Spooktober – Day 13: The Halloweentown Franchise

If you have never seen a Disney Channel Original movie, I have many questions. One being, what did you watch in your childhood? Two, are you okay? Three, when do you plan on fixing that mistake? Disney Channel Original movies were my childhood and they shaped my love for movies. Disney Channel has released many DCOMS since they first premiered, but there is one DCOM franchise that I still watch every year whenever I get chance, so much so that it’s a tradition, that franchise is Halloweentown. I don’t know how to explain Halloweentown if you have never seen it. But I’ll try to anyway.

Halloweentown (1998)

Marnie and her siblings get a big shock when they follow their vising grandma (played by the legendary Debbie Reynolds) home to Halloweentown, where they find out they come from a family of witches. The town is the only place where supernatural beings can lead a normal life, but evil is looming, and it’s up to Marnie to save the day.

The first one looks really outdated and cheesy that’s because it is, but I love it with all my heart. Still this may be my least favorite of the four movies. Mainly because the first one is a origin story than anything else. I like origin stories, but you can only watch them so many times and I like the stories in the sequels as they are a bit more creative and interesting. Quite honestly, I’m not sure if I would like this movie if it were released today and if it weren’t for my nostalgia. However, this is a family movie made for children, I can’t really critique it nor do I want to. This movie was a big part of the reason why I liked Halloween as a kid and I don’t want to talk about it’s flaws because that’s no fun.

Halloweentown 2: Kalabar’s Revenge (2001)

The Cromwell clan split their time between the real world and Halloweentown when a angry warlock has stolen a magic spell book and plans to turn everyone into whatever costume they’re wearing at midnight on Halloween. It’s a race against time to get the book back and save the humans from permanent horror.

Halloweentown 2 was my favorite for a long time and it still may be, I’m not sure. Whether, it’s my favorite or not it’s still a pretty great movie for a children’s film. It has a better story than the original in my opinion and now that I think about it has a similar plot to Halloween III: Season of The Witch, a movie that I did not like. I’ll talk more about that when I finish watching all of the Halloween movies (expect the Rob Zombie ones). Even though I didn’t like that movie, I do like Halloweentown 2, mainly because I love the setting of Halloweentown and we spend most of the movie there. The cast develops some great chemistry by this film and it shows, there are some good twists as far as children’s films go by and I really like this movie. The more I think about it, this isn’t just a good children/family movie, this is just a good movie.

Halloweentown High (2004)

Marnie prepares to begin a new school year, she asks the Halloweentown Witches’ Council to work toward openness between Halloweentown and the mortal world. She proposes to bring a group of Halloweentown students to her own high school in the mortal world by accidentally betting her family’s magic on that nothing bad will happen when kids from Halloweentown attend high school in the mortal realm.

Halloweentown High is the reason why I’m not sure if Halloweentown 2 is my favorite. I have always liked Hallowentown High, but on rewatches I have grown to like this more and more. I still have some nitpicks like I wish there was more Halloween in this installment, there is by the end with this Halloween fair and haunted house (which I loved), but I wish there was more in the entire film. Also there is almost no actual Halloweentown in this movie, which I miss because that was my favorite parts of the first two movies. Even with these nitpicks, I really enjoyed this story. Probably my favorite plot of the entire movie, with Marine bringing Halloweentown students to the real world with the hopes of bringing the two worlds back together again, after Halloweentown being an outcast. It’s a good plot and good story to tell children about accepting people even with their differences without being too forced and still entertaining. So in terms of my favorites in the franchise, this may be favorite, then again it could also be Halloweentown 2…so yeah. My indecisiveness strikes again.

Return to Halloweentown (2006)

As Halloweentown prepares to celebrate its 1,000th anniversary, Marnie and her brother Dylan arrive to attend Halloweentown University also known as Witch University, where trouble is in session from the Sinister Sisters and from someone who’s plotting to use Marnie’s powers for evil.

Okay, this movie gets a lot of hate and some of it is deserved. Disney replaced the lead actress, Kimberly J. Brown and according to her she wanted to do the movie, so we have no clue why Disney did that. Debbie Reynolds is in the movie, but only in one scene which sucks and Sophie, Marine’s sister who is a big part of the first two movies and kinda just a background character in the third is nowhere to be found in this one. They explain it off that Debbie Reynolds’s character is off training her to be a better witch which is why we don’t see her and why we don’t see much of Debbie Reynolds. It makes sense, but I still wish they had a bigger role in this movie. Still, despite all of that I like this movie. I said I wished that the third movie had more of Halloweentown in it and boy does this movie had a lot of Halloweentown in it which I loved. I like the college setting a lot, I like learning more of where the family’s magic came from, I like seeing Marine and her brother Dylan’s relationship being brought to the forefront, and I like that the romance (if you would call it that) isn’t forced and the little bit we get of it is nice I think. So, yeah it’s not the best of the series, but I like it. It’s enjoyable and it’s a worthy sequel despite it’s issues.

If I had to rank the movies, I would rank them probably like this in terms of worst to best.

  • Halloweentown (1998)
  • Return to Halloweentown (2006)
  • Halloweentown 2: Kalabar’s Revenge (2001)
  • Halloweentown High (2004)

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