Do you like scary movies?
It’s time to “be afraid, be very afraid,” as SpoilerFreeReviews is dropping 13 spooky movies for fans to enjoy this PSL season. We will post our most frightful Halloween favorites over the next 13 spooky nights. So come join us around the fire as we tell our 13 creepy Halloween favorites.
Long before the iconic MCU ditty, “Agatha All Along,” took to the Billboard charts, there was another Disney Witch by that name: Agatha Cromwell (Debbie Reynolds). Her iconic quote, “Magic is really very simple; all you’ve got to do is want something and then let yourself have it,” from the 1998 Disney Channel Original Movie HALLOWEENTOWN, has lived on in the nostalgic minds of millennials for 24 years…and with good reason: it’s cute/spooky imagery, simple coming-of-age story, and strong performances from its young cast left an impression on us back in the height of The Disney Channel’s heyday of made-for-TV movies.
Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) is a young girl who discovers she’s a witch, descended from a long line of magical women. Her grandma Aggie (Reynolds), is determined to save her community, a magical and spooky place called Halloweentown, full of friendly and funny monsters, ghosts, and witches. There’s a diabolical Force trying to destroy it, turning these cuddly creatures into evil subservient ghouls out to do his bidding. With the help of Marnie’s siblings, Dylan (Joey Zimmerman) and Sophie (Emily Roeske), she faces off against the evil Force and attempts to preserve the magic and wonder that makes Halloweentown so special— all to the chagrin of their loving, overprotective mom, Gwenn (TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES’ own April, Judith Hoag.)
The premise is meaningful: years ago, monsters and humans lived together in harmony, but vicious rumors and hatred caused humans to shun monsters and magical folk, expelling them to their own world, which would eventually become known as Halloweentown. The evil Force’s plan is to return fear into the hearts of humans and take over the world. It reflects the timeless struggle between acceptance and rejection–the underdog vs. the mainstream–returning the world to the “dark ages” of casting those who are different out. It’s an excellent lesson for children.
The film would spawn three sequels (the only one I really recommend is HALLOWEENTOWN 2) and become a staple of Halloween viewing for countless fans year after year. By part four, they had recast Marnie (for reasons unknown) and lost sight of what had made the original film so meaningful, attempting to piggyback on the HARRY POTTER bandwagon. Cute story: actress Kimberly J. Brown and costar Daniel Kountz (who played Kal in HALLOWEENTOWN 2) would reunite many years later and are now partners with one another! Their TikTok videos are adorable—a real Halloween romance! I also highly recommend checking out Kimberly’s Etsy store, where she sells crafts featuring iconic quotes from the films.
I met Debbie Reynolds years ago and told her I loved the film. While she appeared in all four movies and spoke affectionately for them, I don’t think out of all her credits she expected HALLOWEENTOWN to be the one I might bring up, but she smiled genuinely, thanked me, and said, “Magic is real, you know.” And I believe she’s right.
HALLOWEENTOWN is available to stream on Disney+.