A cool episode. I would have liked it better if Ash had gotten Gastly or Gengar. But, since Haunter might be Kadabra's counterpart. It makes sense.
(No, I don't really believe this episode was named after nor made a reference to the Twilight Zone ride in the Disney theme parks. I could be wrong, though, since one was operating before Pokémon was even released to the public, but I didn't know there's a Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park, so... must be a pretty obscure reference?)
Right after watching this episode when it first came on, I have no idea why it is I didn't fall in love with Ghost Pokémon. It would take about another generation or two before I would give the Ghost-type a try, but for whatever reason, I couldn't bring myself to liking them. It's weird because the Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar are fun characters who just want to have fun. They're pranksters by heart, and when you compare them to the games, they're much more benevolent in the anime than they may be in the games or even the manga. Outside of Giratina and Spiritomb, I don't think there was ever a Ghost Pokémon in the anime that was really mean-spirited.
*rimshot*Sure, there was that Gastly a few episodes back, but he doesn't harm people and just exploits them for cash (and can talk for whatever reason).
It has been a long, long time since I last saw this episode, and I had nearly forgotten how much of a joy this episode is. It's just one big running gag after another with a sprinkle or two of creepiness, and most of the gags are a bit of slapstick humor. Team Rocket seems to get the blunt of the stick, though, as they're beaten up quite a bit, but given their silly nature, it works (since they haven't been threatening for a while). But Ash, Misty, and Brock, and even Pikachu and Charmander aren't exempt from it, either. It starts when they get lost in the fog and only Ash and Misty hold hands to keep from being separated, and Brock—only a few feet away—can't find them. Then he grabs Pikachu's tail, and it gets funnier from there. I feel the voice-acting shows in the part where Ash plays the prank and Misty and Brock yell at him. Actually, the voice-acting in general shows from Ash to Meowth. This is episode 23, and yet they sound their best here thus far, especially Nathan Price's performance. He doesn't sound quite as awkward as he did, which I remember started hearing great right about “Tentacool and Tentacruel”, personally.
I find it odd Dexter doesn't have information on Haunter and Gengar, but I guess it makes some sense. I'm sure that Oak and other professors have encountered Ghost Pokémon before, it's just that their slippery and elusive nature makes it difficult to really research. Eventually in Johto there will be data mentioned on Ghost Pokémon in the future while Gengar does get information in Hoenn, but for now, they're still a mystery, which is part of their charm. And that charm is the pranking they play on humans and Pokémon alike. Because they can make themselves invisible/vanish/teleport/what-have-you by will, they can drive people crazy. Not fun for the victims, but it's a twisted sense of fun for the Ghost-type. They probably don't try to kill their victims intentionally, but it's hard to say since death is rarely ever touched upon in Pokémon—at least with the dub.
Speaking of death, could we count Ash and Pikachu as the first characters to die in Pokémon? Having a chandelier fall on you is not pleasant, and though they weren't impaled by it, they may have been knocked unconscious, or even died from the impact. Either way, we see them as ghosts for a few minutes, and as a brick joke to Ash's pranking in the beginning, he pulls one on Misty and Brock in a scene that some Pokéshippers like to use as evidence. I personally don't, but it's sweet how Misty really shows how much she cares about Ash judging from how worried she was. They really have come a long way since the first episode.
The pacing in this episode is really good, never slipping up in execution and length. It basically is used to show us how tricky Ghost Pokémon are, and is done to great effect—though the human characters become a part of it as well, mostly with Team Rocket. I think this is the first episode thus far, or at least for a while, where I had the most fun. I didn't laugh hard or loud, but I was grinning the entire time up to the very end. The writing does indeed feel like 4KIDS, and while I don't recall any puns they may have done, because of the slapstick humor, they were able to have it naturally flow onscreen and have the dialogue lead it through. Like I said before, one of 4KIDS' strengths are the jokes and puns they write for the characters. They tend to be groan-worthy in a lot of their shows, but in Pokémon, it fits like a glove. They're showing just how much fun they're having with the episodes as do the characters in the episodes. Is it any wonder many of us prefer the 4KIDS dub?
Sadly (unless you're into that sort of thing), we have to get back to the creepiness. But perhaps they managed to sneak in some humor to help balance everything out since we have Haunter with us. Maybe. I remember Haunter being a pain in the butt as a kid...