Roy Orbison's 'House Without Windows' Is The Perfect Song For Disney's Haunted Mansion Trailer

Second time's the charm? Disney is taking another stab at bringing the grim-grinning ghosts from its "Haunted Mansion" theme park ride out to socialize on the big screen. Its first attempt was in 2003 with Rob Minkoff's "The Haunted Mansion," a supernatural horror comedy anchored by Eddie Murphy that was basically DOA and has since been mostly forgotten. The studio is trying again 20 years later with "Haunted Mansion," a movie that defies the recent reboot trend by subtracting a "The" from the title rather than adding one. (No doubt, Sean Parker is nodding his head in approval right now.)

"Haunted Mansion" comes from director Justin Simien ("Dear White People," "Bad Hair") and writer Katie Dippold ("Ghostbusters: Answer the Call"), both of whom have a clear affinity for horror-comedy. Indeed, the movie's trailer serves up equal-sized portions of laughs and scares, all set to the eerie tune of Roy Orbison's 1975 song "House Without Windows." Bear in mind, Orbinson's ditty on its own is more melancholy than spooky, with lyrics alluding to heartbreak like, "I'm gonna move into/A house without windows/So I won't see you walking by/Walking by with your new love." Of course, as David Lynch infamously showed the world with "Blue Velvet," The Caruso of Rock's dreamy ballads can be decidedly creepy in the right context.

The Haunted Mansion attraction begins as you walk into a chamber with "no windows, and no doors," issuing you a "chilling challenge: to find a way out!" before you hop into the Doom Buggies that carry you the rest of the way. When the "Haunted Mansion" trailer teases a scene from the film homaging this particular aspect of the ride, Orbison's lyrics make for a surprisingly perfect accompaniment, on top of striking the same spoopy tone as the rest of the footage.

Heartbreak feels spoopy in a place like this

What's a haunted manor without a little doomed romance in its backstory? When Guillermo del Toro's planned "Haunted Mansion" movie fell through, he seemingly went and channeled his vision for the film into the Bronte-esque Gothic haunted house romance, "Crimson Peak." Justin Simien's take, on the other hand, follows a ragtag group of eccentric heroes as they assist a doctor (Rosario Dawson) and her nine-year-old son (Chase W. Dillon) with their new house's spectral infestation. Could there still be room for a tragic love story within this whimsical family adventure?

One of the final ghosts you encounter in the Haunted Mansion ride is Constance Hatchaway, a revamped version of the classic Bride that was introduced to the attraction in both Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida in 2006. As the specter's original name implies, Constance is believed to be that of a "black widow" bride who murdered her many husbands in life — hence the hatchet clasped in her hands. The iconic Hatbox Ghost from the ride is likewise assumed to be one of Constance's unlucky spouses, which is how he wound up with his head moving constantly between a hatbox and his body in the afterlife.

Despair, in other words, is baked into the narrative of the Haunted Mansion, and it's a feeling "House Without Windows" eloquently taps into with the trailer for Simien's movie. With Jared Leto reportedly playing the Hatbox Ghost, might we get to see his and Constance's deadly courtship play out in some kind of flashback sequence? I'm going to refrain from additional commentary about the possibility of watching Jared Leto get his head lopped off and leave it at that.

"Haunted Mansion" begins terrorizing theaters on July 28, 2023.