I’m a Muppet purist, a proud, card-carrying member of Sesame Street’s first class of 1969. I grew up enjoying The Muppet Show, and still haven’t quite gotten over Jim Henson’s death, over 31 years later. I still remember where I was when I heard about it.
So whenever there’s a new Muppet project, I hold a mix of excitement and trepidation, hoping against hope that whatever latest felt-covered incarnation I’m about to experience can stand up to Henson’s brilliance.
The new Muppet Haunted Mansion, for the most part, does.
The new Disney+ special delivers 50+ minutes of Muppet mayhem along with a feature that’s among the best delivered by the franchise’s films: a host of “blink or you’ll miss it” celebrity cameos. Among those in this new flick are Yvette Nicole Brown, Darren Criss, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Taraji P. Henson (no relation to the Muppet creator, unless Jim’s ancestors owned Taraji’s). Cookie Lyon has got nothing on The Bride in Muppet Haunted Mansion!
The Empire diva delivers some of the special’s funniest moments, with an over-the-top campy turn that merits a look (and a $7.99 monthly or $79.99 annual fee for the streaming service). Also, television legend Ed Asner makes one of his final screen appearances in the film, and Jim Henson’s son Brian shows up briefly in it.
Other reviews of Muppet Haunted Mansion have spoiled specific plot points, but for this one, suffice it to say that The Muppets’ new corporate home, Disney, has found a funny way to incorporate our beloved characters into one of Disney’s most iconic theme park attractions. If you’ve enjoyed the Haunted Mansion at any of the Disney parks, you’ll get your share of kicks out of this film.