Halloweentown promotional advertisement
|Directed by||Duwayne Dunham|
|Produced by|| Ron Mitchell|
|Written by|| Paul Bernbaum|
|Starring|| Debbie Reynolds|
Kimberly J. Brown
Phillip Van Dyke
|Music by||Mark Mothersbaugh|
|Distributed by||Disney Channel|
|Release date(s)||October 17, 1998|
|Running time||84 min.|
|Followed by||Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge|
Halloweentown is a Disney Channel Original Movie released in October 1998 for the holiday of Halloween.
The film begins with Marnie and her mother arguing over why she and her younger siblings can never go out for Halloween. Gwen (her mother) patiently explains that "there are things about Halloween that you don't understand", but with no more detail than that, it is little surprise that Marnie still has a problem with her mom's order.
Gwen has more or less restored order when her mother Aggie, who is an expert witch shows up for her annual Halloween visit. The kids are happier to see Aggie than Gwen is, and it is soon shown why: Aggie openly encourages the kids to get more involved in all things Halloween, and Gwen is nearly powerless to stop her. Aggie seems especially intent on training Marnie as a witch, since it is Marnie's 13th Halloween. Marnie, of course, has no idea about any of this. Aggie drops a huge hint as she is about to head home: reading the kids a bedtime story, she selects a book called "Halloweentown", and when Sophie sees a drawing of a witch that closely resembles her big sister, Aggie does nothing to stop Marnie from imagining such a thing.
Gwen and Aggie get into an argument about all of this, and Gwen insists Marnie will be raised as a normal person and not a witch. Aggie says she disagrees with this, but actually she is there for another reason: people have started disappearing "back home." Gwen thinks they just moved, but Aggie says it is not that simple. Aggie leaves, turning the chicken leftovers into a live chicken on the way out. Aggie and Gwen are not aware Marnie was watching this the whole time.
Marnie runs back upstairs to tell Dylan (her brother) what she just saw, and Dylan says she's insane. They then follow Aggie covertly to a previously non-existent bus stop. When the bus indeed arrives, Marnie and Dylan sneak on board. Suddenly, the bus shakes violently and the bus is filled with flashing lights...and before they know it, the bus is landing in Halloweentown.
Aggie also doesn't see Marnie and Dylan getting off the bus. At the same time, Marnie and Dylan don't see Sophie getting off the bus. Dylan notices her, and Marnie asks what she's doing here. Sophie says she was only pretending to sleep; she heard everything Marnie told Dylan, and followed them. They all begin to look for Aggie, who they have lost, when the mayor approaches them. He says his name is Kalabar and whistles for the cab. When it comes near, the license plate says fresh and it has a dice in the mirror. The cab is driven by Benny, who is a skeleton with a bad sense of humor ("He's a much better driver than a comedian," says Kalabar). Dylan can barely believe what is happening, and Marnie sees it on his face: "I sleeping. I'm... I'm sleeping. That's it. This is a dream."
The three siblings find their grandmother's home, and against her better judgment, Aggie decides not to take them home immediately. She says she'll start Marnie's witch training, but has to take care of "the bad thing" first. She shows her grandchildren what she is talking about: in the cauldron, a vision of a hooded demon appears, laughing maniacally. Aggie has a talisman that she says can defeat this demon, but her witches brew is defective ("That's what I get for trying to use instant!"). So she has to take the kids into town and get the ingredients to make her own.
In town, Marnie discovers a broom salesman, and the family is introduced to "local punk" Luke, who looks like a normal human kid. He makes a clumsy pass at Marnie, which she turns down on the spot; after Luke calls himself a "big cheese" and offers to take Marnie out for an ice cream, she stares daggers at him and says, "I was hungry, but then I smelled something stinky...it must have been the Big Cheese!" Benny later explains that Luke once looked like a troll, but claimed a shadow demon made him look better.
Marnie picks a broom, and she and Aggie take it for a test drive. When they get back, a furious Gwen has shown up and orders the kids to return home immediately. Marnie fights her briefly, but eventually knows she is in deep trouble. Gwen can't find another bus back to the mortal world, and when she tries to see if the mayor can do anything, she is shocked to see that the mayor is Kalabar... her old boyfriend. When Kalabar briefly leaves to handle another problem, Gwen and her kids see Aggie walking somewhere with Luke. Sensing Aggie might be in trouble, they follow Aggie and Luke to an abandoned movie theatre. Once inside, Gwen and Aggie find themselves battling the hooded demon that they had previously seen in the cauldron. The demon freezes Aggie and Gwen, and suddenly Marnie finds herself in charge.
She decides to finish what Aggie started, with some help from Dylan and Sophie, by gathering the ingredients for the witch’s brew that will hopefully make the talisman work. They are successful, and soon find themselves battling the demon...who reveals himself to be none other than Kalabar himself. With the help of Luke, who has realized the error of his ways, Marnie disables Kalabar long enough to unfreeze Aggie and Gwen...as well as all the other Halloweentown citizens whom Kalabar had trapped in the theatre. Marnie, Gwen and Aggie confront Kalabar. Kalabar is apparently bitter over the fact that their kind was forced to relocate to this new world because humans wouldn't accept them, and also because Gwen passed him over years ago for a mortal man (the kids' father, now deceased). But the three of them alone aren't enough. Sophie has also been showing signs of possessing magic, and Dylan, when angered, also displays powers himself despite trying to deny it. The five of them combine their powers and destroy Kalabar using the talismin.
Gwen agrees to let Marnie start witch training and even invites Aggie to live with them. The film ends with the family going on to the bus to the mortal world, with Luke (who has returned to his true face as a goblin) as the bus driver, and blast off.
Doris Roberts was offered the role of Aggie Cromwell but had to turn it down due to filming Everybody Loves Raymond.
- Debbie Reynolds - Splendora Agatha "Aggie" Cromwell
- Judith Hoag - Gwen Piper
- Kimberly J. Brown - Marnie Piper
- Joey Zimmerman - Dylan Piper
- Emily Roeske - Sophie Piper
- Phillip Van Dyke - Luke
- Robin Thomas - Kalabar
- Rino Romano - Voice of Benny
|Disney Channel Original Movies|| Succeeded by|
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century