Monday, November 03, 2008

Cartoon a Day: The Haunted House

The Haunted House
Directed by Walt Disney
Available on: Walt Disney Treasures - Mickey Mouse in Black and White Vol. 2

Well I decided to do one more Halloween appropriate cartoon before doing an Election Day special for tomorrow, and then moving on to a new theme for the next few days. So today we look at the Mickey Mouse short "The Haunted House" (also known simply as "Haunted House" according to the IMDB).

Mickey Mouse is out on a cold raining night when he ducks into a creepy old house for shelter. There he encounters a creepy hooded figure and a bunch of skeletons who force him to play the organ while they dance about. Like "The Skeleton Dance," released the same year, this short is more proof of animator Ub Iwerks wonderful knack for combining both scary and funny imagery.

Iwerks just does great work with skeletons, he and Ray Haryhausen could list that on their resumes I guess (see "Jason and the Argonauts" and you'll see). The natural thought would be to give them a limited amount of movement, but Iwerks never forgets that anything is possible in a cartoon.

According to the IMDB, this film was actually released a few weeks before "The Skeleton Dance," which it has a lot of similarities with. I'm not sure how reliable that information is, but it's fair to say that the two were probably in production at the same time. One sequence even uses the same dance of four skeletons made famous by the other film. Yet, just when you think they've just recycled the whole dance, a gust of wind blows through the window, the skeletons are blown away except for their feet which continue the dance on their own. So the sequence still stays original.

No comments: