Halloweentown (1998)

Marnie Piper can’t understand why her mother Gwen won’t allow her and her siblings Dylan and Sophie to celebrate Halloween. It turns out that both Gwen and her mother Aggie are witches, despite the fact that Gwen yearns to live the life of a mortal. Now, Aggie is intent on training Marnie as a witch and informs her of where she lives, Halloweentown.

Halloweentown is a place where witches, warlocks, vampires, trolls, ogres, zombies, werewolves, mummies, ghosts, pumpkin heads, skeletons, goblins and humanoids with varying numbers of body parts have decided to escape from the fear of humans and create their own alternate universe.

Aggie wants to teach Marnie how to become a witch before she turns 13 and can’t use her powers. She’s also worried that people in Halloweentown have been disappearing. As she goes home on a magic bus, Marnie and Dylan sneak on board.

That’s when they run afoul of Kalabar, a man that used to date Gwen and is still jealous that she chose to marry a human. Luckily, the family comes together and it’s decided that Aggie will spend more time in our world and Marnie will train to be a witch, which is good news, because Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge would follow four years later. It was directed by Mary Lambert — yes, the same person who made Pet Sematary.

Director Duwayne Dunham was an editor at Lucasfilm and directed three episodes of Twin Peaks before making Halloweentown. A name you may recognize in the credits belongs to Alfred Sole, the production designer, who is better known for directing Alice, Sweet Alice.


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