When Halloween comes around we love to pull out the classic movies and specials. For me they include Charlie Brown, Garfield, Winnie The Pooh, Saturday Night Live, and classic sitcom episodes. Some watch horror movies which is cool. When I was younger I read Halloween themed comic books. We even have music like The Monster Mash and the one I talked about the other day, Thriller. I commented that I have to watch it every Halloween. It’s a true Halloweeen guilty pleasure. But I have to admit, it’s not the only one.

 

Here now are five more movies or porgrams that I am kind of embarassed to admit I like. I mean a few of them are not even intended for me. Yet, I can’t imaging Halloween without them. These are in order from the not so embarassing to the much more so.
The Simpsons TreeHouse of Horror/Halloween Specials

 

I am not a fan of The Simpsons. I don’t have a problem with it, I just never really watch it. I never watch any first run episodes. I pretty much never catch a re-run (is it even playing anymore?). I never saw the movie, and just don’t care about the show. That is, until Halloween rolls around. I admit it, I really like their Halloween specials which were called The Treehouse of Horror in the early days. Now I am not saying thet are all perfect, but these specials can be downright creepy and fun to watch. The Simpson creators pull out all the stops for these, and it shows. The best part is that these shows are not tied to any continuity, so they can pretty much do what they want. My favorites? I love the 3-D one where Homer arrives in our reality. A very early episode had an adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven which was always a favorite. The time travel one was clever (which? all of them). On the other hand the Y2K episode creeped me out, and the episode about the gypsy curse was stupid. Of course listing five is barely a drop in the bucket. There are so many I have seen, and many I have not, that there is no way to remember them all. Some are better than others, but no matter what The Simpsons are one of my Halloween favorites.

Monters vs Aliens:Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space

 

I love this! The funny thing? I never saw the movie Monsters vs. Aliens. But I watched this when it first aired and it quickly became a holiday favorite. It just works! Even though I never did understand why aliens are associated with Halloween, but I digress. Mutant Pumpklins from Outer Space picks up shortly after the movie, as the group gets a new assignment on Halloween. They are to check out reports of aliens in the town of Modesto, where our main character Susan is from. The town is all decorated for Halloween, and as the group searches they don’t find anything unusual. That is until a pumpkin comes to life and attacks one family. Suddenly dozens of pumpkins appear, and the group realize they are not after the kids. They are after all the candy! I just love the atmoshere, the characters are interesting and not boring plus we get decent character development and just enough heart. For the record I did see the Shrek Halloween special and hated it. Dreamworks produced this of couse and they also produced some Christmas specials based on their movies….but we will get to that in good time my friends
Hocus Pocus
This movie is silly, corny, kind of lame…and I watch it every year. It’s a cute little Halloween family film which ABC Family shows during its 13 Days of Halloween, and I guess when its opposite crap like Halloweentown this doesn’t look so bad anymore. I think you know the story, but just in case the film is about three witches from years ago who are brought back to life in the present (er, 1993 anyway). Their objective is to suck the life essence out little kids so they can live forever. It is up to three kids, and a talking cat, to stop them and save  the day. Better Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are just having fun here, and ham it up to the fullest. I am sure they knew the film had no real redeeming value, so let’s just have fun! The film was made by Disney and it is full of plot holes and silly moment. Yet at the same time, it’s still a fun little Halloween flick. It’s the 20th anniversary this year, and one thing I never understood was why Disney released this movie in the middle of summer originally! Um, yeah that makes sense. There are other Halloween-esque movies I might watch like The Addams Family, Ghostbusters, or (heaven help me) even Casper..but this is the one I make a point of watching every year.
Disney’s House of Villains
I love this, though it’s not perfect. It is however much better than the Christmas movie, “Snowed in at the House of Mouse”. Why? Because they tried to give this an honest to goodness plot. The Christmas one didn’t even try, but we can discuss that another time. Of course the main idea here is to string together a bunch of old Disney Halloween (or scary) cartoons, from the classic to more modern stuff. The narrative that ties all this together has Jafar deciding it’s time for the villains to take over. And that’s just what they do on one Halloween, tossing Mickey and Minnie out and turning the place into The House of Villains in a really cute song seaquence. It really is cool seeing all those villains together. You can probably guess how it ends, let’s just say Mickey suits up and battles Jafar. My one problem with this is some of the cartoons that are in it. There is one with Donald and his nephews being stalked by a crazy escaoed gorilla. I hate that one, it’s just dumb. But even worst is a short with a bunch of little goofy’s in yellow spandex flying around to music a la Fantasia. It’s boring and I have no idea what qualifies it as a scary cartoon. But gripes aside, this is a good watch especially to see some of my favorite Disney cartoons again.
Disneyland Sing Along:Happy Haunting-Party at Disneyland
Yeah, this one is a little hard to admit. Anyway, Disney Sing a Long’s is a series which takes all the great songs from movies and the theme parks and packages them together, with lyrics so you can, well,  sing along. This one came out in 1998 and is obvioulsy marketed for kids, but thanks to my ex-wife I got to watch it years ago. And pretty much every year since. And remember, I’m divorced now. But the truth is there is something real charming about this special. They really try to stage a narrative, weak as it is, regarding three kids exploring the Haunted Mansion as they try to find out who the mystery voice is (it’s the mirror from Snow White) while also looking for Halloween costumes. The three kids featured are interesting without being annoying or boring. Yeah they can’t act but we can forgive that. Of course the best part is the songs, and most of them work. They cover Thriller and Monster Mash, and less known songs. It’s the best version of “Five Little Pumpkins” I have ever heard. One song features clips from Disney cartoons, scary moments and other Halloween stuff which is always nice to see. Another song shows Disney World at Halloween, with trick or treating and everything. Fair is fair, and as an adult I could tear this apart nitpicking it. Why would the magic mirror from Snow White give a crap about these three kids? Why does no one at the party help them? Where do they come from? Are their parents with them at all? But for what it is, there are worst ways to spend a half hour and I find this to be pretty enjoyable. By the way this is a cut above the Christmas sing a long which is really boring. It has a no story and watching the Disney characters play in the snow only stays fun for so long. This is on YouTube, check it out.
That’s it, five Halloween specials or movies that I watch every year. Of course there are worst things out there. My list does not include real bad stuff like Ernest Scared Stupid. Wait until we get to my Christmas list. Think this is bad? Do you have all the Rankin/Bass specials on DVD? But that is a subject for another day my friends.

By richb

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