POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE
When I was young my father told me there was a curse in my family. He told me to never tell any of my friends at school because everyone would laugh at me and call us crazy. Very seriously he sat me down and explained to me that he sees ghosts. I believed him then and believe him to this day because now, I see them too.
The conversation and sentiment itself haunted me for years. It rattled around the passages of my brain like little pac-man ghosts just before I’d fall asleep. Then one day well into adulthood I had finally understood what he meant.
I was driving down the road one summer afternoon and I saw a friend of mine walking by himself that had passed away years before. He was an old boss of mine and of a very distinct build. He was about 6’4 and heavier set. Bald, thin gold rimmed glasses and bearded. A bit of a hunched back but strong as an ox. We locked eyes as I drove by and he too seemed to have stopped in his tracks. Don had been dead for close to five years at the time. So what the hell was he doing walking down the street?
I was so convinced and baffled I pulled over to the side of the road. I looked in my rear view mirror. There he was walking down the road alone seemingly toward my car. I pinched myself. Was I dreaming? I waited for him to pass by as I held my breath staring. Somewhat awkwardly a man who looked nothing like him passed by my car noticing my weird behavior. It wasn’t Don at all. I had successfully stalked a random grown man who was about six minutes away from kicking my ass.
Probably a bit crazy, with a bit of an out of control imagination and lack of healthy coping skills would probably explain the “ghostly encounters” I’ve had from time to time. As I get older more and more reminds me of my past and it’s rarely anything to be afraid of.
So when I received my orders from the Palace to investigate a newly unearthed haunted mansion in the forest on the island I wasn’t shaken in the least. Ghosts and spirits are only as dangerous as you allow them to be. Even 999 of them.
Friday afternoon I swung by Indigo’s hut and left him a couple of big T-Bone steaks, Turkey Legs, Mead – all things the Viking types love as a thank you for taking care of my pool duties over the weekend. I was packed and ready to spend the weekend investigating the history of this mystery mansion. Ever curious for a glimpse into the after life I was on my way – alone. Cookie wanted to go with me but I had to convince him I’d be alright alone. I even had to throw some fish in the other direction to distract him.
It took me most the afternoon with compass in hand before I had arrived at the dilapidated mansion in the thick of the forest. But the forest wasn’t much of a forest and the dilapidated mansion wasn’t very dilapidated. In fact – while it might have been haunted – this place was anything but abandoned.
Somewhere deep in the bowels of the mansion a man watches over dozens of monitors with cameras all over the property. Glaring at the screens he asks himself, Who is this little man with glasses and child bearing hips? As far as Albert knew Umbrella Corporation said that this island was abandoned. Had they landed on the wrong island? Ah too late now. He decided to introduce this unwelcome visitor to his first devastating line of defense. “Take this” he said aloud as he let out a deep laugh and pushed a red button.
“Ick – is that poison ivy?” I asked myself. I had been examining a strange logo towards the front gate. It looked super familiar but I just couldn’t place it.
As I was examining the logo I heard an electric current coming from the ground as I stepped back not knowing what to expect. The ground in front of me cracked open. Just a tiny little hole and a little pole came shooting out. As the pole retracted – a sign unfolded.
“NO TRESPASSING – PLEASE ~ UC”
As I stared at the sign a little camera on top looked me up and down. I imagined some beefy security guard ready to mess me up (still shell shocked from the Seemingly immortal security guards of Trigger Man) Did I travel all this way just to be deterred by a “No Trespassing” sign?
There was a small speaker at the bottom of the sign to speak into. I held the button down.
Albert Wesker stared at this pudgy little man in a purple suit and sighed. He took his signature sunglasses off and rubbed his temples. If the “No Trespassing” sign wouldn’t stop this maniac than what could? He looked around the security room and thought of something.
– still pressing the button on and off –
“ Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Echooooo echoooooo echooooooooooooo. I’m going to trespass! You better stop me. I’m here to see some ghosts. Ya hear me? I’m gonna do it! Ya hear?”
