In the run-up to Halloween I love to buy pumpkin-flavored everything at Trader Joe’s and watch spooky movies at home. I’m a total wuss and refuse to watch anything legitimately scary, so I stick to family-friendly fare like “Mad Monster Party,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Hocus Pocus.”
This year I hesitantly added Disney’s notorious “Haunted Mansion” movie from 2003 to our viewing list. (It was not nearly as well-received as their other theme-park-attraction-turned-film from that year: “Pirates of the Caribbean.”) At any rate, I’m 10 years late to the party of discovering that there’s a tiki bar scene!
Early in the movie, Eddie Murphy’s real estate agent character meets up with a couple at a tiki bar to sign the paperwork to sell their house. (If only we could have signed all the forms for our house at a tiki bar!)
The quirky couple drink out of Munktiki mugs and order a seemingly made-up tropical drink called Three Volcanoes. (If you’re trying to remember where you’ve seen that guy before, he was Kenny the hack comedian on “Seinfeld.”)
We listened to the DVD commentaries for this scene and learned that it was a reshoot designed to emphasize the workaholic nature of Eddy Murphy’s character. It sounded like the crew on a whim said, “Hey, let’s make it a tiki bar!” (Apparently the tiki bar set can now be found at the director’s house.)
If you look carefully you may be able to spot the three hitchhiking ghosts from later in the movie. They’re among the Hawaiian-shirted extras in this scene, according to the commentary.
It’s been pointed out that it was especially appropriate for there to be a tiki bar at the beginning of the film because at Disneyland you walk by The Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland before you get to the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square.
“The Haunted Mansion” had its share of groanworthy gags and jokes, but it wasn’t the abomination it was made out to be. It’s probably worth watching once for the random tiki sighting, gorgeous mansion set and costume designs, and cameos by Wallace Shawn.