Since the passing of the great Gene Wilder we have seen a surge of his lesser known works making their way to Blu-ray from a number of distributors, including a handful of titles directed by Gene Wilder himself. Kino Lorber, no stranger to releasing some obscure works along side of classic films has provided us with one such title, Gene Wilder’s Haunted Honeymoon. Haunted Honeymoon is a film that touts itself a comedy chiller and features a great cast and an interesting enough premise. Unfortunately for Haunted Honeymoon, is that it fails to deliver much on the comedy front and offers absolutely zero chills.
Gene Wilder also stars in front of the camera as Larry Abbot a star radio performer with unwanted bursts of fear and a strange speech impediment. Larry’s uncle Dr. Paul Abbot, played by the intimidating and always wonderful Paul L. Smith, (Pieces, Sonny Boy) decides the only proper course of action is to take Larry to their family mansion and have him scared…to death! Larry’s fiance Vickie Pearl, Wilder’s real wife at the time Gilda Radner, joins him and a cast of other characters for a spooky night of ghostly hi-jinks.
Unfortunately though, Haunted Honeymoon while trying to stand alongside much better farcical parodies such as Young Frankenstein, comes off falling flatter than a bad episode of Scooby Doo. During the 82 minute run time I spent much of the time wondering just what everyone involved with this project is thinking, the story is mundane, the jokes are weak, and most everyone involved looks bored. The exception to that being Dom DeLuise who plays the absolutely unbearable Aunt Kate, he seems to be having a good time, but I didn’t watching him.
There is a small payoff at the end of the story that I won’t spoil but you will not care anyway, it’s so hard to get invested in anything that’s happening because everything is just so tame and boring. Haunted Honeymoon is a safe movie to put on when your grandmother is over during the Halloween season. She’ll get a kick out of the easy jokes and what granny doesn’t love Gene Wilder? For everyone else though there are plenty of other Gene Wilder films to check out with just better everything.
While Kino Lorber lists this as newly remastered in HD, there is not much remarkable about this transfer. It doesn’t help that Haunted Honeymoon isn’t much to look at with sets that would look more at home in stage play. The movie looks washed out with low contrast and there isn’t much color to speak of. What hurts the presentation of Haunted Honeymoon the most is a real lack of detail in the image. Disappointingly, the Haunted Honeymoon presented here looks more like an upscaled DVD than a high quality Blu-ray release. Even schlock from Arrow Video gets a better treatment than this.
Presented with an LPCM 2.0 sound mix Haunted Honeymoon actually sounds quite good with dialogue coming through loud and clear. The loud and obnoxious orchestra music mixes great with the other sounds as well, so volume adjustments were not necessary. Sadly the best sound in the world couldn’t of saved this one from being quite a dull affair.
Haunted Honeymoon is a bare bones catalog release through and through falling in line with other Kino Lorber Studio Classic releases featuring the original artwork in a solid Blu-ray case and their standard Kino branded disc. The “bonus” section of the disc menu offers up 3 trailers for other recent Kino releases. If you count chapter select as a feature, it has that.
Newly re-mastered 1080p HD presentation of the film in 1.85:1
1 Blu-ray disc
Haunted Honeymoon will be a good inclusion for Kino Lorber collectors and Gene Wilder completionists, but it’s really hard to give this a recommendation to anyone else as there are just much better options out there. I’ll say that normally these type of movies aren’t my cup of tea anyway so if a wacky haunted radio/stage play with white bread jokes sounds up your alley you can pick this one up at Amazon.