Hollywood-Monster, or the more widely used & much better alternate title Ghost Chase, starts with a groovy credit sequence involving big pink animated eyes & a catchy 80's pop tune after which we are introduced to Fred (Tim McDaniel) who is a huge horror film buff & aspires to make his own & uses his friend's Warren McCloud (Jason Lively) & Laurie (Jill Whitlow) to star in it. One night, on his 21st birthday, Warren receives a phone-call from his lawyer (Julian Curry) who informs him that he is invited to the reading of his Father's will. Sensing some money Warren & Fred are visibly disappointed when all he is left is an old suitcase containing a clock, it's quite a nice looking clock but still only a clock. Meanwhile corporate villain Stan Gordon (Paul Gleason) has a mysterious interest in the suitcase himself & sends some seemingly random half German half American guy named Karl (Leonard Lansink) to steal it. Back at Warren's house & as the clock strikes one the ghost of his Grandfather's butler Lewis appears who reveals that there is an absolute fortune hidden in his Grandfather's house & he was murdered to protect it's whereabouts. Warren, Fred, Laurie & Lewis set out to find the missing fortune...
This German production was co-written & directed by Roland Emmerich who would later go on to make mega budget Hollywood films like Universal Soldier (1992), Stargate (1994), Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), The Patriot (2000) & The Day After Tomorrow (2004) & I personally didn't think it was too bad but at the same time wasn't exactly brilliant either. The script by Emmerich, Oliver Eberle & Thomas Kubisch is definitely aimed at children for the most part although there is some minor violence & bad language. Hollywood-Monster moves along at a fair pace although it is a bit dull at times, the comedy isn't really that funny while the horror elements are played down & it doesn't particularly satisfy in either department. Lewis the ghost is almost a secondary character, doesn't get much screen time & when he does get some he barely does anything other than stand there & talk anyway. The plot is silly, childish & somewhat predictable with all the clichéd feel good family elements present & correct like in the end the good guys win, the bad guys are defeated while love & friendship conquers all, but then did you really expect anything else? On the positive side Hollywood-Monster goes about it's business with a certain likability, as a whole the film sort of entertains & has a nice climax when our heroes have to fight a possessed suit of armour in a basement dungeon.
Director Emmerich pays homage to the horror film throughout as he uses the typical slasher scenario at the start to try & fool his audience, he tries to get as many posters into the background as he can from the likes of The Shining (1980) to Friday the 13th (1980), he shows lots of clips from Night of the Living Dead (1968), has the lead character who drives around in a hearse & is obsessed by horror films & he sets various scenes in a special effects workshop. I must confess I'm confused as to why he has done this considering Hollywood-Monster is pretty family friendly, these homages & references are going to pass most children by especially one instance when he name drops Boris Karloff, how many pre-teens are going to know who Boris Karloff is?
Technically Hollywood-Monster is well made with good cinematography, music & solid production values but nothing particularly stands out. The special effects are decent enough considering the time it was made. The cute, large eyed, bushy eyebrowed design of Lewis obviously is meant to appeal to children, I would have preferred him a little scarier. The acting was OK but nothing spectacular.
Hollywood-Monster is an OK film but in no way a brilliant one, it passes an hour and a half without too much pain & provides a few decent scenes here & there although I'm sure children will get more out of it than adults. Worth a watch if you catch it on TV for free or it's going cheap somewhere.
Review by Paul Andrews from the Internet Movie Database.