Ghosts, spirit guides, laughs, and 80s icons! I take on three fun and cheesy flicks: Vibes, High Spirits, and Haunted Honeymoon.
What a cast! Jeff Goldblum, Julian Sands, Peter Falk, and Cyndi Lauper. Sadly, I think Vibes was pretty much the death of Cyndi’s major stardom. The awesome theme song “Hole in My Heart” was shunned by radio, and she’d only have one top ten hit (barely) after that with “I Drove All Night.”
In Vibes, Cyndi plays a quirky psychic in 80s drag. She’d later reprise the role on Bones, minus the 80s drag. Anyway, she convinces another psychic, played by Jeff Goldblum, to help her help Columbo find a lost pyramid. Meanwhile, there are baddies on their tail.
Jeff Goldblum, playing Jeff Goldblum perfectly, brings the film much of its humor and practically steals the show. However, as a trio, he, Cyndi, and Peter Falk are a pretty fricking good comedy team.
It’s a charming, silly flick that runs just a bit too long. Ten minutes shaved off to make it an hour and a half would have been ideal. Also watch out for Steve Buscemi, Laverne from Empty Nest, and Jeff’s quips about the height of Cyndi’s hair. The 80s rule.
HIGH SPIRITS (1988)
High Spirits is pretty much a family film, sort of like riding through Disney’s Haunted Mansion. The cast is amazing: Peter O’Toole, Liam Neeson, Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah, Peter Gallagher, Jennifer Tilly, and Beverly D’Angelo. Okay. It was an awesome cast in the 80s.
When Peter O’Toole isn’t able to pay for his castle in Ireland anymore, he decides to make money by attracting tourists who want to stay at a haunted castle. He has to fake the haunted part…or so he thinks. Just when all his fake ghost effects go horribly wrong and guests are ready to bail, real ghosts show and stop them from leaving.
Just like Vibes, this is a really cute flick that runs about 10 minutes too long and starts to unravel and meander a bit in the middle. Even so, there are plenty of wacky moments. My favorites include a picture of a squid coming to life, Jennifer Tilly asking a priest if he’s gay (Peter Gallagher, who is in nothing but his clerical collar at one point), and Steve Guttenberg shirtless.
There’s also a gang of Jawa-esque demon ghost nuns that should be in a real horror movie, because they’re creepy as hell!
HAUNTED HONEYMOON (1986)
Gene Wilder directs Haunted Honeymoon, a Mel Brooks-esque supernatural comedy that actually reminds me a lot of the original The House on Haunted Hill. The ambience and atmosphere capture that classic spooky vibe and the movie begins with an evil laugh and eerie organ music.
Gene and wife Gilda Radner play radio show actors, but Gene has a speech impediment. So when they go to his family’s castle to marry, a plan is set to use shock therapy to cure him—by scaring the heck out of him! But soon, the terror turns real….
Although Gene shines in a hilarious moment when a Frankenstein monster is hovering over his bed, and Dom DeLuise and Gilda do a chuckle-worthy song and dance, Haunted Honeymoon doesn’t get weighed down in excessive humor and actually delivers a fun haunted castle movie!
Even Dom playing the family matriarch completely in drag doesn’t feel like overkill for a laugh. I do love the running joke about a cross-dressing male member of the family who is known to put on Dom’s dresses. And upon seeing the movie for the first time in years, I discovered that one of Dom’s lines is used as the main sample in a techno track from 1992 called “This House is Cursed!”
Haunted Honeymoon has it all. Cobwebs. Thunder and lightning. Secret doors and passages. Creepy servants. Corpses. Graves. Ghosts. Vampires. A werewolf killer! It’s gothic comedy fun…and it even has a twist ending!