Halloween town is a 1998 Disney film released straight to TV. For a while,Disney would air some of their classic cartoons or films during October on their channel. Until 1998,when…um….actually,I wasn’t able to find any information on this movie at all…..All I know for sure is that this was their first original halloween film released to TV,and it spawned a franchise of FOUR movies. (That’s a lot for such a low-budget film) I also know that Disney re-airs this film and it’s sequels every year. It has a really devoted fan base I suppose. It’s certainly not hard to see why though. The concept of Halloween town is a very appealing one to say the least, however this concept was perfected with Nightmare Before Christmas years prior. Even so,one has to admire the personality that was put into this film.
Halloweentown is a story about a girl named Marnie,who has recently just turned thirteen, who just wants to enjoy Halloween. Her mother forbids it,but won’t tell her kids why. Shortly after,Marnie’s grandmother (played by Debbie Reynolds) arrives for a visit. She shows the kids a book called “HalloweenTown” which strangely enough,features an image of Marnie inside was a witch. Soon Grandma’s true intentions are revealed. It is revealed that Halloween town is a real place,and a dark power is currently at work in the town.
The characters are….decent. Nothing we haven’t seen before in other holiday specials. There’s the strict parent,the fun loving grandparent,the nerdy kid,the youngest kid who practically screams “I’M THE CUTE ONE!” And the main rebellious character who turns out to be the chosen one. It’s been done countless times before,but I can’t really be too harsh on it for that. Why you may ask? The film was released straight to TV by disney.If this had gone to THEATERS,then I would have considered the familiar character types to be a problem. But here,it’s actually rather charming. The reason for this is because the film has a very “holiday special” feeling to it. It’s not very long, the effects are sub-par,but it still has heart. The best way to look at this movie (and it’s sequels) is through the eyes of a child. If was a kid watching this,I would probably watch it over and over again.
I think the film’s strongest aspect is it’s atmosphere. The movie really gets you in the halloween spirit while watching it. Everything from the colours,to the music (which is VERY good by the way. It captures the feeling of halloween so perfectly.) to the creature designs are just so halloween-ish, that it’s awesome!!! I think my favorite character would have to be Benny, the skeleton taxi driver. He’s basically just a failed comedian, But he ends up being a big help by showing our main characters the sights and highlights of Halloweentown via a taxi drive. He’s just a fun character,and I hope he’s in the other movies too.
Now the main thing I would like to talk about is how this film brought me back to being a kid on halloween. There’s just something charmingly sweet about this movie. It goes out of it’s way to let you know that it doesn’t take itself too seriously,yet it still manages to be creative and fun for children. so much so that it actually brought me back to my youth. Going out trick-or-treating. Coming home and emptying my bag and trading candy with my sister and friends,and then curling up on the couch to watch a halloween related special. it strikes a cord with me so effectively.
Halloweentown is definitely not the best Halloween related movie out there. Heck,it’s not even the best halloween related Disney movie out there. But it still manages to be a fun,creative,and enjoyable movie for kids,and older audiences who,like me,fondly look back on memories of the holiday. the special effects aren’t exactly stellar. The designs of the monsters range from cool,to just plan bonkers. But I think that’s part of the movies charm. It knows exactly what it is,and what it is,is a fun time. Recommended.