Ha ha!

You just never know what he'll review next!

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Burl reviews Haunted Honeymoon! (1986)


Oh boo, it’s Burl, here with a goofnugget tale of shrieking terror! Well, ha ha, not really – in fact there’s no terror to be had here, because it’s meant to be a comedy! The trouble is, there are no laffs either! There’s a lot of confusion, quite a bit of yelling and screaming, plenty of hambone acting and no little mugging, but laffs, as the Cockney shopgirl said, we ‘ave none! The picture, which you may vaguely recall from the mists of the past, is called Haunted Honeymoon!

Now, the summer of 1986 stands out in my mind as a particularly enjoyable one at the old movie palace, as I tell you every time the year comes up! Gems of varying luster came rolling down the plankway at regular intervals, and I took in as many of them as I could manage! Aliens, The Fly, Stand By Me, Manhunter, Big Trouble in Little China, Friday the 13th part 6, Maximum Overdrive, Night of the Creeps – all of these I went to see, and all of them I enjoyed! Mixed in there was Haunted Honeymoon, which I did not go to see, but the ads and posters for which I always saw in the company of the pictures I was more interested in! I had a suspicion it was bad, but still, there was always a nagging feeling that I should check it out, just in case it had been dusted with a little of that summer-of-’86 pixie dust if only by proximity to the rest!

Well, I finally did see it, and it turns out my initial feeling was the correct one, though the picture starts out with some promise! It’s set in 1939, and our heroes are a pair of radio actors, Larry Abbot and his fiancée Vickie Pearle, who are played of course by real-life marrieds Gene Wilder from Silver Streak and Gilda Radner from Hanky Panky, and in the story here are very soon to be wed! But Larry has a fright problem and suddenly from out of nowhere Paul L. Smith, the large man from Dune and Pieces, pops up in the role of Larry’s uncle, planning a shady-sounding scare cure for him, to be enacted over the upcoming nuptial weekend!

Larry and Vickie return to the ancestral manse and are soon mixed up with a gang of weirdos all in on the plan to scare Larry – we think! Actually, we don’t know, because some peculiar opacity of the narrative prevented me from ever being exactly sure what was going on! Ha ha, that’s some real good storytelling for you! Of course it’s possible that the plot threads were just too nimbly woven for my poor oaf’s brain to discern all the subtleties at play, but somehow, in a movie that chooses to cast Dom DeLuise from The Last Married Couple in America as Great Aunt Kate, the Abbot family matriarch, I doubt it! Ha ha!

Easily my favourite thing in here are the radio show scenes we see at the beginning, which look to have been well researched, and are certainly well designed and played! But then we get to the big old mansion, and things more or less begin a-swirling the drain! There are a couple of amusements, but even these tend to be ruined by overstretching, and the rest of it is dead unfunny! They spent a few bucks on the sets, you can tell, but to no especial purpose! It often doesn’t make sense, and people act in ways that are not always identifiable as genuine human behaviour!

It’s cast well – Wilder, who directed it too, took every advantage of shooting this in England, I’d say! At least three guys from Brazil show up, including Jonathan Pryce (whom we also recall from Tomorrow Never Dies), Bryan Pringle, and Peter Vaughan! Jim Carter from Top Secret also appears, providing the basso profundo in the great chorus of voices Wilder has assembled! And Wilder himself is a fine performer, and does some okay stuff here, but again it all seems such a waste, being as it is in the service of a cold plum pie! The plot has more cracks than a gang of humpties, and despite Wilder’s warmth as an actor, and presumably as a director, in toto this picture has all the charm of a three-bean salad! I give Haunted Honeymoon one sturdy moosehead!

No comments:

Post a Comment