The Treehouse We Left In The Ghoulburn is a 1995 American Boyhood Coming of age film written by Ivan

The Treehouse We Left In The Ghoulburn
Directed by Sam Raimi
Produced by Grant Curtis

Robert G. Tapert

Screenplay by Sam Raimi

Ivan Raimi

Based on Idea by Sam Raimi
Narrated by Benjamin Bratt

Joseph-Gordon Levitt

Chad Michael Murray

Robert Pattinson

Taylor Kistch

Benjamin Bratt

Dermont Mulroney

Paul McCartney

Karen Grassle

Susan Sullivan

Jennifer Beals

Joanna Pettet

Isaac Hayes

Richard Roundtree

Michele Lee

Jenny O'Hara

Jimi Hendrix

Kevin Dillon

Sarah Jessica Parker

Jeffrey Wright

Viola Davis

Jami Gertz

Alan Cumming

Martin Lawrence

Gil Birmingham

Chris Penn

Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography Peter Deming
Editing by Bob Murawski
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) March 24th, 1995
Running time 97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8.1 million
Box office $52,287,419

Raimi & Sam Raimi and directed by Sam Raimi based off the classic 1990 Novel of the same name.

It features a young Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Kistch and Chad Michael Murray heading the protagonist character ensemble of the film.

It features Benjamin Bratt, Dermot Mulroney and John Michael Higgins as an older collection of the remaining three boys in their 20's.

The film also features infamous beatles former Paul McCartney, Karen Grassle, Susan Sullivan, Jennifer Beals, Joanna Pettet, Isaac Hayes, Richard Roundtree, Michele Lee, Jenny O'Hara, Famous Singer Jimi Hendrix, Kevin Dillon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jeffrey Wright, Viola Davis, Jami Gertz, Alan Cumming, Martin Lawrence and featuring Chris Penn.

The Film is set between the time periods of the boys being boys in the 1960's and the remaining ones as adults in the 1990's.

The boys are 14 during the 60's and 25 during the 90's.


Four boys from different backgrounds and different ordeals find sanctuary in the strong friendship they have with each other in the small fictional town of Ghoulburn, Maine.

The boys go through an unforgettable summer of adventures and make a pact they will never seperate no matter what.

A family feud begins as the boys run off at the end of Autumn upon three of the boys families announcing they will be leaving the small countryside town of Ghoulburn in set of settling down in three different townships whilest the fourth's family will remain in the town.

In the end boys accept the move and go forth with their parents.

The boys remain in contact and rarely visit each other apart from two of which whom end up living together upon Yarnley's mother committing suicide.

The boy ultimatley himself attempts to intervene in a group of boys beating upon a Manhattan boy for having the orientation of being homosexual.

As a result he saves the boy but suffers a fatal hit which consists of him being struck in the cheek and reverting him to smacking his head down upon the sidewalk.

The other boy to whom he was living with falls in love with an accountant woman and they bear two children and move out to Ghoulburn.

There he reconciles with the boy of whom was left stuck in the town with his obese now schitzophrenic mother and the other boy whom ran his way back to Ghoulburn and committed Grand Theft Auto which landed him prison.

The boys revisit the treehouse they had all built as kids before the month of their seperation.

The film promptly ends with the now grown remaining three men at their treehouse discovering the old radio Yarnley had taken with them on their little run off into the Ghoulburn Woods.

It is turned on and discovered to still work.

Luston and Benjamin of the three men plan to leave soon after but are made to stay longer by Marty who says there is a certain song which will come on he wants them stay for.

The song is the Rhythm of the Rain by the Cascades which happened to be Yarnley's favourite song.

Marty explains how a summer long ago and the summer prior to their special summer did Yarnley's mum lash out at him and hit him multiple times leaving his face in a horrible state did he run off to him and Marty calmed him with an old radio he discovered which played with him in the treehouse that night despite a large rainstorm.

In irony to the bad weather the local radio station in Ghoulburn put on the Rythm of the Falling Rain by the Cascades.

