Well, I don’t know about you all, but my Halloween season was crazy as hell, and it has been a blessing to take a week or so and relax and refocus. But, with Turkey Day right up upon us, I thought it would be the perfect time to bring you another Musical Morgue music review you could enjoy while chowing down on your Thanksgiving day goodies.
To help ring in Rotting Flesh Radio’s Morbidly Merry Christmas celebration, we thought it would be a great idea to review an album that is full of holiday cheer, all the while keeping it as spooky as I could. So, up on the slab this week is the ridiculously appropriate album Haunted Mansion Holiday brought to us by the folks over at Disney and Buena Vista Records.
Those who are familiar with Disneyland’s holiday festivities are no strangers to the transformation that occurs at their Haunted Mansion attraction. For years the famous attraction has been taken over by Jack Skellington and his crew of merry townsfolk in preparation for Christmas day. Haunted Mansion Holiday is the official soundtrack for the attraction, released in 2003, and includes all the various carols visitors would hear out in front of the mansion, as well as a full audio tour of the house as it was for their 2003 season.
With that, let’s dive into the album.
The first eight tracks are all “scarols” that were heard in front of the attraction while waiting in line. All of them are spooky themed parodies of traditional Christmas carols performed by a cast that is over the top in their presentation, and all the while recorded in a style very similar to the old Disney Halloween specials you would see on TV. Complete with a nice narration, here are several clips of these “scarols” to help you know what I’m talking about. Included are “Up On The Housetop,” “Old Mansion Tree,” “Wreck The Halls,” and “We Wish You A Scary Christmas.”
(“Up On The Housetop” clip)
(“Old Mansion Tree” clip)
(“Wreck The Halls” clip)
(“We Wish You A Scary Christmas” clip)
The next track, I’ve been told, actually never appeared anywhere in the attraction, but was a tribute to the Jack Skellington theme and Danny Elfman’s tunes from Nightmare Before Christmas. The track is appropriately titled “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas Medley” and features a simplified medley of “Making Christmas,” “What’s This,” and “Kidnap the Sandy Claws.”
(“Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas Medley” clip – “Making Christmas” part)
The final track on the album is by far my favorite. The track is appropriately titled “Disneyland Haunted Mansion Holiday Ride-Through Mix” and is a wonderful mix of all the various audio tracks, songs, and sound effects as heard as one rode through the attraction. I particularly love this track because it reminded me so much of my trips to the Haunted Mansion—with all the cacophony of all the sounds going on at once, it immediately took me back and brought a smile to my face. In addition to that, you have the very clever musical composition and intermingling of themes from Nightmare Before Christmas amongst traditional Christmas carols and the spooky original music from the Haunted Mansion. This track blends all of these elements seamlessly into one glorious production—you actually feel as if you’re riding through the attraction.
So, here is a little clip from that wonderful 16-minute track…
(“Disneyland Haunted Mansion Holiday Ride-Through Mix” clip)
So, I give this album one bloody, rotten stump up as it is a great piece of Disney magic, but it leaves a little to be desired. The best track on the album is the last track, which actually makes up almost half the entire play length of the album. The other tracks on the album I’m sure were great queue-line entertainment, but as stand-alone recordings are a bit sparse and dissonant. They offer a delightfully cheesy selection of tracks that would be great as music for your Christmas party, but as stand-alone recordings, I can’t give them the two-stumps up praise. They are, however, great background tracks—which is exactly what they were designed to be. So—kudos to Disney on hitting the nail on the head, however before releasing this album they could have remastered the tracks to smooth them out a bit, or could have even added additional orchestration to help render the CD as a more stand-alone piece. However, as a historical recording, the tracks are spot on.
Well Deadites, that about does it for this week here in the Morgue. Be sure to tune in next time when I’m sure I’ll have more great tunes you’ll want to add to your collection. Also be sure to check out GruesomeJoe.com to catch the written version of my review, as well as a host of other goodies! Until then, I’m Gruesome Joe and I’ll be chilling out here in the Morgue, chowing down on some turkey, waiting for you, until next time…