Revisiting ‘Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge’

In my eighth movie review of the month, I take a step back from the scares and rehash childhood memories with the sequel to the beloved Halloweentown.

Kalabar’s Revenge was directed by Mary Lambert (Pet Sematary 1989) and sees the iconic Cromwell family return. This time, they seek to defeat evil in the form of Kalabar’s son, Kal, who looks to combine Halloweentown and the mortal world in an effort that he and the creatures of Halloweentown can rule the world.

As special as the original film, I have to admit that Kalabar’s Revenge takes everything from the first and improves on it. We have a better villain, a better plot and there is a single focus on the characters to get you to care about their plight. It was a good move by the writers, who also did the original, to give any sort of background to Kalabar. Throughout the first film, until he is revealed as the villain at the end, we have no reason to dislike him. He has no background aside from dating Gwen Piper, the mother.

The special effects are still incredibly dated but vastly improved (remember this is a straight-to-TV kids’ movie). The witches’ broom is no longer just a normal broom but an actual machine, which I found really cool. One effect that I did love was the “Gray Spell” and how the setting and the characters of Halloweentown all have this gray hue on them to represent their interpretation of the mortal world.

It has to be said that if Debbie Reynolds isn’t casted as Aggie Cromwell, there is no Halloweentown or the saga isn’t as legendary as it is. How Disney got her to these films is still mind-boggling because of her rich history as an actress. She’s just incredibly charming in all four films and embodies why someone like myself is so enthusiastic around this time of year.

It was fun to go back and pay respects to my childhood. It keeps me grounded because I will always be grateful for how fun my childhood was. Disney Channel original movies, especially the October releases, hold a special place in my heart and I will make sure to do a review for every single October marathon.

Kalabar’s Revenge, while still struggling from dated effects, improves upon the original in every aspect to provide an entertaining experience for all ages.

Rating: 7/10

8 down, 23 to go.

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