The Backgrounds

  1. Marty: Prestigous Modern Wealth Parents, Post-Office Employee Mother and Small Town Businessman Father. Good, loving parents whom though keep him very inkept
  2. Yarnley: Once possessed an abusive alchoholic father whom ran off when he was 13 (A year prior to the movie's first half storyline). His mother is a broken alchololic whom is somewhat suicidal. He cares greatly for his mother whom once rendered him a happy childhood. Her mental health conditions is a shocking wake-up to him that things don't stay the same forever and though Yarnley is of a sensitive loving nature he can quite aggresive when individuals bring up her problems. He was the one who laid down the pact for the boys at the Ghoulburn Treehouse before they finally seperated that they come back here one day with the old radio and be together once again.
  3. Luston: Controlling mother and never knew his father whom ran off when she was pregnant. His mother though very loving lied to him regarding his father. Stated he was indeed a drunk but indeed her pushy nature was opposed against and his father had made plans to take custody of Luston believing her to be an unfit mother whom will hold him back of any ambitions like she did him. She did not accept this and claimed he had hit her. He had run off and sent many letters to him trying to get him to come see him but they were discovered by his mum and binned.
  4. Benny: Abusive Drug Addict Thief Mother and father whom are adoptive. Psychotic mentally disturbed brother whom due to the abuse was left in a mental autistic condition. Abusive Uncle. The boys at one point on their runaway adventure come across Benny's father and uncle doing a backwoods drug deal. They are caught listening and all boys are beaten by his father, uncle and the two others making the deal. Benny's beaten from his adoptive father oversaw him landing in a short coma and the boys carried all the way back to the beginning of the Ghoulburn Woods trail where he awoke the night before he was to be reunited with his parents.

Special Features

The first DVD release of the film featured the basic special features of an Audio Commentary from director Sam Raimi and co-writer Ivan Raimi as well as actors Dermot Mulroney, Paul McCartney, Kevin Dillon & Benjamin Bratt as well as a Making Of Featurette titled "The Ghoulburn Runaway, A Treehouse and a Radio." It also featured as a final special feature on the first release the four boy actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Chad Michael Murray, Robert Pattinson & Taylor Kistch singing a song each. The songs were that of a song featured in the 1986 classic Stand By Me. They then sang an altogether song. The songs being the following:

  1. Everyday- Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  2. Come Softly To Me- Chad Michael Murray
  3. Mr. Lee- Robert Pattinson
  4. Let The Good Times Roll- Taylor Kitsch
  5. Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home)- Altogether

The Ghoulburn Woods Runaway

The following obstacles and happenings of the adventure underwent by the four bous when they runaway into the Ghoulburn Woods following along on the Ghoulburn Woods Trail to stall out the moving day:

