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No one does Halloween much like Disney. Remember Monstober? Pumpkins, witches, cauldrons, ghouls…Halloween classics hail from Disney. A very stark difference to the horror movies we are used to today, family-friendly Disney has taken a spookier and more magical version in their original Halloween movies that won’t leave you cowering in your seat. 

Disney has extremely graciously compiled a whole spread of Halloween films and series for us to binge this Spooktober. Here are 5 Disney original Halloween movies you can’t miss:

1. Return to Oz (1985)

The 2013 remake couldn’t hold a torch to this masterpiece. This re-telling of the original Oz books by L. Frank Baum remains one of the most loyal book to screen adaptations of the Oz universe. Dorothy returns to Kansas, to much speculation from the locals about her adventures in Oz. She then starts suffering from insomnia and is put under the care of the sadistic duo Mr. Worley and Nurse Wilson, who perform dreadful experiments on children.

Just as Dorothy almost became an experiment subject, a storm arrives and she finds herself back in Oz. There, she meets extremely creepy characters that would be the source of my nightmares in childhood: Mombi, a witch who keeps a collection of live heads in a cupboard and alternates among them as she wishes and the Wheelers, who have wheels as their hands and feet.

Follow Dorothy on her quest to restore Oz to its former glory in this fantasy filled film with characters that will haunt your dreams. 

Spooky count: Not for the faint-hearted

2. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Directed by Kenny Ortega way before High School Musical was introduced, Hocus Pocus has definitely drawn in a different crowd, becoming one of the most famous Halloween movies since its release, achieving cult status.

In a town with a famous legend of witchcraft, the Sanderson Sisters are resurrected by non-believer Max, a high schooler who has just moved from Los Angeles. Thackery Binx, turned into a charming black cat after a failed attempt to save his little sister, has been ‘alive’ for 300 years. Binx teams with Max, his little sister, and his crush to stop the Sanderson Sisters from stealing the life source of the children in Salem. 

The villainous yet humorous Sanderson Sisters bring a light-hearted spin to what could’ve been a sinister movie. The eccentric sisters are sure to keep your eyes glued to the screen. 

Spooky count: It’s just a bunch of hocus-pocus!

3. The Haunted Mansion (2003)

My personal favourite. Eddie Murphy plays Jim, a successful, workaholic real estate agent who brings his family to a stately mansion, only to encounter some peculiar events. His wife catches the eye of the mansion’s owner, Mr Gracey (she bears a striking resemblance to his late fiancé), while he and his two children befriend other inhabitants including Madame Leota (the ghost of a gypsy encased in a crystal ball), whom I would place all my trust and hope in. I absolutely love her.

Of all the events that happened in this movie, The Singing Busts made a lasting impression. They start belting out songs in conversation with Jim at the mansion’s cemetery, much to the bewilderment of Jim and the children. 

Brace yourself for this experience because you’ll be encountering ghosts, skeletal dead people, and lost souls. This quirky, mildly spooky, comedic film is sure to leave you wanting a sequel. 

Spooky count: Boo!

4. Return to Halloweentown (2006)

I must confess, this is the only movie from the Halloweentown series I revisit every year. (You might find a familiar face in the show — Lucas Grabeel, a.k.a Ryan Evans from High School Musical, plays Marnie Piper’s love interest.)

Born into the legendary Cromwell family, Marnie becomes the target of the Dominion (a group of witches and wizards who seek to usurp and rule Halloweentown) when she enters Witch University. Unexpectedly unearthing a Cromwell heirloom, she begins to look for a key that could open it. With the assistance of Professor Periwinkle, played by the late Debbie Reynolds, she travels back in time to seek the help of Splendora Cromwell (the owner of the heirloom) in hopes of saving Halloweentown from the Dominion. 

Witch University is the epitome of having a Halloween party all year round. With witches, genies, goblins, fairies, and even pumpkin headed beings as students, it is never a normal day at school. 

Spooky count: Spellbinding

5. Twitches Too (2007)

Although a sequel to Twitches, it isn’t hard sitting through this movie without watching its predecessor. The first few minutes of Twitches Too fills you in on the events prior to the movie.

Alex (Artemis) and Camryn (Apolla) are royal twins and princesses of Coventry. They both struggle to control their newfound magic and seek the help of their mother, Queen Miranda, and their close friends, Ileana and Karsh. Through fighting a sinister shadow and learning to become great witches, they bring back their father, King Aron, who was thought to be dead almost two decades ago.

Filled with magic, comedy, and familial bonds, Twitches Too takes a different spin on the typical Halloween movie.

Spooky count: Bippity boppity boo 

If there is one thing I will never outgrow, it would be Disney’s Halloween movies. If you’re a subscriber of Disney+, you’re in luck! All these movies can be found there. So grab your favourite movie snack and unwind for a chilling Friday night this October, with Disney’s very own spooky crew.

Gabrielle Chua

Nanyang Tech '24

With a stash of Roald Dahl novels in her possession from childhood, Gabrielle seldom has a tight grip on reality. In her spare time, she enjoys printmaking and writing for her local animal shelter.
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