Oct. 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM ET
Is Disney World the happiest place on Earth? Not to director Randy Moore, whose new horror film "Escape from Tomorrow" shows the dark side behind the hugely-popular theme park's smiles.
Moore filmed his low-budget, black-and-white movie guerrilla-style, with hand-held personal cameras (and no permission from Disney) on the grounds of Disney World. But as he told TODAY's David Gregory, he holds no personal grudge against Mickey Mouse.
"I went there religiously as a kid," he said, adding he'd visit his father in Orlando each summer, and "we had a great time." But when he took his wife (who is not from the U.S.) and children to Disney World, she "had an awful, awful experience."
After seeing it through her eyes, Moore began to see the "cracks in the veneer," and came up with his story, which focuses on a recently-fired father losing his grip on reality as he tries to keep things normal with his family while on vacation at Disney World.
But obtaining official permission to film on the grounds of Disney World was not likely to be forthcoming, so Moore decided to let his film set arise organically from a regular day at the park. After rehearsals in his hotel room, his small cast and crew would infiltrate the crowds and just film away. "Cameras are pretty ubiquitous at Disney," he said. "We went in there like tourists and shot every day."
Disney declined to comment on the film to NBC News, and has made no moves to sue the filmmakers. That may be a wise decision, said The Hollywood Reporter's Matt Belloni.
"They don't want to let this movie have the benefit of a fight with a big company like Disney," he said.
Stay tuned: The film's website has a counter of how many days they can go without being sued.
"Escape from Tomorrow" is currently in theaters.