DCOM Month: HalloweenTown

Disney_-_Halloweentown

They were lucky Jack Skellington didn’t sue.

Hello, Spongey here. And welcome to DCOM month!

I don’t think i’ve fully discussed Disney Channel orginal movies before. Oh sure, i’ve reviewed 16 wishes, Luck of the irish, under wraps, phantom of the Megaplex, and of course, Across the 2nd dimension, but I haven’t really talked about them.

As the name implies, a DCOM is a tv movie made for the Disney channel. These are usually made cheap featuring a star they are trying to push. Or maybe it’ll be some cheap thing made for fun, like a lot of the early ones and even some recent ones.

This month sees the airing of their latest, Teen Beach Movie, which looks like it’ll be a sort of fun parody of musicals such as, ironically, that one they did that I’ll discuss later in the month.

Not counting TBM there are currently 95 Dcom’s. Allow me to repeat that. NINTY. FIVE. That many. A lot of them are really obscure ones that even I don’t know. These movies range from bad, to good, to Guilty pleasures.

Most of them fall into the last one for me. And since we got a new one coming out, and 2013 happens to be the 30th anniversary of the channel itself, I decided to finally a dedicate a month to these films.

Let’s start off with a film I wanted to do during last years Halloween in july, but never did. I figured we’d start off with one of the good ones. Plus who doesn’t love a little summerween?

This, is HalloweenTown

The movie opens on Halloween night, where the opening credits contradicts the subtitle of the sequel but we’ll get to that later. We enter the house of out main character, Marnie Cromwell, who isn’t allowed to do Halloween-y stuff.

April from the first Ninja turtles movie here ..aka Marnie’s mom doesn’t like her going out on Halloween.

I have my reasons, and I’ll explain when them to you when you’re…taller”

Or when the plot says so. Mom has never allowed her, or her sister Sophie/Brother Dylan to go out on Halloween even though Marnie Is into weird stuff. ..Not like that, perverts.

Dylan is cool with this cuz he’s a nerd and stuff. Marnie however, is not and complains about it to Mom. Mom is adamant though.

Oh, like there’s some big mysterious reason why we can’t go out”

Spoilers there is. Hence why she won’t budge at all. She leaves the room to do mommy things, leaving Dylan to talk about how Halloween sucks and whatever.

So yeah, we got the eccentric funny Marnie and the kind of funny nerdy Dylan who takes a good documentary over Halloween. It’s a fun dynamic they have going on.

Mom and dad met on Halloween”

..Oh yeah their dad is dead. Hey, it’s still a Disney movie after all. So then Marnie’s grandma, Aggie, shows up. She’s the “Cool” grandma which means Mom is not fond of her. She gives them candy and and generally acts like a awesome person. She’s also into Halloween and spooky stuff, which is part of why Mom isn’t fond of her.

I’ve always said that movies can teach us about life”

The number one thing i’ve learned from doing these reviews…like how Jack and Jill taught me how NOT to make a comedy.

Later, at dinner, Grandma corrupts their minds some more with talk of Ghosts and such. When dinner finishes, it’s bedtime. They head upstairs while Mom and Grandma talk.

Being normal is vastly overrated”{

I hear ya, sister.

After minor talk, Grandma tells the kids a bedtime story. I’m sure Marnie and Dylan are too old but Sophie isn’t.

It’s about a magical place where many types of creatures live in peace”

Like Cleveland?”

Heh.

No, she means the titular HalloweenTown. All kinds of monsters live there, including witches. Grandma says not all Monsters are evil and then tells the kids she read about in a book.

Maybe it is real”

Stay Subtle, Aggie.

She shows them a picture book showing off various creatures, including a witch that looks like Marnie. Again, subtle.

Mom interrupts before things can get even more subtle. Grandma has another talk with mom who is pissed Aggie told them about HalloweenTown. It’s here we find out that the Cromwells are witches and Mom wants nothing to do with magic or HalloweenTown.

It’s that old debate, eh? Well, don’t worry Mom will open up by the end only to argue with Grandma again in the next 3 sequels.

