A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there are mild scary moments in this film and that the ghosts turn out to be more than just the characters' run-away imaginations. A headless ghost threatens the main characters with a knife. A scary nanny ghost pokes her head through a mirror. Five people are "trapped between this world and the next" after being struck by lightning, and a woman speaks of them being banished to hell "for an eternity of pain." Eerie green rain falls down on the ghost of a little tap-dancing girl.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
On Halloween night in 1939, five people at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, including child actor Sally Shine, disappear after a mysterious green light strikes the hotel. Spooked by the incident, the hotel owner closes and locks the hotel. And so it stays for 60 years, until an old woman named Abigail (Amzie Strickland) tells tabloid writer Buzzy Crocker (Steve Guttenberg) that she alone knows what really happened to the five people who mysteriously disappeared at the Hollywood Tower Hotel. She lived at the hotel in 1939 (as did Sally Shine) and witnessed Sally's nanny casting a spell meant to kill the young actress. According to Abigail, the spell was too strong -- instead of taking just Sally's life, it took the souls of all five people and left them in limbo. Buzzy, who wants to be taken seriously as a journalist, heads to the hotel to check things out. After running into some real ghosts, he believes he's found the big break he's been looking for and begs Jill Perry (Nia Peeples), his ex and a newspaper exec for the L.A. Banner, to let him write the story for her paper. Though she initially refuses, she eventually gets caught up in the unfolding mystery.
Is it any good?
Based on Disney-MGM Studios' Tower of Terror attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, TOWER OF TERROR is clearly a made-for-TV movie -- and sticks to a very predictable horror movie formula. Even young kids will probably figure out who the real villain is, but just the same, they may enjoy watching the truth come to light. Most of the acting is flat, with the main exception of Dunst, who does a commendable job with her cheesy lines.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: October 26, 1997
- On DVD or streaming: August 5, 2003
- Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Nia Peeples, Steve Guttenberg
- Director: D.J. MacHale
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- MPAA explanation: Scary moments
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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