Frog, but honestly I had no trouble accepting his voice as belonging to the character.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the Muppets do more Halloween specials if they’re all going to be this good. Bravo to Muppets Haunted Mansion for brightening up my Halloween.
Let me know what you thought of Muppets Haunted Mansion in the comments below and have a great day!
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I wasn’t sure I wanted to see this. As a child of the 70’s/80’s, I’ve found it hard to listen to the new voices. I also am not a huge fan of what Disney has done to them.
Based on your blog, I may just have to check it out.
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You should! I really was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.
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