October Re-Screen: When Spirits Roam

Welcome to Re-Screen!

If this is your first time reading, Re-Screen is a weekly selection of one or more double features set around a shared theme or idea.

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On some nights (not just Halloween) the barrier between worlds grows thin. Sometimes you wait for your family, or villainous witches, or divine pumpkins. Whatever suits you.

Your relatives aren’t always what they seem.

Halloweentown (1998) and Coco (2017)

Sometimes your grandfather is murdered by the most famous musician of his time. Sometimes your grandma is actually a really important witch from another dimension.

It happens.

Coco is probably going to be on here perennially. The music, animation, use of color, and story are among the best in class. What can family and memory mean, not just personally but tangibly? What power does memory have?

An important note: Coco is not a Halloween movie, nor a fall movie. This is best watched on November 1st or 2nd.

Halloweentown, on the other hand, is best watched on…Halloween. This is when the veil grows thin and Debbie Reynolds is able to cross over, elevating this Disney channel original movie into a beloved 90s classic. It’s got surprisingly sharp jokes and references, and a deeper story than expected.

Belief can be a funny thing.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) and Hocus Pocus (1993)

There are moments when you are faced with something that, despite being truly outrageous, you are forced to accept as truth.

Like when you watch Hocus Pocus and realize that it may be Sarah Jessica Parker’s best role. Bette Midler receives most of the spotlight, and that’s fair. But Parker comes alive as Sarah Sanderson, radiating in delight at the ridiculousness around her. I deeply hope we see a sequel to this cult favorite, for no other reason that to see Parker terrorize Salem yet again.

Unfortunately, Linus never gets his moment of accepted truth. Despite his true faith and attempts to proselytize his friends, the Great Pumpkin never visits to impart his gourd-y goodness. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is, like its counterpart holiday specials, a multi-generational hit and always worth revisiting.

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Originally from the bear-infested schools of Wyoming, but now lives in Chicago. More importantly, he achieved minor Twitter fame once and hasn’t stopped bringing it up since. He has a healthy obsession with Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Bulbasaur. Please validate him by following him on Twitter, @ericsmorals

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