October 11, 2017

HALLOWEEN TAPE REVIEW #11: Haunted Mansion


Title: Haunted Mansion
Manufacturer: Rubies
Year: 1987
Total Runtime: 30 Min
Repeats on both sides: No
Stories: No
Music: "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" fades in and out
Narration: No
Distinct Audio: There are a couple of bird freakouts.
Review: This is the first of two tapes called Haunted Mansion that were released by Rubies. (The follow-up came out in 1992 and sounds similar, though not identical.) This seems to be another attempt at creating a false association with Disney quality. There's definitely no connection to the ride. They didn't even attempt to place the setting indoors.

According to their web site Rubies is “the world’s largest designer, manufacturer and distributor of Halloween costumes” and has been around for 66 years. With those credentials, expectations are high. Did they deliver the goods? More or less, I suppose.

I think the recording meets, but never exceeds expectations. The montage keeps the scary stuff coming at a steady pace. There’s enough agony present to steer it clear of "generic sound effects" territory. It's hard to tell if there's anything original material here. I recognize segments from Haunted Horror for one. It sounds like they may have used the ol' "throw together a stew of lifted effects and call it our own" trick. Though there is something to be said for complete aural chaos. My biggest complaint is the erratic music. It’s like riding in a car with someone who can’t decide on the right volume. Once they finally turn it off and you try to strike up a conversation, they crank it up again.

The best aspect of the product is the artwork, though sadly there is no signature nor credit given. The line work, the composition, the incredible hand lettering— everything works harmoniously to give us a perfect Halloween scene. The shadow is likely inspired by Freddy Krueger, but even if it's just a handsy scarecrow, it's still pretty cool.

Rating: 3 of 5




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