  1. 1st Day Trek- The Cabin of Gary Vinell following the Bear Chase: Luston stumbles upon a bear to whom he was stealing the berries of. The group is pursued all the way to a cabin which belongs to a famed Ghoulburn Hunter named Gary Vinell whom in truth isn't a hunter at all rather an animal activist. He gives the boys shelter for the night and supplies and pin points them in a good direction for where they should get to.
  2. 2nd Day- Raft Ruckus: Benny and Luston fall upon an abandoned raft on a stream and smash down it. This leads them down to the feet of Mornido Tribesgirl Helena Trout and the rest of the Mornidos.
  3. Days 3, 4 and 5 spent with the Mornidos- The boys spend a total of three days with the Mornidos in their secret Ghoulburn Woods settlement and learn principals on survival and living primitive. They are kicked out however as Yarnley shares a passionate kiss with chief Carlo Trout's daughter Helena.
  4. Day 6 and 7- The Panther, Rainforest Hike, Snake Bite and Rock Run Hike- On Day 6 the boys do simple forest walking with their clamped up belongings until Marty insists on them setting down for camp, even though Benny protests Yarnely and Luston agree with Marty. The boys set down for camp and on the night of Day 6 in the Ghoulburn Woods Luston as he goes for a leak comes across a panther. He slays the panther as it attacks with a spear he had kept from his times with the Mornidos and is congratuled by the others for awhile. On the following Day 7 they discover a secret rainforest which they transgress and Luston as he sits upon a log and takes off his shoe to check his feet is bitten on the foot by a snake also perched on the log. The boys come to his aid and Yarnley lifts him up and rushes him up a rock cliff with Marty and Benny following. As they come to a certain spot they sit down and Yarnley proceeds to suck the poison from his foot.
  5. Day 8 and Day 9 The Final Days- The Backwoods Drug Deal, Vicious Beatings, Short Coma, Awakenings, Final Camp-out and Home Arrest- On Day 8 as the boys transgress Benny discovers his adoptive father and uncle to be making a backwoods drug deal with two drug dealers to which Yarnley, Marty and Luston also see. A Falling rock gives away their presence and as they go to run in different directions all of them are apprehended by the four men. They all suffer severe beatings and Benny takes a vicious beating from both his uncle and stepfather and is knocked into a short coma which then leads the men to flee leaving the beaten other boys with Benny. Yarnley and Marty carry him with Luston scouting ahead as they find a shorter way all the way back to the beginning the Ghoulburn Woods. As they campout the coming night of Day 8 Benny awakens to Yarnley and then Day 9 the boys return home with their injuries and tell their parents to whom was responsebile and what was the case. Benny's stepfather and uncle as well as the two drug dealers whom they were with are arrested. The boys have a final meeting in the treehouse all together where the pact is made before at all times in the afternoon of Day 9 the boys are seperated by the three of them moving off to three different places.



The film was made in a back to back following process with Raimi's The Quick and the Dead.

It took over the process of eight months to have filmed and completed penning it's actual theatrical release to be on April 2nd 1995.

The film was shot Abbotsford, Bowen Island and the Northern Region of Vancouver, Canada. It was also filmed in Albion, Oswego County New York and Cedar Falls, Iowa.

There were two scheduling conflicts which didn't secure it's spring 1994 release but the film still takes credit as a 1994 motion picture.


The film was originally written as a short childhood story by Sam Raimi in 1986 upon seeing Rob Reiner's Stand By Me, a coming of age boyhood american film based off the original Stephen King Short Novella The Body featured in his Four Seasons Book Collection.

Sam Raimi had held onto the story and planned to produce a screenplay out of it to be made into a film eventually and following the great success of a Simple Plan, Darkman and The Evil Dead series many studios had signed on for the up and coming director.

As of 1990 a full fledged script had been made alongside Ivan Raimi of his coming of age boyhood film which takes heavy inspiration from Rob Reiner's already classic motion picture.

The film was sought after by New Line Cinema but turned down after scheduling conflicts.

Twentieth Century had signed on but were rejected seeing as one had wished to change many keypoints in the teleplay which The Raimi's strongly went against.

Finally the third approaching the studio took it as a whole and were crowned it's distributors: None other then Warner Bros studios itself.

The film began production in Winter 1991 and Casting began that Spring.


The first cast weren't indeed the protagonist boy circle but rather famous singers Paul McCarney (Him of the Beatles) and Jimi Hendrix whom had Sam Raimi had greatly expressed he dearly wanted in the picture.

The two agreed (though Hendrix expressed second thoughts but was greatly impressed by the screenplay and ultimatley did not come to regret appearing the picture and enjoyed it himself.)

Then came the adults which were audition held stemming from Los Angeles to Pasadena.

Karen Grassle and Susan Sullivan being the first other adult actors to be cast in the motion picture followed by the rest.

By the end the kids casting had gone out theatrically.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's appearence in the Great Elephant Rescue which was watched by Ivan sparked interest in him as the main character.

Word had been sent out to his agent in the interest and Levitt a fan of Stand By Me had auditioned and took the part.

Next followed unknown at the time actor Taylor Kistch who marked his first appearence with the film playing the bad boy from the really bad family: Benny Crambton.

