Haunted Mansion

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride decorated for the holidays. A feature film and animated special based on the ride are in development. (Glen Miller / The Disneyland Resort)

Guillermo del Toro may still be struggling to figure out the script for his planned "Haunted Mansion" theatrical feature, but Disney Television Animation is putting its own take on the popular Disney Parks attraction into development.

"Haunted Mansion," which is in development as a special for the Disney Channel and Disney XD, will be directed by Gris Grimly, known for his own eerie horror and children's book illustrations, including "Gris Grimly's Wicked Nursery Rhymes." "Phineas and Ferb's" Scott Peterson and Joshua Pruett are also on board the project as writers and producers.

No word on when or if Disney plans to air the special, but this August marks the 45th anniversary of the opening of the first Haunted Mansion attraction in Disneyland. A similar version of the ride, with a different Dutch Gothic Revival exterior, opened in the Magic Kingdom in Florida in 1971.

Disney had previously announced that Del Toro was planning to direct a live action feature based on the ride, and according to the director's comments in a recent Reddit AMA Q&A, they're four drafts into the script and still trying to figure it out.

"We always feel like we are very close, but not yet," Del Toro said.

Del Toro and Grimly both recently worked to develop a stop-motion theatrical feature based on Grimly's dark take on "Pinocchio." Del Toro was to co-direct and Grisly was to be executive producer. However, in early 2013, it was reported the film had been delayed.

Both the feature and the animated special are Disney's second crack at expanding the ride into film. Back in 2003, the studio released "The Haunted Mansion" as a family comedy starring Eddie Murphy, but it received terrible reviews. 

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