October is finally here, which means it’s time to grab some popcorn and re-watch some of your favorite spooky Halloween movies. One film that should be on your list is the classic 1998 Disney Channel movie, “Halloweentown.”
The film follows a young girl named Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) who learns that she’s a witch while visiting her grandmother (Debbie Reynolds) in Halloweentown. The movie was an instant success for Disney, and led to three sequels: “Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge,” “Halloweentown High” and “Return to Halloween.”
Even though it’s been 10 years since the release of the fourth “Halloweentown” movie, it’s still popular among movie buffs. However, there are probably some fun facts you didn’t know about the flicks. Keep reading to find out seven cool things about the franchise:
- Halloweentown Actually Exists
Fans of the series can visit Halloweentown, and re-live some of that magic in St. Helens, Oregon, where the movie was filmed. The town welcomes tourists, and holds a month-long Spirit of Halloweentown every October. This year, visitors can walk a scarecrow trail through different locations, visit the Haunted Mansion, carve some pumpkins and listen to Brown read from her upcoming children’s book.
- Benny The Taxi Driver Was A Robot
During an interview with the Baltimore Media Blog last month, Brown revealed that the character Benny, a hilarious talking skeleton that drove a taxi was a robot. “The actor dubbed his lines after filming,” she explained. “So we actually worked with a robot. I’ll always remember the ‘err err’ sound it made.”
- The Budget Had To Be Cut Down A Lot
Director Duwayne Dunham told MTV last year that when he was first given the script for the original “Halloween” it was a $20 million to $30 million movie. He told the outlet that he had to cut the budget down to $4 million, which meant there was a lot of improvising during the filming. For example, Dunham said they didn’t have enough “creatures” walking around town so the actors had to “double up and change costumes” to make it look like there was a town full of people.
- The “Halloweentown” Book Is Real
Brown revealed during a YouTube Q&A with fans in 2013 that the “Halloweentown” book was made specifically for the film but was never released to the public. “That was a special book they did make for the movie. They had an artist draw all the pictures in it and they gave them a photograph of me before we started shooting the movie and they drew that picture of me on the broom, which I though was really cool,” she said.
- Brown’s Most Interesting Day On Set
While visiting St. Helens last year, Brown told the crowd that the most interesting day on set for her was when she had to film with a hair dryer that was blowing out fire. She said the fire was real and there was no special effects involved with that scene. “I actually had to stand with a hair dryer and real flames shout out of it, and it was very hot,” she said. “Just a little bit. So, that was an interesting day on set, but very fun and I was very safe and all that. But, it was very cool. So, what you see in the movie actually really did happen there.”
- Marnie Was Recast In “Return To Halloweentown”
Brown played Marnie for the first three “Halloweentown” movies, but for the fourth installment the role went to Sarah Paxton. During her YouTube Q&A, Brown said she wasn’t sure why Disney wanted to “go in a different direction and recast the role” because she was available to do it. The only two actors to star in all four of the movies were Judith Hoag as Marnie’s mom, Gwen, and Joey Zimmerman as Marnie’s brother, Dylan.
- “Halloweentown 5”?
If Disney ever decided to add a fifth movie to the franchise, count Zimmerman in. The actor told Movie Pilot last year that he would be totally up for reprising his role as Dylan. “I’d put the Dylan glasses on so fast, I’d get glasses-burn. It’s such a fun world to play in. I loved that Dylan was keeping the stone safe, but I think I’d most like to see a sequel that focuses on new characters to keep things fresh,” he said. “I’d rather see Dylan in a support capacity, offering advice and assistance to the young adventurers.”