BootLeg Betty

It’s Halloween! It’s Hocus Pocus! And More!

American-Statesman
Roe: Television schedules full of Halloween shows and movies
By Dale Roe
Friday, Oct. 5, 2012

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for Halloween — dressing up, roaming the streets with my buddies in the dark, anticipating a delicious and debilitating sugar coma. I can’t say that I ever experienced it, but kids in my school and neighborhood passed along urban legends of mythical houses that gave away full-size candy bars to trick-or-treaters.

These days, cursed with a seemingly unstoppable middle-aged waistline, most of my Halloween treats come in the form of scary television shows and movies on TV. In October, network schedules are full of ’em. Here are some highlights and how they would stack up against the goodies I might find in my childhood trick-or-treat bag:

FULL-SIZE SNICKERS

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” Date to be announced, ABC: The classic’s original network, CBS, hoped to duplicate the success of its first holiday-themed Peanuts special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” with this bittersweet tale of a boy (Linus) and his pumpkin patch. While not as beloved as that original, the deceptively smart cartoon remains the golden nougat standard of Halloween programming. It contains plenty of hilarious, sad-sack catch phrases (Charlie Brown’s sullen “I got a rock” stands out) and trademark pearls of wisdom from Linus, including this classic, which I try to live by: “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”

“The Nightmare Before Christmas,” 5:30 p.m. Oct. 21, ABC Family: Tim Burton co-wrote and produced 1993’s layered, tuneful tale of pumpkin king Jack Skellington, who stumbles upon Santa Claus and covets the joy he brings. Skellington kidnaps Claus and attempts to take over Christmas with disastrous results. Much of the twisted charm in this sweet and spooky confection lies in director Henry Selick’s painstakingly delicious stop-action animation and Danny Elfman’s amazing score: “This is Halloween,” indeed.

“Monsters, Inc.” 7 p.m. Oct. 27, ABC Family: I had to toss a computer-animated Halloween film in with my treats, and this one is the best. There’s not only the hilarious banter between John Goodman’s Sully and Billy Crystal’s Mike Wazowski, but we find out why monsters hide in children’s closets and why they jump out to scare them in the middle of the night.

FUN-SIZE MILKY WAY

“Hocus Pocus,” 7 p.m. Oct. 20, ABC Family: 1993 was a good year for Halloween movies. Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker steal the show as the Sanderson Sisters — ancient, kid-eating witches who return to the present day due to a spell involving a candle and a virgin (there is a good deal of odd and out-of-place sexual innuendo here for a family film, but it’s mild). Midler’s rocking rendition of “I Put a Spell On You” is a highlight, but my favorite scene takes place when the sisters stumble upon Garry Marshall in a devil costume and mistake the henpecked, pot-bellied old man for the real deal. Marshall’s real-life kid sister, Penny, is hilarious.

“Edward Scissorhands,” 6 p.m. Oct. 30, ABC Family: No, it’s technically not a Halloween film, but Tim Burton’s campy film features a sad anti-hero (Johnny Depp) whose get-up would make a great — if probably dangerous — costume 22 years after we first saw it.

“Drag Me To Hell,” 12 a.m., Oct. 22, Syfy: This 2009 horror film stars Alison Lohman as a bank officer who incurs a gypsy’s wrath by denying her a loan. Campy and way over the top, the film has some genuine scares.

PENNIES, POP TARTS OR ANY OTHER “TREAT” DROPPED IN YOUR BAG WHEN THE CANDY RUNS OUT

“A Scooby-Doo Halloween,” 1:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Cartoon Network: I can’t decide if the Scooby gang meeting Kiss would be more disappointing for Shaggy and the gang or the rockers. I wonder what Gene Simmons’ costume will be?

“Annoying Orange: Welcome to the Fruitmare,” 7:30 p.m., Oct. 22, Cartoon Network: What’s more annoying than the adolescent Internet sensation that finds human mouths and eyes superimposed onto sarcastic fruits and vegetables? The fact that they’re starring in a Freddy Krueger parody in which they must stay awake to avoid slaughter by an evil juicer, that’s what.

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