Marnie sneaks out of her room, hears this conversation, and even sees Aggie pulling some magic off. Mom has had enough of Aggie visiting every year to drop hints at Marnie and pester mom to start her witch training, but Aggie says she’s here to ask for some help.

People have vanished from HalloweenTown and thinks someone evil is up to it, and needs help from other Cromwell witches. She’s had plenty of experience, so maybe vanishings always means big evil, who knows?

Mom doesn’t want to go fight some nameless force in a world she has nothing to do with, which is understandable. Aggie isn’t pleased and she storms off.

Having overheard that, Marnie tells the story to Dylan, who doesn’t buy it. \

I think it proves insanity is hereditary”

They spot Aggie outside the window, and Marnie wants to follow her to see what is going on. Dylan of course doesn’t care about why mom dislikes Halloween and such, but he’s gonna go with her anyway, as is tradition.

So they head out, and see Aggie at a bus stop. The bus shows up, and they sneak on through the back. Of course, the bus flies into the air and the it is filled with freaky creatures. One of whom says this:

So I raised a demon from the underworld, and they said ”big deal I saw the same thing on jerry springer!” “

The bus lands in HalloweenTown, where tons of creatures live and it’s Halloween all the time. I really this place. The creature costumes are pretty decent and creative, and the town itself just feels so alive, especially as the movies go on.

Dylan tries to shrug it off as a dream, while Marnie is delighted to find out HalloweenTown is real. Oh, and it turns out Spohie followed them here.

Sophie notices that the pumpkin in the center of the town looks a bit faded. They are then approached by the human/Warlock mayor of Halloween town, Kalabar. He’s all eccentric and friendly, and the kids introduce themselves.

After they talk, he pulls up a cab to take them to Aggie’s house. Said cab is driven by a Skeleton named Benny. He’s awesome, but let’s skip to when the kids arrive at Grandma’s house.

Probably animatronic, Disneyland is full of stuff like that”

Oh yeah, Dylan is still a big skeptic, cuz whatever.

Inside the house, Aggie is cooking up some stuff. Her microwave buttons read” Bubble”, “toil”, and “trouble”. Cute. The kids walk in, and Grandma is okay with them being here for now. As long as they get home before midnight in the mortal world.

Which is fine, cuz time works differently in HalloweenTown. 2 hours in the mortal world can be 2 days here, which gives them time before Halloween ends in our world.

Aggie cooked up a potion in her Cauldron to show her the evil thing that’s going around. So how will they get rid of this mysterious evil? Well, there’s an old Talisman thingy that needs to be brought back to life with some witches brew stuff.

I’m just gonna fill it up, and see if the light goes on”

Brilliant. They also need to chant a spell, and Aggie needed another witch to help make the spell more powerful. Since Marnie hasn’t been trained yet, she does the chanting by herself.

It doesn’t work. Mostly cuz she used the instant way to make the witches brew. She shows them the list of ingredients needed to make the brew, which can be found in town. So the kids,even Dylan, agree to help out with this EPIC QUEST.

While on a stroll through the town, Aggie explains that our Halloween was made to their traditions.

There was a time when humans and monsters could be together. It was a bad mix…humans feared us… we did our best to make them miserable..but it was turning us Evil/. So we decided to create our own world.”

That was the first History lesson I’ve had fun typing. ‘

They bump into the mayor, and Aggie tells him proof that weird shit is going on. Now he’s taking her seriously, but he tells her and the kids to stay out of this, as it’s too dangerous. We all know she won’t obey him, but before that cliché happens, Marnie spots a broom store and like totally, wants her witch broom thingy.

But her broom shopping is interrupted by a human dude named Luke. He’s the town troublemaker. He also hits on marnie.

Maybe I could buy you an ice cream. The Abominable Snowman has a shop down the street”

Do I make a Goosebumps joke, or a monsters inc joke?

Anyway, since he’s a dick, Marnie turns him down. Then he walks off, getting ready for the next time the plot needs him.

Marnie picks out a broom and they fly in the green screen. They land, but whoops, Mom is there. Yeah, during a scene I skipped she finds out the gang is gone and now she’s here to take the kids home.