He auditioned in Los Angeles under recommendation of his acting teacher and fit the role both verbally, emotionally and psychically.

Then came the clumsy entertaining Vern Tessio of Stand By Me Like character (minus the weight) Robert Pattinson.

Marking his first appearence too the particular actor would go on to be worldwide famous for his portrayal of the famous teen sweetheart movie vampire Edward Cullen (also a notable performance in the fourth Harry Potter film.)

He was the youngest of the four boys having been born in 1986 whilest the other three leads were all 1981.

However it suited and even took a connection with the inspiration film Stand By Me which's Jerry O'Connell whom portrayed Vern Tessio was younger then the other three actors Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix and Corey Feldman.

The last to be cast was to be the River Phoenix like character with the matching tragic death and earthly sensitive boy undergoing a tough time: Chad Michael Murray.

He was discovered by accident by Ivan and Sam in a Buffalo, New York Cornerstreet store.

They couldn't help but overhear his conversation with the clerk in purchasing the sweets and immediatley clicked.

They extended towards him the card for the Warner Bros. Studio lot doing the film with the number asking him to show it to his mother and that they would like him to audition for a movie role.

He accepted and nailed the audition they had beset winning the character of Yarnley Merrados.

The Boys

  • Marty
  • Yarnley
  • Yarnley
  • Luston
  • Benny

A Few Kids Ambitions, Tragic Reality

The sad story of the Treehouse we left in the Ghoulburn closely resembles that of Stand By Me as it two is set in the old classic music period (Stand By Me being the 50's.)

Both possess a group of four boys appealing to us.

Both possess the tragic death of one of the boys (Stand By Me's being River Phoenix's character Chris Chambers Treehouse we Left's being Chad Michael Murray.)

The following is the ambitions of the four main character boys and the outcomes:

  1. Marty: Wished to become a film actor and does so. As a result he possesses a great deal of money and has a wife and two kids: a son and daughter. Following Yarnley's tragic death he sends a great proportion of money into opening a music recording studio and naming it after him. He every time on the date of his death returns to Ghoulburn before deciding to move back there and stare out at him and Yarnley's special hayfield spot.
  2. Yarnley: Wished to become a Musician and help others. Had an interview the day of his death to show his incredible music skills. However attempted to break up a vicious beating and ultimatley was killed.
  3. Luston: Wished to escape Ghoulburn but due to his family never got to do so. All he wanted was to be with the best and basically only true friends he ever had. Profession wise he wanted to be a Farmer running the old Hillston Property in Ghoulburn and be a town hero. Thanks to Marty's return to Ghoulburn and settling down there with his riches and family the funding comes to make Luston's dream come true. He on the day of Yarnley's death visits Yarnley's old house and leaves a flower at the memorial whilest ticking out the handwatch clock given to him as a kid by Yarnley.
  4. Benny: Wished to get out of Ghoulburn and become a guitarist like Yarnley whom wished to be a Guitar Player/Singer. He however landed in prison and got bail from Marty upon him moving to Ghoulburn with his family. Benny assumed ownership of the Merrados Recording Studio in Manhattan upon leaving prison and later married Elaina Claus bearing three children to her. He on the day of Yarnley's death heads down to the Miller's Rock and strums out the old guitar he was given by Yarnley as a kid.


