Haunted Honeymoon (1986)

PG | 83 mins | Comedy | 25 July 1986

Director:

Gene Wilder

Producer:

Susan Ruskin

Cinematographer:

Fred Schuler

Production Designer:

Terence Marsh

Production Company:

Haunted Honeymoon Productions
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HISTORY

       The 14 Sep 1981 LAHExam article reported that actor-writer-director Gene Wilder received negative criticism from a friend who read seventy-two pages of his early script for Haunted Honeymoon. When the friend felt autobiographical aspects weighed down Wilder’s screenplay, Wilder backed away from the project, and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. president Sherry Lansing announced that the studio would no longer be attached. A 30 Jul 1986 HR news item stated that Wilder was quoted in press notes as being enamored with the title Haunted Honeymoon, and wondered why it was not registered. The confusion may have been largely on the part of the press note writer, for it was explained in a 12 Oct 1984 HR news item that Wilder would buy remake rights to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)'s comedy-mystery Haunted Honeymoon (1940, see entry) with his new wife, Gilda Radner, stepping into the role originated by Constance Cummings and Wilder taking the role played by Robert Montgomery.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Wilder incorporated several ideas as inspiration for his screenplay. His aim was to make a thirties-era film for 1986, using color while suggesting black and white-style photography. He was influenced by James Whale’s The Old Dark House (1932, see entry), whereby travelers seek refuge in a gloomy house during a storm. Wilder also claimed that at a dinner with Dom DeLuise, the actor launched into an uncanny impersonation of Ethel Barrymore in The Spiral Staircase (1945, see entry). DeLuise’s spontaneous performance inspired Wilder to dream up “Aunt Kate,” the odd, eighty-three-year-old matriarch from a bizarre family. ... More Less

       The 14 Sep 1981 LAHExam article reported that actor-writer-director Gene Wilder received negative criticism from a friend who read seventy-two pages of his early script for Haunted Honeymoon. When the friend felt autobiographical aspects weighed down Wilder’s screenplay, Wilder backed away from the project, and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. president Sherry Lansing announced that the studio would no longer be attached. A 30 Jul 1986 HR news item stated that Wilder was quoted in press notes as being enamored with the title Haunted Honeymoon, and wondered why it was not registered. The confusion may have been largely on the part of the press note writer, for it was explained in a 12 Oct 1984 HR news item that Wilder would buy remake rights to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)'s comedy-mystery Haunted Honeymoon (1940, see entry) with his new wife, Gilda Radner, stepping into the role originated by Constance Cummings and Wilder taking the role played by Robert Montgomery.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Wilder incorporated several ideas as inspiration for his screenplay. His aim was to make a thirties-era film for 1986, using color while suggesting black and white-style photography. He was influenced by James Whale’s The Old Dark House (1932, see entry), whereby travelers seek refuge in a gloomy house during a storm. Wilder also claimed that at a dinner with Dom DeLuise, the actor launched into an uncanny impersonation of Ethel Barrymore in The Spiral Staircase (1945, see entry). DeLuise’s spontaneous performance inspired Wilder to dream up “Aunt Kate,” the odd, eighty-three-year-old matriarch from a bizarre family.
       A 24 Sep 1985 DV announced that production began 9 Sep 1985 in London, England. Principal photography was completed 2 Dec 1985 after an eleven-week shoot on closed sets at Elstree Studios, according to a 9 Dec 1985 LADN article.
       Production notes state that filmmakers searched the American East Coast, then England and Scotland before settling on Knebworth House, located an hour away from London. The home, built in 1492, belonged to the Lytton family, and during the Victorian era, gargoyles, griffins, and slender towers were added to reflect the Gothic fashion of the day. They provided just the right atmosphere for the film. Although the mansion’s rooms would have worked, filmmakers chose to shoot interiors on soundstages in order to control flying harnesses, smoke, torrential rain, mist, and other complicated effects.
       Wherever it was possible, special effects consultant John Stears used “old school” special effects in keeping with the period look of the film.

