Halloweentown: I’m getting that deja vu feeling again!

Rhonda October 1, 2011

This movie has become an October tradition at The Disney Channel, and has spawned four sequels, and each one is just as fresh and original as the one that started it all. Debbie Reynolds stars as Aggie Cromwell, a very powerful witch from Halloweentown. Her family lives in the mortal world. Her daughter, Gwen Cromwell Piper (Judith Hoag), granddaughters Marnie (Kimberly Brown) and Sophie (Emily Roeske) and grandson Dylan (Joey Zimmerman). Gwen will let the kids have nothing to do with Halloween or anything with the occult. The family is not right-wing religious, so when Grandma comes to visit and starts a little Pagan party at the house complete with pentacles and costumes, we know something is up with the family. It turns out that the whole of the family has suppressed their magical abilities due to Gwen’s determination to protect them from the evils of Halloweentown. Halloweentown is in another world made up of witches, werewolves, vampires, demons, devils, and other dark creatures. They all live together in harmony, and have nothing to fear from the fear of mortals attempting to destroy them as they attempt to during the Middle Ages. After dinner, Aggie tells them a story about Halloweentown, and Dylan, being the family’s science nerd, says she is making the whole thing up, until Aggie pulls out a book, and there is a likeness of Marnie dressed as a witch happily flying over the town on a broomstick. Dylan is not only a nerd, but a green idealist, making some viewers wonder if he could possibly be not a male witch, but instead, a druid.

After the little family party, Aggie and Gwen discuss Marnie’s training as a Cromwell witch, but Gwen will have none of it. Marnie’s training is not the only reason Aggie has come to the mortal world. There have been some dark dealings going on in Halloweentown, and Aggie needs the help of another Cromwell witch to set things right. Marnie hears the discussion, and wants to know more about Aggie’s hometown, and knowing that she could possibly be a witch, she wants to help since her mother won’t. She wakes Dylan, and he tries to stop her from leaving as Aggie is preparing to set off. Marnie win’s out, and the slip onto the bus without Aggie seeing them. When they arrive in Halloweentown, Marnie and Dylan see that everything that Aggie said was true. It was as if the book had come to life. When they turn about, they see little sister Sophie has also come with them. The kids meet with the town mayor, Kalabar, a warlock, and they introduce themselves as Aggie’s grandkids. Dylan thinks this all to be a dream, so he is pretty much going along with his sisters’ actions. Kalabar sends the kids off to Aggie’s house in a taxi. The cabbie is a wise-cracking skeleton that knows the layout of the town better than anyone, and he takes them to Aggie straight away.

Aggie is in the process of stirring up an instant witch’s brew when the kids arrive. She is hoping to activate the Talisman of Merlin to drive away the darkness that has invaded the town. She fills up the scepter with the clear liquid, it sputters to life, flickers for a moment, the goes dim. The only way to make it work is to make the brew from scratch. She and the kids go back to the town centre, only to find a very angry Gwen there, waiting for the kids. Things get even weirder from there, and we learn that there are people in power with their own agendas and pawns doing favours for them for all the wrong reasons. Wait, this is Halloweentown we’re discussing here, right? Not Washington D.C.?

After a botched intervention from Aggie and Gwen that fails drastically, it is up to the kids to put a stop to the evil that is wanting to take over not only the monster world, but the mortal as well. We find surprises in everyone, on both sides of the battle, and learn exactly how strong the magic of the Cromwell family of witches really is.

This movie is a great way to kick off the favourite month of many a Musings reader and writer, filled with all kinds of pagan goodies here and there, and even some terminology. If you have something to add to the Musings October line-up of movie reviews, views, games, and what-nots, email us, and we’ll post them here. Let this be a Samhain/Dias de los Muertos celebration that just won’t end.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★☆ 

Available on DVD from Amazon