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The Mystery of the Hollywood Tower Hotel!
on July 12, 2002
Steve Guttenberg is Buzzy Crocker, a Hollywood reporter whose latest stories tend to grace the covers of supermarket tabloids. Buzzy's been blacklisted from the "real" papers ever since one of his news-breaking stories proved to be false. Now Buzzy concocts most of his stories himself by dressing his lovely niece Anna (Kirsten Dunst) in ghost and Alien costumes, taking photos, and writing tales of shock and horror to go with them. But when an old spinster woman named Abigail Gregory from the local nut-house pays Buzzy a visit, he's off on the story of a lifetime, to solve the mystery of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, a story that's sure to get him back into the real newspaper business.
It seems that back in Hollywood's heyday, Shirley Temple-like child star Sally Shine, her nanny Emeline Partridge, the hotel owner's bumbling bellhop son Dewey, aspiring singer Claire Poulet, and Claire's boyfriend Gilbert, all disappeared one Halloween night in the Hotel elevator on their way to a party on the top floor. Ever since that fateful night, the Hollywood Tower Hotel has been shut down, and whatever happened to those five unfortunate souls has been a mystery. But Abigail claims to know the secret. She was there that night, and she believes that Sally Shine's nanny was a witch! Insanely jealous of the child, Emeline Partridge cast a horrible spell over the girl, but the spell backfired and left the inhabitants of the elevator trapped in limbo, left to haunt the Hollywood Tower Hotel until the spell is finished, or broken. Only then will they meet their doom, or else be able to rejoin the party they had originally been on their way to, a ghostly party that still goes on every Halloween night in the hopes that the missing guests will finally arrive.
Now Buzzy is on a mission, and finds himself picking up partners at every turn. First he enlists the help of his beautiful and spunky niece Anna, then recruits an odd "dude" named "Q" to help, since he IS the great grandson of the original owner AND the grandson of the missing bellhop. Before he knows it, former boss Jill Perry comes along for the ride, and the ghosts are eager to have the puzzle solved too.
Disney's Tower of Terror is a great thrill ride of a TV movie, just like the actual ride it's based on, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park in Florida. The movie is great family entertainment, full of humor, some tame scares, superb music, and a great cast. Steve Guttenberg is likeable as always, and Kirsten Dunst is as dreamy as ever, even if they did make her dress-down and tighten back her beautiful hair for most of the film. Tower of Terror is a must own video for any fan of the cast, the Disney theme parks, or fun, family films in general. Now lets hope Disney gives us a DVD someday.