      The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “The producers wish to thank Knebworth House, Hertfordshire, England, and David Tomblin. End credits state: “Filmed at Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, England.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Sep 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 1986
p. 3, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1986.
---
LAHExam
14 Sep 1981.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
9 Dec 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Jul 1986
Section G, p. 6.
New York Times
26 Jul 1986
p. 14.
Variety
30 Jul 1986
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Orion Pictures Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Stills photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Video playback op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Chief draughtsman
Draughtsman
Art dept asst
Art dept trainee
Art dept trainee
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed, U. K.
Asst ed, U. S.
Apprentice ed, U. K.
Apprentice ed, U. S.
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const coord
Prod buyer
Scenic artist
Drapes master
Asst drapes
Prop supv
Prop master
Dressing props
Dressing props
Dressing props
Prop storeman
Master carpenter
Master plasterer
Master rigger
Master painter
Standby
Standby
Standby
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Orchestrator
SOUND
Prod sd supv
Sd maintenance
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Asst re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff consultant
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff cam
Spec eff trainee
Titles
DANCE
"Ballin' The Jack" choreog by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairdressing supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod supv
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst to the prod
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Accounts asst
Asst accountant, U. S.
Accounts trainee
Loc mgr
Spec wrt/Pub
Pub asst
Secy to Mr. Wilder
Prod runner
Prod runner
Prod runner
Animal trainer
Research consultant
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"Always In All Ways," by Leo Robin, Frankie Harling & Richard Whiting, Famous Music Corporation
"Ballin' The Jack," by Chris Smith & Jim Burris, Christie-Max Music, Jerry Vogel Music Company, Inc., Edward B. Marks Music Company
"Get Happy," by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler, Warner Brothers Music, a division of Warner Brothers, Inc.
+
SONGS
"Always In All Ways," by Leo Robin, Frankie Harling & Richard Whiting, Famous Music Corporation
"Ballin' The Jack," by Chris Smith & Jim Burris, Christie-Max Music, Jerry Vogel Music Company, Inc., Edward B. Marks Music Company
"Get Happy," by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler, Warner Brothers Music, a division of Warner Brothers, Inc.
"Hot Lips," by Henry Busse, Henry Lange & Lou Davis, used by permission of CBS Robbins Catalog, Inc., "Isn't It Romantic," by Richard Rogers & Lorenz Hart, Famous Music Corporation
"Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf," by Ann Ronnell & Frank Churchill, Bourne Company.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 July 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 25 July 1986
New York opening: week of 26 July 1986
Production Date:
9 September--2 December 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
20 August 1986
Copyright Number:
PA298064
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Camera & lenses by Arriflex, Munich
Prints
Prints by De Luxe®
Duration(in mins):
83
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27935
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1986, an antique car pulls into the driveway of a Gothic mansion after an actor disguised as a woman with a knife protruding from his back collapses on the windowsill. As the wind carries off the man’s wig, a werewolf lurking in the bushes reaches for it, but howls when the driver walks toward the front door. At a radio station, actors Larry Abbot and Vickie Pearle are acting the roles of “Freddy,” the suspected werewolf, and “Lady Wolfington,” his fiancée, in the radio play Haunted Honeymoon. During a commercial break, reporters interview the actors about their upcoming marriage. Larry and Vickie are at their charming best, and when Larry has a lapse in concentration, Vickie covers for him. Just before the play resumes, a producer asks Eddy, the sound effects man, to demonstrate his wind and storm sounds. Upon hearing the effects, Larry gets a faraway look in his eyes. Vickie as Lady Wolfington speaks on the telephone with Detective Karp in Scotland Yard, revealing her fear that her fiancé, Freddy, has become a werewolf. Karp offers that a clue to Freddy’s condition would be if he stumbled over words beginning with the letter “w.” As storm sound effects are introduced, Larry giggles nervously and stumbles over his words, especially “Wolfington Castle.” Larry’s awkward behavior upsets Mr. Tarlow, the show’s sponsor, and he wants to fire the actor. However, Larry’s uncle, Dr. Paul Abbot, a famous psychiatrist appears and explains that his nephew’s recent engagement has opened a “crack in his psyche.” ... +


