31. The Haunted House – Walt Disney

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SUMMARY: Mickey Mouse takes shelter from a storm inside an old house which turns out to be full of dancing skeletons in search of an organist.

WHY IT’S HERE: By the time of ‘The Haunted House’, the Mickey Mouse series was already a resounding success. In his first encounter with the undead, Mickey here finds himself compelled to play the organ for a group of dancing skeletons. While this is partly an excuse to use footage originally intended for Silly Symphony ‘The Skeleton Dance’, ‘The Haunted House’ is a quite different picture that adds a good deal of menace to the charming dancing skeleton film that preceded it. The early images of Mickey being stalked by a hooded figure are memorably terrifying and the more gag orientated dance scenes are great fun. ‘The Haunted House’ had always lived in the shadow of two better, superficially similar Disney shorts, ‘The Skeleton Dance’ and ‘The Mad Doctor’, but it plays as a nice companion piece to either and shows that, while they weren’t as wild and surreal as the Fleischer cartoons of the time, Disney could also produce successfully spooky cartoons.

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