“Halloweentown”: A Halloween Treat Carried by Debbie Reynolds

Mary Kelley, Scarlet Staff

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“Halloweentown” (1998) is definitely the second best Halloween movie. It is a heartwarming film starring the late, great Debbie Reynolds and featuring the character of Benny, a charismatic, nihilist, skeleton taxi-cab driver with the most emotive cheekbones cinema has ever seen.

As with most Disney films, at least in the pre-Marvel era, the movie’s plot is a bit overly simple. The thirteen year old protagonist accepts a picture book as fact, and the villain is obviously a horrible monster from the first moments they are on the screen. The film itself looks simultaneously expensive and so very cheap; the wardrobe department was definitely underfunded but the practical effects were spot on. Overall the film is one hundred percent worth a movie night with some good friends, some candy corn, and some garlic to really annoy the vampires.
The film does not really require a review, as it truly is a Disney straight to TV movie focused on keeping the spirit of Halloween alive in children across the world. The movie is a joy to watch but it is not what made the night so very spectacular. The real stars of the night were the members of CUFSS, who set up the film and coordinated the entire event. Clark University Film Screening Society show films biweekly, each week a different film. Upcoming films include, “Midsommer” (2019), “The Night of The Living Dead” (1968), and “Miss Congeniality” (2000).
Members of CUFSS take turns setting up the films in lecture halls at Clark. Last weekend’s “Halloweentown” screening took place in CUFSS’s usual location of Jefferson 320.

 I attended the screening due to an undying love of Debbie Reynolds, and was lucky enough to find three friends interested in attending with me. We had a lovely lazy Saturday dinner and made our way to the screening. When we came upon the hall, it was completely empty, aside from two dedicated members of CUFSS. My group of friends offered to skip the movie and let the members cancel the movie. We could go to someone’s dorm and try to find the movie somewhere online, but they squashed that idea and simply said “well we’ll be watching it with you or without you.” 

The movie was heartwarming, but much more so was the experience watching this movie with my friends on a big screen. We laughed out-loud and had a far better time than we would have crowded around someone’s laptop in a distracting dorm room. It was a time to celebrate a quintessential Halloween film, one filled with goblins, vampires, werewolves, witches, and warlocks. Brightly colored and sweet spooky scenery, set a festive and light-hearted tone. There is a central message of not judging a monster by their appearances, as even the jerkiest goblin can get a magical nose-job and even the prettiest witch could succumb to dangerous dark magic! Never forget the significance of family, the power that lies in people working together, and the magic that could lie dormant in anyone of us. 

CUFSS is a wonderful asset for students. I had missed going to the theaters. Or even just having a reason to sit through an entire movie. The films screened thus far have all been beyond entertaining, with a sprinkling of serious artistic endeavors, and it seems that the best is still yet to come! Pay attention to CUFSS screenings featured in the “What’s Happening” email newsletter and follow their Instagram linked in the QR code below. Take advantage of the free events sponsored by clubs and live your college experience to its fullest extent, because what broke college student doesn’t want a free movie from time to time?