For decades, fun and unexpected cameos have been a staple of Muppets productions, and Muppets Haunted Mansion is no exception. While celebrities Will Arnett and Taraji P. Henson get full starring roles in the special, the rest of the cast is rounded out by famous people stepping in for just a scene or two.
From Hollywood legends such as the late Ed Asner to contemporary stars like Skai Jackson, the special enlists a number of recognizable actors to bring the Happy Haunts to life. While some of the cameos are just an excuse to show a famous face onscreen, the best celebrity appearances, such as those by Yvette Nicole Brown and John Stamos, are the ones that make use of the stars’ talent.
Yvette Nicole Brown (The Driver)
Yvette Nicole Brown is the first celebrity to make an appearance in the special as the Driver who chauffeurs Gonzo and Pepe to and from the Haunted Mansion. Her ominous conversation with them sets the tone for the spooky adventure they are about to embark on.
The former Community actress does not get a lot of jokes but still manages to produce some laughs thanks to her facial expressions and delivery. She is able to take a minor role and elevate it into one of the best characters in Muppets Haunted Mansion.
Darren Criss (The Caretaker)
Once Gonzo and Pepe make it to the mansion, they encounter the Caretaker, who is dressed exactly like the animatronic from the Haunted Mansion. He is played by Darren Criss of Glee fame, who leads the first original song of the special.
The songs are one of the main reasons why Muppets Haunted Mansion is better than the Eddie Murphy movie adaption, and having a talented performer such as Darren Criss involved makes for a memorable scene in the special.
The Singing Busts
In one of the best references to the Haunted Mansion ride, the quintet of singing busts make an appearance during the graveyard scene of the special and sing a few bars of “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” The busts are played by Skai Jackson, Geoff Keighley, Pat Sajak, Justina Machado, and Craig Robinson.
It is an incredibly unexpected combination of stars that offers something for everyone. While the overlap of Jackson and Sajak fans may be slim, viewers are likely to at least be able to pick out a couple of the famous faces.
Ed Asner (Ghost Of Claude)
As the Caretaker sings the song “Rest in Peace,” the ghosts of those buried in the graveyard manifest while he explains how they each died. As part of this, legendary actor Ed Asner makes a cameo appearance as the ghost of Brother Claude. He does not speak but raises a glass in a toast.
Though the appearance is brief and he does not get much to do, this is one of the late actor’s final roles. For fans of the icon, even this quick cameo is a delightful treat. The end credits also include a shot of Asner with the text “In memory of our friend.”
Chrissy Metz (Ghost Of Harriet)
This is Us star Chrissy Metz has a cameo as one of the more colorful ghosts during the graveyard sequence. She plays Harriet, an opera singer dressed in a Viking costume. Her high note is so piercing that it shatters Brother Claude’s glass, much to her embarrassment.
It is a silly and playful moment that epitomizes the combination of the Muppet’s sense of humor with the Haunted Mansion aesthetic. Out of all the ghosts, Metz’s cameo is one of the better ones since she gets more to do than the others.
Alfonso Ribeiro (Ghost Of Fred)
The first ghost to appear during “Rest in Peace,” Alfonso Ribeiro has a cameo appearance as Fred, a man who was crushed to death when a rock fell on his head. To reflect this, the ghost is compacted as if he has been smushed.
The visual gag effectively captures the silly tone of the special while making use of the supernatural setting. Despite not having a line, the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star does get to ham it up with his facial expressions as the Caretaker explains how he died.
Danny Trejo (Ghost Of Huet)
Known for his tough-guy roles, Danny Trejo makes a cameo appearance as the ghost of Cousin Huet during the graveyard scene. He appears behind bars wearing a prison jumpsuit and slyly winks at the camera as the Caretaker sings the line “Rest in peace, Cousin Huet. We all know you didn’t do it.”
Despite his intimidating look and lack of children’s titles in his filmography, this is not Danny Trejo’s first time guest-starring with the Muppets. He previously appeared in a Muppets Now segment and was easily one of the best parts of the show. It is great to see him reteaming with the Muppets even if only in a quick cameo.
Sasheer Zamata (Ghost Of Mary)
Former Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata plays the ghost of Mary, a mystery writer who died from ink poisoning. During the song “Rest in Peace,” she recreates her death, absent-mindedly putting the quill in her mouth before keeling over.
Zamata is a talented comedian who is able to communicate the joke through her exaggerated facial expressions. As the cameos and visual jokes come in quick succession in the song, her appearance stands out as one of the funnier ones.
Kim Irvine (Haunted Mansion Maid)
When Madame Pigota calls for a maid to clear her crystal ball, Imagineer Kim Irvine gets her opportunity to make a cameo in the special. While she may not be the biggest name star, she is an important figure in the Haunted Mansion’s history.
Not only is she the daughter of Leota Toombs, the actress who provides the face of Madame Leota in the attraction, but she is also the model for Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. Given her generational ties to the Haunted Mansion, Irvine’s cameo in the special is a great nod to the ride’s history.
John Stamos (Famous Person)
Throughout his time at the Haunted Mansion, Pepe is looking for other famous people to hang out with. This leads him to the “Famous Peoples Room” where he meets John Stamos. After the two exchange compliments, John Stamos transforms into a ghost and scares Pepe away.
While most of the other celebrity cameos are silly visual gags, Stamos’ appearance involves a genuinely effective jump scare. It is a good change of pace that catches the viewer off guard and provides the special with a much-needed fright.
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About The Author
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Shane Redding is a writer based in Nevada, United States. He received a Master’s Degree from the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, California. He now works as a Screen Rant List Writer for Valnet, Inc. In his free time, he enjoys playing and watching sports, theme parks, escape rooms, board games, and spending time with family
Original posted at screenrant.com