Wilder's Homage to Brooks
Having got engaged to his radio horror show co-star Vickie Pearle (Gilda Radner), Larry Abbot (Gene Wilder) seems to have a bit of an issue with it as he starts to suffer from bouts of crippling fear and stuttering. It is why his relative Dr. Paul Abbot (Paul L. Smith) suggests that when Larry takes Vickie back to the family castle to meet his eccentric bunch of relatives that they try and shock the stutter out of poor Larry. But with Aunt Kate (Dom DeLuise) having decided to name Larry as the soul heir to her estate it seems that not everyone is trying to cure him.
Gene Wilder worked with Mel Brooks a number of times and it is not that surprising that some of his directing style rubbed off on him. The trouble is that when you watch Wilder's "Haunted Honeymoon" it is clear to see Brooks' influence all over the movie from the sets, characters, musical numbers, jokes and so on but it lacks that something extra which Brooks has to make it all come together. As such whilst "Haunted Honeymoon" clearly has a storyline and a twist it frequently ventures into the realms of just being a series of gags.
Now for some this almost gag reel feel won't be a problem, in fact some of the set pieces are a pure joy to watch especially when Gilda Radner and Dome DeLuise do "Ballin' the Jack". But after a while the lack of focus on a narrative and instead the almost machine gun fire of jokes not so much becomes off putting but not enough to maintain your attention despite the good supporting cast with the wonderful and sadly missed Gilda Radner making the movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Haunted Honeymoon" has a lot of laughs but it is lacking that something extra which would have made this up there with the Mel Brooks comedies which Gene Wilder had starred in and seems to be trying to emulate.