They argue and Marnie is adamant about training as a witch, as Aggie backs her up cuz it’s her birthright and stuff. Mom however, wants Marnie to be a normal person. This is sort of in the middle, as it’s not like Ted where you see both sides amazingly well, but it’s not like in…everything else, where both sides are being bitch-y.

After some of the crazy shit HalloweenTown brings to their lives later, you could see why a Mom like this would want this witch thing to stop, but of course she is taking it a bit too far. It’s not the best use of this type of story, but it works well enough and It doesn’t get in the way of the other awesome things going on.

So anyway, by order of Mom, they must go home. But of course, Marnie is extra pissed now. It turns out that the bus to the mortal world doesn’t come for another few hours, which means they are stuck here.

So they decide to visit the mayor to see if he can help. As it turns out, Kalabar is Mom’s old boyfriend. Things a little awkward, but Mom still seems charmed by him and he’s still nice to her. Though it’s obvious they had a little problem in the past.

The Mayor briefly leaves to deal with another problem. Aggie wanders outside and bumps into Luke, who says he knows about the “Evil thing” going on. Luke even says he’s working for the bad guy, and that said bad guy knows what Aggie is doing. Aggie demands Luke take her to him so he can reveal himself. Luke obliges.

This can only turn out perfectly.

Back in the mayor’s office, Marnie gets confirmation from Mom that she is indeed a witch. Yes, all that stuff that happened before wasn’t proof that Marnie is a witch, I guess. Marnie already had signs of having powers, but Mom hid then from here, like she did with Sophie in an earlier scene.

I did it for you. This is not your world. Your father was human. That is the world that we live in.”

If you want to give up your roots, that’s fine. But I don’t”

I don’t feel like diving deep into this, or explaining why I like that bit so much. So instead, let’s focus on how Sophie sees Aggie walking off with Luke.

Luke takes Aggie to an abandoned Movie Theater. The seats are filled with frozen HalloweenTown residents. Also, the screen is a vortex of terror. A badass monster in a cloaks floats and eats the scenery..

So yeah, this evil guy put a bunch of residents under a “frozen in time” spell, which explains the disappearances. He also needs that talisman so he can do evil stuff, and devour even more scenery.

You know, for such a big mystery, the answer was pretty simple. Just an evil dude freezing people and wanting a thingy so he could take over. Guess no one heard him in here, AND he was too lazy to just take the talisman thingy.

Anyway, Marnie and the gang storm in to see all this. Aggie refuses to give the evil dude the thingy, so he freezes her and Mom. The kids run off before anything can happen to them.

So now it looks like everyone is in deep shit. But remember how they needed ingredients for that witches brew that’s supposed to power the Talisman? Yeah, they remembered that, so now let’s get those ingredients. Even Dylan finally let’s his guard down and joins the team.

I usually don’t skip long scenes, but the ingredient finding montage, as funny as it is,can be glimmered over. The first item is werewolf hair, which they get from a gay dude who sounds like Austin powers, at a haircut place.

Next is ghost sweat, which I’ll spare you from describing. Last is a Vampire’s tooth, which they get from a dentist. This montage is cool, cuz we see other places in HalloweenTown and we see how the creatures hang out. Stuff like this makes the town feel so alive, which I think I explained earlier.

They take the stuff back to Grandma’s place and long story short, they power up the talisman. Watch the movie if you want all these small moments with Sophie i’m skipping. I’m making her sound pointless, but she’s pretty cool, like how she seems to be adapt at magic as small moments like now when she remembers the spell from earlier, show her to be awesome and stuff.

So by the power of Sophie/Marnie’s magic, they got what they need. They figure out that putting the talisman in the big pumpkin thingy will solve everything. But on her way to the pumpkin, she bumps into Luke.

It’s a trap!”

..Nope, not gonna say it.

Luke explains that he had no idea that the evil guy would freeze the one person getting in his way. You think i’m joking but I’m not, he’s that dumb. Luke then says the evil dude told Luke that he’d just take the Talisman and let Grammy go.

Suddenly, Dark clouds appear and the evil dude pops up in front of city hall. Seriously, I know his name cuz i’ve seen this before, but why are they taking so long to reveal it? So he hams it up and talks about how the creatures were forced to leave the human world and yada yada.