Wesker looks at the camera to see the silly man stretching his leg in the air past the sign and then putting it down on the ground.
“There. I did it! Told you I would! You’ve been tre-passed upon”
Suddenly the sound of another electric current and now a larger retractable pole came out of the ground. This with a small black box on top. A voice came out of a speaker in it.
“Hey idiot. There are no ghosts here. If you must know his is a zombie mansion, bozo!”
Now I’d be lying if I were to say self doubt wasn’t becoming a serious issue for me at this time. So I resigned to cutting my losses BUT I didn’t want to leave empty handed and almost as if the trespassing sign could read my thoughts the voice proceeded:
“Hey idiot. I know you’re going to ask for some sort of souvenir because you’re a simple, disgusting little creature. So open the box and there you will find all that you need. And then get out of my face. Now where did I put-
Souvenirs!? I no longer cared what this guy had to say. Toys? Tshirts? FOOD!??!? Opening the box I found three things. A copy of The Haunted Mansion with a sticky note that said, “for your ghost hunting needs.” Next I found a t-shirt that said, “I got infected by the T-Virus and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt.” I didn’t know what the hell the T-Virus was – I’m not a scientist. I could not care less. But I could always use more clothes. The last thing I found was some weird vial that looked like it had some like weird red spiral thingy in it. Looked sorta spicy – might add it to some chili or taco night or something.
Happy with my bounty I clicked the TALK button and thanked my new friend for the game, shirt and red sauce. He started shouting something but I was running out of daylight and started to head back. Didn’t see any ghosts but maybe I would tonight – as I dip into The Haunted Mansion.
New And Improved Video Introduction
Released: October 14 2003
Developed by: High Voltage Software (Lego Racers, COD 2: Big Red One)
Published by: TDK (whom would fold and be purchased by 2k)
It’s important to note right away that The Haunted Mansion is based on the actual ride at Disney World and not the Eddie Murphy film which happened to ALSO be released in 2003 and was based on the ride as well.
In short – the video game was much better received critically than the film. Even though I love me some Jennifer Tilly.
The game features none of the likenesses or anything you would have thought would be in it because it wasn’t until after I purchased it that I realized it’s not based on the film adaption. Which ultimately is for the better. So instead of Jennifer Tilly playing the role of Madame Leota it is voice actress, Lisa Donahey – who could win a Kathy Bates voice imitator of the year award for her work in the game.
Regardless of the heavy southern drawl and the constant reminder that this mansion is located in the Deep South of Louisiana the voice acting is really good. Light, fun and convincing. A level of quality you would expect from just about any Disney product. But unfortunately the game does have some audio flaws despite superb voice acting. The soundtrack will cut out randomly and muddle at times. The sound effects can also get pretty redundant and ear splitting if you’re a headphones player like myself.
Sound issues aside this game is pure fun. Obviously with the exception of an occasional jump-scare as far as horror games go The Haunted Mansion is toothless. But it doesn’t make it any less fun.
Full of challenges and a huge mansion to explore. Whacky characters and easy to learn controls this game was a super entertaining and enjoyable spook fest. Highly recommended for fans of 90’s Halloween comedy like Hocus Pocus and Casper
SHOP TIL YOU DROP
Used on eStarland this is going for bargain bin prices. Hovering around $3.50. That’s pretty in tune with what I’ve seen on eBay. There is a brand new copy going for $37 dollars still sealed so this game right now has little to no resell or collectors value. But for the price you can’t beat the entertainment factor. I’m glad I own it and I would definitely suggest for my fellow retro enthusiasts for a fun game towards Halloween.
PERIWINKLE’s GIN AND GEM INGREDIENTS:
1.) One liter of jet fuel (Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies)
2.) A crystal ball with a southern lady’s head in it (The Haunted Mansion)
DESERT ISLAND SONGS
“If dreams are like movies than memories are films about ghosts”
What is your favorite playful scary movie? Any games you play every Halloween? Let us know.