In 1986, an antique car pulls into the driveway of a Gothic mansion after an actor disguised as a woman with a knife protruding from his back collapses on the windowsill. As the wind carries off the man’s wig, a werewolf lurking in the bushes reaches for it, but howls when the driver walks toward the front door. At a radio station, actors Larry Abbot and Vickie Pearle are acting the roles of “Freddy,” the suspected werewolf, and “Lady Wolfington,” his fiancée, in the radio play Haunted Honeymoon. During a commercial break, reporters interview the actors about their upcoming marriage. Larry and Vickie are at their charming best, and when Larry has a lapse in concentration, Vickie covers for him. Just before the play resumes, a producer asks Eddy, the sound effects man, to demonstrate his wind and storm sounds. Upon hearing the effects, Larry gets a faraway look in his eyes. Vickie as Lady Wolfington speaks on the telephone with Detective Karp in Scotland Yard, revealing her fear that her fiancé, Freddy, has become a werewolf. Karp offers that a clue to Freddy’s condition would be if he stumbled over words beginning with the letter “w.” As storm sound effects are introduced, Larry giggles nervously and stumbles over his words, especially “Wolfington Castle.” Larry’s awkward behavior upsets Mr. Tarlow, the show’s sponsor, and he wants to fire the actor. However, Larry’s uncle, Dr. Paul Abbot, a famous psychiatrist appears and explains that his nephew’s recent engagement has opened a “crack in his psyche.” Based on the theories of Swiss scientist, Dr. Strickland, Abbot suggests that he can cure Larry at his wedding surrounded by relatives, scaring him to death at the isolated estate of his Aunt Kate. He says it is better if Vickie is unaware of the plan, and the executives agree. At the mansion, Aunt Kate revises her will, making Larry the sole beneficiary when she suspects someone is trying to kill her. She swears her brother and attorney, Francis, Sr., to secrecy. If Larry dies first, Kate asks that her money be divided equally among her surviving relatives. However, someone overhears Aunt Kate’s wishes. When Larry and Vickie arrive, Pfister, the butler, appears not to recognize Larry, even though Larry spent his childhood at the mansion. Soon, Pfister ‘s wife, Rachel, answers the door, and is startled by a magician named Montego. As his eyes glow, Rachel is no longer rattled and welcomes him. He explains that he is Susan Abbot’s husband, and she will arrive shortly by train. Larry settles Vickie in her bedroom. In the hallway, Pfister warmly greets Larry, but has no memory of meeting Larry and Vickie earlier. Soon, cousin Charles, son of Dr. Paul Abbot, arrives with his girl friend, Sylvia Beach. Dr. Abbot arrives with his wife, Nora, and nods knowingly at Pfister. In his room, Larry opens a drawer and a black cobra leaps out. He tries to escape, but the bedroom door is locked. Vickie and Francis, Sr., respond to Larry’s screams, and find him atop a moose head anchored to the wall. Larry tells them to call the zoo to remove the deadly snake. However, Francis, Sr. only finds a stuffed toy in the drawer not a real snake. In their room, Sylvia Beach wants to marry Charles, but he confesses that he is too broke, while an intruder climbs up the side of the mansion. Charles asks for more time, but Sylvia is tired of waiting. In the hallway, Sylvia smothers Larry in kisses, and Larry pretends it was Pfister’s wife Rachel who kissed him when Vickie sees his face covered in lipstick. At the cocktail hour, Dr. Abbot and Francis, Sr. scheme together. Sylvia confesses to being a longtime fan of Montego, while Vickie recognizes Sylvia’s lipstick and warns her to stay away from Larry. Soon, Charles accuses Larry of flirting with Sylvia, but Larry protests he is about to be married and introduces Vickie. Aunt Kate appears on the staircase and announces that her house is cursed. At dinner, Aunt Kate tells her guests that one of them is the werewolf she saw earlier in the garden. Many years ago, Kate’s brother, John, was first bitten and transformed into a werewolf. His affliction was passed on to a descendent in the