It is so funny that it wasn’t until last year that these attraction adaptions didn’t feature any of the villains from the attractions they were adapting. Now more casual Park-goers probably do not realize that some of the rides have villains but it’s true. One of the most famous examples is Angelica Houston as The Supreme Leader
There might be a bonus on her but she doesn’t exactly fit the theme of Theme Park Adaptions. The wonderful YouTube Channel, Colin LooksBack is currently doing a Disney Villains Retrospective and last month did a 45-minute video on the villains of the Parks. I highly recommend it as it’s quite good and cover villains I was not aware of such as Barnabas T. Bullion
Colin’s videos are quite good and rather thorough in their research such as the case with this one as he covers multiple theme park villains from around the world including The Supreme Leader, Constance, and as mentioned Barnabas. Now Constance is an interesting case as she’s a replacement for a similar character only known as The Bride.
And the thing of it is while the old Haunted Mansion movie may have ignored using The Bride/Constance as a villain. Other materials did not forget about her and gave her the spotlight she deserved. The most notable example to me is the Disney Kingdoms Comic adapted from the Haunted Mansion.
Now, this is not Constance’s first on-screen appearance as she showed up in a stop-motion Disney XD advert but this is the first time Constance has been an actual character outside of the attraction. This adaption puts me in an interesting spot as not only am I looking at a villain from a theme park adaption but I’m also looking at a Muppets villain. And I do love The Muppets but save for Doc Hopper and Tim Curry’s Long John Silver, a lot of the villains are hit or miss. Don’t get me wrong, I love Nicky Holiday but then you get someone like Tex Richman, who’s a good character but it’s hard not to compare him to Doc Hopper.
In some ways, looking at Constance puts me in an interesting bind. Do I look at her as a theme park adaptation villain or a Muppets villain? She’s the only villain from the lineup I’m looking at that is directly based on a character from the Parks and she does share the same goal and ideas as her ride counterpart but it’s played more for laughs here in this adaption because Muppets whereas almost every other iteration presents hers as a real threat. The best way to sum this up is by saying that Constance is in many ways, Disney’s version of a slasher villain. She loves getting married and then kills the men she marries to keep their money. I believe she has done this at least seven times.
While adaptions such as the Disney Kingdoms comic play this straight with this being a Muppets special, it’s more humorous that every groom Constance has killed is a Muppet.
I think another thing that helps makes this humorous besides being Muppets is the selection of Muppets, Johnny Fiama, Sal, Lew Zealand, and Walter to name a few.
This goes back to the debate on whether or not The Mansion should be funny or scary. This being Muppets leans more on funny than scary. That’s not to say there aren’t scary moments but this is more a loving tribute and affectionate parody than trying to be a straight adaption and in that regard, it works wonderfully.
Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson is an iconic actress that has played many wonderful roles and can do anything from drama to comedy. And this wasn’t her only take on a great villain last year as she also played Miss Hannigan in NBC’s Annie Live.
She does a wonderful job as Constance and you can just see how much she has acting alongside the Muppets. As I have said, her character is a bit toned down from the ride and for the version needed for the special, Henson turns in a great performance.
Constance doesn’t show up until halfway through the special. By the time she shows up, we have pretty much established the theme of the special, overcoming fear, and that everyone is afraid of something. She doesn’t show up until after the song, Life Hereafter which is the tribute to the ballroom scene in the ride and that is apt as the encounter with Constance does come after this moment but I don’t know if it’s directly after.
What’s funny is that she is the villain for the special’s B plot which does feed into the A plot. When she first appears, she is dressed in black as though she is mourning and starts hitting on Pepe as he is her next target. I get it for the special but still a rather odd choice in my opinion. This does feed who Pepe is as he is always looking for a date and is something of an opportunist that wants to rub with celebrities.
I’ll be honest and say that I don’t think the special gives one a good feeling of her personality. In most other adaptions, I’ve seen she is the ghost that is feared the most by the others. There is an idea of that and you do get a hint of her faking her love for Pepe and using him but to what end I’m sure. Seeing as she shares traits with her ride counterpart, in life she was a gold digger that killed her husbands for their wealth. Whereas as a ghost, she kills to kill. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing and it does work but I almost wonder why Pepe. Of course, I get why Pepe would be attracted to her as, like Poison Ivy, she has that effect on men.
So, that does make sense.
It’s to kill Pepe plain and simple, she’ll marry him and then kill him. And she almost gets away with it. She constantly feeds him spiders, which he thinks are grapes to keep him on her side. And this is how she almost gets away with her goal. It’s nothing masterful but it works for what it needs to do.
Most Evil Deed
This is hard to pinpoint in my opinion as the special doesn’t truly highlight Constance enough for any of her moments to stand out. I guess you could argue that one could say how she was able to get away with killing her previous husbands.
Yes, this is something that happened before the events of the special but it shows what great lengths, she is willing to go to to achieve her goal.
Tie The Knot Tango
This song is easily the weakest song in the special. It’s not bad but it’s not great either, there’s nothing truly memorable about it either. For the special it does work and I get the idea seeing as this is a comedy special first and foremost. So, that works, and if this were a serious adaption, I’d love an ominous piece. Maybe I’ll get this in the upcoming movie.
Constance can’t be killed as she’s already dead. So, the best our Muppety heroes can do is escape and that comes after Gonzo has faced his fears of seeing himself as an aging Gonzo that is falling apart.
And our two friends quickly escape before the sun rises and leaves our bride waving and saying the iconic line of “Hurry Back”
That’s a fun and sweet moment.
Is Constance Hatchaway A Good Villain?
To answer this question, I feel that I need to go back to something I brought up in the introduction, looking at her both as a theme park adaption villain and a Muppets villain. As an adaption of her theme park counterpart, I don’t think she’s that great. She’s good and I do love finally getting her as a villain but I know Constance can be so much better as a villain. However, as a Muppets villain, I think she is fine, better than some that have come before her. I don’t think she’ll be remembered as fondly as Doc Hopper or Nicky Holiday. She serves her role in the story rather well and is a fun character.
I do apologize for this being so wishy-washy but I am truly torn on how this special adapted Constance. She’s not bad and I know I shouldn’t expect to be the same from the ride in a Muppets special but after waiting so long to get her, it’s kinda hard to not have high expectations. Still, she’s better than Ramsley.
I have one more villain to look at to close out this series and she’s from the very first theme park adaption. Join me as we take a ride on the Tower of Terror and look at the character of Abigail Gregory.