I looked over a list of Disney Channel Original Movies last night, for fun, and quickly realized there aren’t nearly as many quality picks as I’d imagined. Of the dozen or so I really enjoyed, though, five of them were released in October and had ghoulish themes. What better time of year to revisit them?
“Susie Q” (1996)
“Susie Q,” released right before “The Paper Brigade,” was one of the last two Disney Premiere Films, as they were called from the early 80’s, not nearly as frequent as the ’97 onset of DOMs. It was about this hot ghost from the 50’s or something, who could only talk to one kid, this 30 year old dude who plays a high school student.
“Susie Q” wasn’t that scary, but it featured the pink power ranger in a hot prom dress for 80 or so minutes. There was also something kinky about the fact she appeared in his bedroom randomly, and the kid’s mom couldn’t see her.
5. “Under Wraps” (October 1997)
The second Disney Channel Original ever, “Under Wraps” is a Halloween classic. Three kids befriend a mummy named Harold. Need I say more?
4. “Halloweentown” (October 1998)
A year later, Disney was starting to hit its DOM stride. As a Halloween junkie, you’d think “Halloweentown” would be my jam. It’s super cornu, unfortunately, and Kimberly Brown (not hating) is too fugly for my taste, even as a 9 year old apparently (how bad is “Quints” ?). Also the makeup budget must have been diverted to the jaw-dropping “Zenon” set. But it’s about as Halloween as you get, so there you have it.
3. “Mom Has A Date With A Vampire” (October 2000)
With their first Halloween DOM of the millennium, Disney got into the vampire game way before HBO. The one thing I remember about this movie, is that it’s actually pretty decent. Their vampire is kind of a doof, but the cast is comprised of a solid stable of kid actors. Also, the movie actually has some decent direction. Taking place mostly over the course of one night, we move fluidly from the end of school, a dance club, a Halloween carnival, the vampire’s lakeside mansion, etc. Good looks Disney.
2. “Phantom of the Megaplex” (November 2000)
Just a month later Disney came up with another Halloween classic, despite the holiday being 11 months away. Opposed to MHADWAV, “Megaplex” takes place entirely in a huge movie theater. It’s a nifty device. The frantic energy of a popular theater on a Friday night helps elevate the tension of the masked villain set on ruining a huge Hollywood premiere–at any cost. Taylor Handley is such a stud, too.
1. “Don’t Look Under the Bed” (October 1999)
In their third consecutive Halloween DOM, Disney really hit the nail on the head. The direction is unbalanced and creepy, the plot is wacky and at times unpredictable. The theme is eternal and the bone marrow story line is surprisingly touching. Erin Chambers is the best leading lady in a Disney Original ever, and the legendary Erik “Ty” Hodges II enacts the performance of a lifetime. This film already aired this Halloween season…Sunday night at 2:30am. Get your shit together Disney.