The definitive ranking of the most important Halloween movie series, ever
As spooky season descends upon us, more people have been getting in the mood for Halloween movies, with one of the most popular franchises being Disney’s "Halloweentown."
“Halloweentown” has defined many of our childhoods. But with several sequels, it is time to answer the age-old question: Which is the best "Halloweentown" movie?
4. “Return to Halloweentown”
It’s safe to say this is the worst movie in the "Halloweentown" franchise. After all, you know a movie isn’t going to be the best when you have to replace the main character. While Sara Paxon does her best with the role of the now-beloved witch, Marnie Piper, Kimberly J. Brown will always be the true Marnie.
The movie’s plot also tries to cover a lot of ground, ending up an incoherent mess. Marnie decides to attend college in Halloweentown at Witch University. Despite attending a school for witches, the students are not allowed to use their magic.
Marnie then must travel back in time to get the help of one of her ancestors to prevent the villains –– the Dominion –– from gaining the magic of a necklace to control Halloweentown.
Objectively, the best part of the movie is when Ryan from “High School Musical” (Lucas Grabeel, in this movie as Ethan) flies on a romantic broom ride to a Jesse McCartney song, so there’s that.
3. “Halloweentown High”
A witch, a warlock, a troll and an ogre walk into a human high school. That’s it. That’s the plot of “Halloweentown High.”
In the third installment of the “Halloweentown” series, Marnie tries to create a stronger connection between the human world and Halloweentown. She sets up an exchange program between her high school and the monster high school, Halloweentown High. Antics ensue as the teenage monsters try to cope with the human world and avoid the threat of the Knights of the Iron Dagger, a group of knights trying to destroy magic.
The movie has fun and creative moments, with Debbie Reynolds stealing scenes (as always) as grandma Aggie Cromwell, trying (and failing) to teach humans academic subjects while having a budding relationship with the mortal school’s principal. Also, the ending Halloween carnival certainly made every student bitter that their school didn’t have one.
Despite these shining moments, the movie’s plot wasn’t as exciting as the ones that came before it.
It was a hard decision to place the original movie in the second-place spot. The first movie introduced us to the colorful world of Halloweentown, with its friendly monsters and iconic giant pumpkin in the middle of the town square. The movie also featured an interesting plot, with the residents of Halloweentown slowly and mysteriously disappearing.
To save the town and her family, Marnie and her siblings, Dylan (Joey Zimmerman) and Sophie (Emily Roeske), must gather ingredients for a potion, interacting with the quirky citizens of Halloweentown along the way.
Though the plot is simple, it has a lot of heart, as the Cromwell/Piper family learns to join together and accept their true identities. This 1998 classic will always hold a special place in everyone’s hearts.
1. “Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge”
“Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge” really raises the stakes for the protagonists in the franchise.
In this film, Marnie has to reverse the “Grey Spell” that has cursed Halloweentown. The spell was brought on by the first movie’s antagonist’s son, Kal (Daniel Kountz), who turns the residents into grayscale, mundane humans as revenge for defeating his father. He also has plans to turn the human world into a nightmare scenario where real people become whatever they are dressed as for Halloween.
This movie brought interesting ideas and visuals to the table, with beloved characters switching from monster forms to human forms and vice versa. The protagonists move to interesting locations, like the lair of Gort (the monster who hordes all lost items). Plus, the threat of the mortal world and Halloweentown being permanently and drastically altered provides a credible threat for Marnie to fight. Kal proves that he certainly has better schemes than his father ever did.
Julianna Tracey is the senior arts editor and can be reached at Julianna.Tracey@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @JTraceySpec.