I can easily say that Disney+ is one of the best streaming services that I utilize. Whether you use it for Star Wars, Disney originals or HAMILTON (!!!!), there is a little something for everyone. Before I was “young, scrappy and hungry” all over the house, I was paying my monthly dues for all of the spookiness that Disney+ offered. While there are your OBVIOUS favorites like Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus and Coco, there are a lot more that you may have forgotten about or maybe they are completely new to you. In no particular order, let’s get spooky!
LONESOME GHOSTS (1937)
This one is a classic for sure. Disney shorts used to ride on the dark side and some of my favorites are from the black and white Silly Symphony collection. I’m talking Skeleton Dance, Egyptian Melodies, Hell’s Bells and The Haunted House. Unfortunately, those don’t appear on Disney+ but LONESOME GHOSTS does. Mickey, Donald and Goofy are ghost hunters and a house full of bored ghosts are down for some shenanigans. The ghosts call in the trio to give them a fright but it looks like they may be better at their jobs than the ghosts anticipated. This little bite sized goodie is a fun romp in a haunted house and good for short attention spans.
MOM’S GOT A DATE WITH A VAMPIRE (2000)
I am 33-years-old and this remains a regularly watched movie in my house. This is by far one of the best Disney original Halloween movies that were made in the late 90’s/early 2000’s era. Back then, Disney originals were at their peak and this was one of the big winners. Adam Hansen is obsessed with all things spooky, especially vampires and vampire hunters. When he gets grounded from seeing his favorite band, he and his sister Chelsea team up to get their mom a date. But when younger brother Taylor suspects that her date is actually a vampire, the kids chase the pair around town in an effort to save their mom from the bloodsucking fiend. This one is a lot of fun with great child acting and rockabilly!
DON’T LOOK UNDER THE BED (1999)
This original always gave me the creeps. DON’T LOOK UNDER THE BED is another one of the classic Disney original Halloween movies that 30-somethings look back on fondly. Frances Bacon McCausland is a normal, nerdy teen until one day, weird things begin to happen. All the clocks in town are set hours forward, someone put Jell-O in the school pool and people are finding B’s painted everywhere all over town. When Frances starts to see a boy following her around, she thinks she has an admirer. When she realizes no one but she can see him, she, and everyone else around her, begins to think she’s losing it. They also suspect that she may be the culprit. Can Frances and her new invisible friend figure out what is happening before Frances gets in big trouble? It’s a fun premise and it get REAL creepy towards the end.
Now THIS one is a classic. If you don’t know about the Halloweentown movie franchise, then you’re really missing out. This movie spawned 3 sequels (not all are created equally) and is played yearly every Fall and rightfully so. This is a town that’s Halloween ALL THE TIME. That’s the dream, fam! Marnie Cromwell knows that there is something different about her, but she figures it’s just because her mom is way too protective, especially when it comes to Halloween and her love of spooky things. When her estranged grandmother arrives for her yearly Halloween visit, she overhears that she is a witch and this Halloween is her last chance to keep her powers. Marnie and her brother and sister follow their grandma to her home and realizes she is far from normal. Marnie comes from a long line of powerful witches and she is determined to gain her powers and save Halloweentown from an insidious threat.
THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD (1949)
In the spirit of honesty, I only like the second half of this feature. I have never been a big fan of Will of the Wisp, so I usually skip to the good stuff, i.e. the headless horseman. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of those stories that everyone loves. It has everything that you need: a love interest, a goofy protagonist, a handsome bully, old towns, singing, over indulgence, pumpkins and ghosts. What more could you ask for? Oh, I know…Bing friggin’ Crosby! This is obviously a more light-hearted rendition of this story, but it’s really memorable. Plus, there’s a laughing horse and I like that.
While both the 2012 and 1984 version of this film is on Disney+, I am always going to be more partial to the Tim Burton Claymation version. There is just something unsettling about even the best Claymation and that gives it a more eerie feel. Plus, you have Tim Burton’s signature style. When a little boy loses his best friend, Sparky, he decides to try his hand at raising the dead to have his best friend back. FRANKENWEENIE will make you have the feels and it is a perfect way to ease young ones into the classic Universal Monsters. First stop FRANKENWEENIE, next stop Bride of Frankenstein.
Forbidden love is not a new theme by any means (looking at you Billy Shakespeare) but I always love when the idea is given a little something different. Enter forbidden zombie love. I was never a fan of Warm Bodies but Z-O-M-B-I-E-S makes the genre a lot of fun. This is a favorite in my house for both the movie and the soundtrack. After an accident at an energy plant that involved lime soda, zombies were created and the war against the brain-eaters began. After a bracelet was invented that curbed their carnivorous habits, zombies were able to live like normals with homes and families but that doesn’t mean they were allowed to integrate with the “normals”. When the high school in Seabrook decides to finally let zombies into their school, Zed and Addison find each other and want to change minds with song and cheer. I KNOW, the idea of cheerleading changing the closed minds of a town sounds ridiculous but it is such a fun film about embracing differences and loving your neighbor. There’s also a sequel with werewolves!
THE HAUNTED MANSION (2003)
The Haunted Mansion is the epitome of spooky Disney. I have loved The Haunted Mansion (the ride) since I was a child. I have always been spooky (IT’S NOT A PHASE, MOM!) and The Haunted Mansion ride and music really touched my Halloween soul. Not much has changed since I’ve gotten older as you’ll find Haunted Mansion-themed items throughout my house. This film is such a fun representation of the ride as we follow the story of husband and wife realty team, Jim and Sara Evers, and their kids get stuck at a sprawling mansion during a storm. The house is full of ghosts, floating heads and singing busts. The story is actually really sad but I adore this film nonetheless. There was a movie made about The Hollywood Tower Hotel (aka Tower of Terror) and I think it may be even better than THE HAUNTED MANSION, but that is not on Disney plus, unfortunately.
GHOUL FRIEND (2013)
This last pick is a bite sized, spooky goodie at only 6 minutes long. GHOUL FRIEND is from the new Mickey Mouse cartoon which is pretty incredible. This follows Mickey with a broken down car in the middle of a very scary forest. In comes a helping hand in Goofy but unfortunately he is extremely dead and falling apart. There is a Halloween special called The Scariest Story Ever and it may be one of the best Mickey cartoons I have ever seen. It isn’t on Disney+, which is a travesty. Same for Disney’s Halloween Treat. TAKE NOTE DISNEY+!
Those are some of the best spooky shows that Disney+ has to offer but it is not by any means the only ones there. Some honorable mentions are: The Ghosts of Buxley Hall, T*witches, The Scream Team, Descendants and Mr. Boogedy. Lest we not forget the movies mentioned in the intro. If you are like me, you already have Halloween on the brain and this is a perfect way to get you and the whole family in the mood to get on with some Halloween decorating. Happy haunts, ya’ll!