Haunted Castle appears to be a Halloween season staple at IMAX theaters. When I saw that it was going to be playing, I figured I’d go and check it out. It ended up being a rather fun little outing that would be suitable for family viewing this holiday season.
The movie doesn’t have much to it, it seems more like a demo reel than a movie. The story is thin, the live action acting is rather weak, and the animation is dated. Still, this was a fun time at the movies. For the 40 minutes that it is playing, there is always something to look at, something happening, and backed by some good music.
The story, such as it is, follows Johnny, an aspiring rock star, who has been summoned to his reclusive mother’s castle following her death. It seems that the estate has been left to him, despite their lack of communication. The summoning is a trap set for poor Johnny. The castle is inhabited by demons, demons who have plans for our intrepid hero. They are led by Mr.D, who lays out the offer, sign over your soul in exchange for super stardom. Johnny is a little wary of the offer, so before he decides, Mr.D’s lackey, Mephisto, takes him on a tour of the castle.
The tour takes us on a 3D enhanced journey through the various rooms of the castle. We get to see trapped skeletons playing their instruments, scenes of torture, not to mention the monkeys. A good portion of the tour is set up as type of roller coaster ride with your view into the screen being in the first person, enhancing the sense of motion.
Bottomline. The story never gets all that deep, the characters aren’t terribly well fleshed out, and it seems to be over before it gets going, but it is all OK. Haunted Castle doesn’t aspire to any high art. It does, however, simulate what it would be like going to a haunted mansion, a mansion filled with people in makeup with plastic props, nothing that you can take seriously, but still fun.