Here's a bit from Schafer's designer diaries,
Okay, so that's Manny Calavera, our main character. But who's the bad guy? What's the plot? I had just seen Chinatown, and I really liked the whole water supply/real estate scam that Noah Cross had going there. So of course I tried to rip that off and have Manny be a real estate salesman who got caught up in a real estate scandal. Then he was just like the guys in Glengarry GlenRoss, always looking for the good leads. But why would Hector LeMans, my villain, want real estate? Why would anyone? They're dead! They're only souls. What do souls in the Land of the Dead want?
It's a good movie so if you get another chance to see it, go for it.