room. Later, Aunt Kate’s dog, Toby, barks as a werewolf sneaks into the mansion basement through a hidden passage. In the parlor, Vickie joins Aunt Kate in singing “Balling The Jack.” Everyone enjoys the performance but Aunt Kate wants to know why Francis, Jr. has not arrived, and mentions that one of her dresses is missing. Francis, Sr. explains that his son does a wicked impression of his aunt and often borrows her dress for maximum effect. In the basement, the werewolf cuts the power, and Pfister leads the guests to their rooms by candlelight. In the wine cellar, the werewolf demands money from one of the guests, and is told he will be paid when the job is done. When the werewolf refuses to kill Larry and threatens to expose the guest’s plot, he is killed. Upstairs, a guest sneaks into Vickie’s room and asks for her help. Larry discovers cousin Francis, Jr.’s dead body in his bed. However, when he attempts to show Pfister the corpse, the body is missing. Larry returns to bed, and is soon disturbed by a ghoul peering down at him. He touches the apparition, screams, and runs to the door, which opens onto a brick wall. Meanwhile, the harpsichord in his room spontaneously plays “Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?” Vickie, clothed in her wedding dress, floats outside Larry’s window like a spirit, calling his name. His room door spontaneously unlocks, and he follows Vickie’s voice outside, seeing her veil in the grass. When he kneels to grab it, a hand comes out of the ground and clutches his throat. He breaks free and screams. Elsewhere, two deputies notice electrical disturbances at the Abbot estate and investigate. Larry is locked out of the house, and enters through the basement. There, he sees Francis, Jr.’s dead body. Pfister accuses Larry of being a werewolf, and committing murder. Pfister tries to strangle Larry, who knocks the butler unconscious. Deputies appear, and Larry claims to be rehearsing his lines. As the deputies search the rest of the house, a werewolf attacks Larry, but he escapes upstairs. The werewolf hears Toby barking and escapes through the secret passageway. Larry searches all the bedrooms looking for Vickie. Outside, Vickie dangles suspended in the air from a harness, controlled by cousin Charles, as part of Abbot’s “fright cure.” She demands to be lowered to use the nearest bathroom. Larry sees Pfister about to bury Francis, Jr. and the murdered werewolf when deputies appear. Larry dances with Francis, Jr.’s corpse so as not to arouse suspicion, and Pfister plays a concertina as the other corpse rests on his shoulder without its werewolf mask. Larry gives a deputy his autograph and the officers leave. As Pfister and Larry hide the corpses, another guest wearing a werewolf mask knocks them unconscious with a shovel. Larry is thrown into a coffin, but revives only to discover that he has been buried alive. Dr. Abbot informs Francis, Sr. that his son is dead. Cousin Charles offers to call police, and the rest of the guests fan out to search the grounds. Aunt Kate stays behind to guard the unconscious Pfister. Toby paws the ground where Larry is buried. Inside, Vickie listens to cousin Charles on the telephone argue with police, and discovers the electricity has been cut. When cousin Charles realizes that Vickie is aware the phone is dead, he pulls a leather glove out of his pocket, and remarks that Larry is not the only actor in the family. Cousin Charles attempts to strangle Vickie, but Larry catches up with them. He and cousin Charles fight until he is knocked to the ground. Cousin Charles proclaims that he is better looking, smarter than his cousin, and will become a lot richer. As Charles lifts a large, priceless vase to strike Larry, Aunt Kate shoots cousin Charles dead with a rifle. The wedding of Larry and Vickie takes place without a hitch. Back at the radio station, the play ends. As Larry and Vickie dash off for their real wedding, a werewolf in a raincoat, watches them drive away and muses that it would be wrong to assume a happy ending to the tale. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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