It’s your basic “TAKE BACK WHAT IS YOURS” thing but he’s cool. And then he takes off his face revealing himself to be…KALABAR!

WHAT A TWEEST!

Yep, he’s the villain, what a shock. At least it is to people who didn’t read the subtitle for the sequel. Anyway, Luke wants to make for his mistake. Random Feel face turn, yay!

So Marnie dons a red cloak thingy to sneak out unnoticed, but Kalabar isn’t so easily fooled, so he demands she give him the Talisman. He zaps her, but whoops, it was Luke wearing the cloak so Marnie could get to the pumpkin. Wait, he didn’t’ see uncloaked marnie in full view? Whatever.

Marnie gets to the pumpkin, but Kalabar zaps her a few times. This hurts her, but she tries to shake it off. But eventually, it gets to be too much for her. But with the power of CLIPS FROM EARLIER PLAYING IN HER HEAD, her hands open and the thingy falls into the pumpkin.

So everyone un-freezes, and Aggie/Mom come over to Marnie. Aggie tells Marnie that was awesome and that she has true power. Kind of a weak climax, but it works in it’s own way.

But wait, Kalabar is still here.

You could have had me. The most powerful warlock of all. You could have ruled with me as my queen. But you chose a human instead!”

So it was the semi dick-ish ness of one guy she dated that turned her back on magic, combined with the obvious? Okay, that kind of works.

And then Kalabar grabs the talisman from the pumpkin. Huh, I guess no one thought he could still use his magic to do other evil.

But thankfully, all the Cromwells team up to chant and stuff. Even Mom and Dylan finally give in. This is a pretty awesome “family bonding” moment, especially with Dylan and Mom finally accepting magic.

This works and Kalabar is defeated by the POWER OF FAMILY…and magic. This climax works much better.

Marnie apologizes for what she said, as she realizes how much about Halloween Town she didn’t understand. Mom also apologies for not trusting Marnie and stuff. Hugs!

Marnie then talks to Luke, and as it turns out, he’s a troll. As in, a real with a big nose and shit. He served Kalabar cuz his magic made him handsome.

I guess it wasn’t much of a reason for being all evil and all”

Hey, at least you had a reason at all.

Also, it seems Luke did actually crush on Marnie, and it seems like she may be into Trolls or something cuz she kisses him on the cheek. Though from the dialogue, I guess it’ll be a “friend” thing cuz I bet the town hasn’t legalized troll marriage yet.

So anyway, Mom has finally come around and she suggests that Aggie come leave with them. I guess she has no witch responsibilities in HalloweenTown, cuz she accepts. Aggie and Mom will help Marnie finish her witch training, at last.

With the villain defeated, HalloweenTown saved, and family issues solved, they get in the bug and flaw back to the mortal world. Roll abrupt credits!

Who knew a TV movie could be feel so short despite being 1 hour 23 minutes?

Final Thoughts:

As far DCOM’s go, this one of my personal favorites. Is it great? Nah, it has plenty of problems. Some of the minor characters can be weak, and there are plenty of plot holes. Also, the pacing can be off in a lot of places.

But in spite of that, it’s quite fun. The concept is creative, the town itself is a really cool, the costumes are neat, and there are interesting ideas and mythology. The characters are likable, and the family dynamic works pretty well.

The acting is pretty decent for a TV movie, mostly Kimblery J Brown as Marnie, who makes her fun and likable. I also love the villain for how hammy he can be.

But most all, it’s a great Halloween movie. The creatures and atmphere make it feel so Halloween-y! It’s the first movie I make sure to watch every Halloween. It’s a ton of fun with some funny moments, and just the general atmosphere of it.

It’s not exactly deep or complex, but it has decent writing, good acting, and a fun story overall. It’s a DCOM classic, and it’s of the best, though I have to admit, stuff like Under wraps may be a bit better. Nothing beats Patrick as a mummy, sorry.

Grade: B+

And so begins DCOM month. I won’t tease the next one, but trust me, it’s a doozy.

See ya.

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About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
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