Whether it was the channel or the studio, Disney never failed to create brilliant Halloween movies that managed to both scare and entertain children around the nation. Every year, kids were treated to a new round of laughably scary movies to watch, which only contributed to Disney’s status as a master of the ’90s. Let’s take a trip back through time to remember some of the most popular Halloween-related Disney movies.
1. Hocus Pocus (1993)
Perhaps one of the most loved Halloween movies of all time, Hocus Pocus is watched almost religiously during the season of spook. 2013 marked 20 years since its release, and the film still frequently ranks highly on lists of popular Halloween movies. Hocus Pocus follows the revival of three witches who were hanged in the 1600s and their quest to gain not only revenge, but everlasting youth. Of course, their plot is foiled by a group of teenagers (as always, right?). There were rumors of a potential sequel to the cult classic, but Disney has since laid those rumors to rest by telling The Huffington Post very clearly, “The studio is not developing a sequel to Hocus Pocus.” That’s a shame, but at least the original is still vastly popular.
2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Debates spring up between those who think this movie is a Christmas movie and those who think it’s a Halloween movie, but regardless of when you decide to watch it, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is undoubtedly fit for both holidays. Featuring ghouls and ghosts of all kinds, this movie is another popular choice for Halloween lovers everywhere. It follows Jack Skellington on his mission to take over Christmas and essentially turn it into a second Halloween. Many people argue that The Nightmare Before Christmas wasn’t actually a Disney movie, but because it was released through Touchstone Pictures, a division of The Walt Disney Company, we’ll include it on the list.
3. Halloweentown (1998)
Disney does it best. Not only did they bring Hocus Pocus to the people, but they brought us Halloweentown as well, which follows three (apparently magical) siblings as they discover a mystical town that—as the name implies—is decked out in an entire Halloween theme. The film went on to gain three sequels, though the original one is still arguably the best. The effects are cheesy, and the entire film throws viewers into a fit of late-’90s nostalgia, which is why Halloweentown is awesome.
4. Under Wraps (1997)
Under Wraps was another Disney Channel Original Movie created just in time for Halloween, and it’s still one of their best classics. The film follows three friends who discover a mummy named Harold and their quest to return him to his sarcophagus before midnight on Halloween. Some people may have trouble remembering this movie, which is understandable as it hasn’t been shown on television for some time—or, at least, it hadn’t until a couple years ago, when it was shown as part of Disney’s “Throwback Thursday.” So why is a movie that’s rarely shown on our list of top Halloween films? It takes the classic mummy, a generally scary thing, and turns him into a bumbling, bashful idiot who requires the help of three kids. What about that isn’t perfect?
5. Don’t Look Under the Bed (1999)
Disney’s final attempt at a “true” horror film, Don’t Look Under the Bed, was about a teenage girl whose imaginary friend turned out to be a boogeyman. Surprisingly enough, there were actually a few moments of sheer terror in this movie. Author’s note: This movie actually made me afraid to look under my bed for years, so I totally understand why this may have been their last shot at making a real horror film… because it worked.
6. Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire (2000)
Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire starred The Nanny cast member Charles Shaughnessy as Dimitri Denatos, a man who may or may not be a blood-sucking vampire. This 2000 Disney Channel Original found three siblings trying to prove that the man their mom was going out with was actually a vampire. Spoiler alert: He totally is.
7. Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)
This one came out just after Halloween but has still been shown on Disney from time to time around the October holiday. A modern take on Phantom of the Opera, Phantom of the Megaplex took a group of siblings on a humorous adventure through a movie theater to find out who—or what—was haunting the megaplex.
So now that it’s October, the season of scare is officially in motion. Disney will no doubt be showing some of their classics, but we’re sure they’re ready to introduce a few new movies for today’s generation of youngsters. Let’s just hope they don’t forget their laughably terrifying roots, though!