  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Martin "Marty Man" Claus
  • Chad Michael Murray as Yarnley "Yarn Man" Merrados
  • Robert Pattinson as Luston "Lusty Man" Kobet
  • Vanessa Lee Chester as Deborah "Debbie Girl" Easton/ Original Girlfriend of Yarnley from childhood until she moved.
  • Taylor Kitsch as Benjamin "Benny Man" Crambton
  • Benjamin Bratt as Martin Claus/ Adult
  • Dermont Mulroney as Luston Kobet/ Adult
  • John Michael Higgins as Benjamin Crambton/ Adult
  • Jennifer Beals as Tambodine Claus
  • Elisabeth Shue as Elaina Claus/ Adult
  • Regina Hall as Deborah Easton/ Adult
  • Chelan Simmons as Elaina Claus. Original and still current girlfriend of Benjamin Crambton
  • Paul McCartney as Hopeless Singer father Hartlett Claus
  • Karen Grassle as Disgruntled, Dysfunctional Mother Harriett Claus
  • Susan Sullivan as Lesbian Mother Lindsey Merrados
  • Joanna Pettet as Lesbian Other Mother Keena Merrados
  • Isaac Hayes as Abusive Adoptive Father Easton Crambton
  • Richard Roundtree as Abusive Alcholic Adoptive Uncle Neaton Crambton
  • Michele Lee as Lergina Nocaldine The Wife of Easton
  • Jenny O'Hara as Coraldine Kobet
  • Kevin Dillon as Psychotic Appleby Crambton
  • Hector Elizondo as Drug Dealer Ramirez
  • Brian Blessed as Drug Dealer Mattheu
  • Anthony Zerbe as Wild Woods Gary Vinell
  • Summer Glau as Mornido Helena Trout
  • Gil Birmingham as Mornido Carlo Trout
  • Ciaran Hinds as Mornido Lettie Meraldie


The Warner Bros distributed available soundtrack for the film spans over three discs which comprise of: 1. the songs played at the end credits which serve as the songs on the first and which is a minimal of three songs 2. The songs played in the 1990's timeline of the film which served as the halfway to the end of the film and 3. The songs played during the 1960's timeline which is the time in which the protagonist characters were boys and their runaway adventure to stall out being seperated from each other.

The End Credits

  1. Since I Don't Have You- The Skyliners (Final End Credits Song)
  2. Donna- Ritchie Valens (Second End Credits Featured Song)
  3. Rhythm of the Falling Rain- The Cascades (The First End Credits Song. Song played following Yarnley's tragic death.)

The Songs played of the 1990's

  1. Bye Bye Love- Everly Brothers
  2. This Magic Moment- The Drifters
  3. I Can't Stop Loving You- Ray Charles (Played as the adult Marty dances with his wife Tambodine.)
  4. I Wonder- Brenda Lee (Played on Yarnley's old radio left in the treehouse. The song is played as Luston discovers the radio and turns it on surprised to see it still works after all the years. The song I Wonder comes on.)
  5. Seasons In The Sun- Terry Jacks (Played as flashes of the 60's runaway occurs and Yarnley's funeral sequence begins.)

The Songs played of the 1960's

  1. It's My Party- Lesley Gore (The song plays on Yarnley's Radio briefly before they reach Miller's Rock.)
  2. Be My Baby- The Ronettes
  3. Poetry In Motion- Johnny Tillotson (The song plays on Yarnley's Radio in the treehouse.)
  4. Angel- Cliff Richard
  5. Searchin- The Coasters
  6. Travellin Man'- Ricky Nelson (As Luston gets injured and the boys stop exhausted and injured the song pops onto the radio. Yarnley begins seeing the song and dances and encourages the others to sing and dance along with him.)
  7. Splish Splash- Bobby Darin (Played as the boys come to the Backwoods Drug deal at night.)
  8. Hit The Road Jack- Ray Charles
  9. Dreamin'- Johnny Burnette
  10. Multiplication- Bobby Darin (Song played during the rock hike on the radio.)
  11. Maybe Baby- Buddy Holly
  12. Take Good Care of My Baby- Bobby Vee (Sung by Chad Michael Murray and Taylor Kitsch however as the boys say goodbye to the girls before setting off, the actual song plays following.)
  13. Leader of the Pack- Shangri-La's
  14. Lovesick Blues- Hank Williams
  15. Runaway- Del Shannon
  16. Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree- Tony Orlando & Dawn (Chorus played briefly as the film's first scene containing character Marty Claus as a child happens.)
  17. Ballad Of The Green Berets- Barry Sadler (Played and sung by the boys following Luston's slaying of the attacking panther.)

Sam Raimi's Personally Selected Soundtrack Songs

Sam Raimi for the motion picture personally named six songs as the most important songs of the film.


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