Hello again…you posted my “Sgt. Pepper/Aerosmith” trauma a while back so I thought maybe I’d send along another…
Growing up in New Jersey, you have more than your fair share of emotionally-traumatizing pitfalls. Every town, it seems, has a wooded area that is home to Satan worshipers. Abandoned prisons and mental institutions dot the landscape. And don’t even ask about what’s lurking in the Pine Barrens.
And yet, what to this day traumatized me so much that it STILL causes me to reflexively reach for the channel dial (even when viewed via YouTube on a computer) and STILL sends a cold shiver down my spine at the mere mention of Long Branch, New Jersey? “The Haunted Mansion.”
Specifically, this local T.V. ad for the Haunted Mansion.
It starts out with bouncy music and playful images of summer fun. The perfect weekend “down the shore,” as we say. Nothing at all wrong with it. But it plants that weird seed in the back of your mind: Why is it called the “Haunted Mansion and Amusement Pier”? Oh, wait…
Then it happens. The shadow on the stairwell. That’s what did it. A hunched figure in tattered clothes. Not a remote-controlled dummy, not a plastic mannequin. A REAL THING. Lurching towards the screen and disrupting the sun-drenched playfulness. He’s followed by a woman popping out of a coffin. Before my young brain could even process these images…we’re back to fun music and bumper cars. Almost like…you didn’t see what you think you saw. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here….
Which made the Haunted Mansion THAT MUCH MORE TERRIFYING. Does it exist? If so, why did they cut away so quickly? Is it REAL? Who is that man lurking in the stairwell? OH MY GOD, TURN IT OFF.
Researching this clip, I swear, the opening “For a day you’ll never forget…” almost stopped me cold. I hit pause and seriously considered whether or not I could play the whole thing…I could almost hear my older brother making fun of me and vowing to drag me to the Haunted Mansion…
UNK SEZ:: Ack! EA, your traumafession reminded me of my own personal experiences with a commercial for Brigantine Castle. I tracked it down and egad, it’s got the very same hunchback shadow guy in it!
The scariest part of the Brigantine commercial for me was the skeleton arm chasing Rhoda. I was sure she was going to get pushed over the wall to her death!