Time machines have been big this week, so let’s hop into our imaginary time machine one more time and take a trip back to Halloween 1997. That year, Disney released a made-for-TV movie based on one of its brand new theme park attractions, Tower of Terror — and the movie was called Tower of Terror, too. It told the mysterious backstory of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, and how in 1939 a group of passengers MYSTERIOUSLY disappeared in the elevator (after a freak lightning storm) while traveling up to the 13th floor. In present day, our heroes, Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst, stepped in to save the day and freed the ghosts from being stuck for all eternity in the hotel.
I’m going to go ahead and state for the record that it’s one of the best made-for-TV movies Disney has ever done, and it holds a very special place in my heart along with being a long-standing member of my Halloween movies line-up. The movie was actually shot on location at
MGM Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, with many interior and exterior scenes taking place in the deserted queue line. Also, inside the current ride (and at the one in California Adventure) parts of the movie are actually used in the pre-show. Not ashamed that I know a whole lot about the Tower of Terror movie.
This is all really important stuff to know, because the now the ride-turned-movie is getting a reboot! Disney just announced that they’re looking to bring Tower of Terror to the BIG SCREEN with a brand new story. So far they’ve got a rough draft of the story written by John August, who wrote Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Charlie’s Angels. According to Deadline, the premise will be just like the OG movie: “Five people in a posh hotel take an elevator and disappear after it is hit by lightning.”
Though it sounds exactly like the ’97 version, it probably won’t be like the ’97 version at all, and that’s perfectly fine — mostly because the original is perfect, so let’s leave it alone. Instead, we’ll get a brand new twist on the backstory of the Hollywood Tower Hotel and why the elevators inside are so fickle (dropping 13 stories at random, that’s crazy). The movie will probably be like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or even the upcoming Jungle Cruise movie starring Dwayne Johnson — heavily inspired by the attraction in the park, but with its own twists.
In the mean time, since I’ve got you thinking about the ’97 movie, now is a perfect time to watch it. You can pick it up in the merchandise shop at the exit of Tower of Terror. Or, because the Internet is great, it’s been uploaded to YouTube in its entirety. It’s 90-minutes of late ’90s nostalgia which is enough to hold us over till we’re ready to drop in on the brand new Tower of Terror.
(Image via Disney.)