VIDEO ARCHIVES NOTES: This movie was discussed on the January 10, 2023 episode of the Video Archives podcast and can be found on their site here.
Haunted Honeymoon was directed and written by star Gene Wilder, who joins his wife Gilda Radner to play Larry Abbot and Vickie Pearle, two radio actors who decide to get married in the castle that was Larry’s childhood home, one filled with the strange members of his family such as aunt Kate (Dom DeLuise), his uncles Dr. Paul (Paul Smith) and Francis (Peter Vaughan) and his cousins Charles (Sir Jonathan Pryce), Nora (Julann Griffin), Susan (Jo Ross) and the cross-dressing Francis Jr. (Roger Ashton-Griffiths).
Dr. Paul has the idea of solving Larry’s on-air panic attacks with shock therapy that will knock them out by basically frightening him to death. He clues everyone — including Susan’s husband Montego the Magnificent (Jim Carter), the butler Pfister (Bryan Pringle), Pfister’s wife Rachel (Ann Way) and even Larry’s ex-girlfriend Sylvia (Eve Ferett) who is now dating Charles.
Then there’s a werewolf!
Wilder wrote this movie the whole way back on the set of Silver Streak and was inspired by The Old Dark House, The Cat and the Canary, The Black Cat and the Inner Sanctum radio show. Shot in London at Elstree Studios, Wilder saw this as an attempt to “make a 1930s movie for 1986.”
It went over about as well as you’d think. As Radner struggled with the ovarian cancer that would take her life — she and Wilder would only be married for four years before her sad early end — she wrote “On July 26, Haunted Honeymoon opened nationwide. It was a bomb. One month of publicity and the movie was only in the theaters for a week — a box-office disaster.”