Tag Archives: Disney

Fantastic Halloween Adventure: Toy Story of Terror

Toy-Story-of-Terror-Logo
Ah, it’s October. Leaves browning, cold weather coming in, Halloween decorations begin filling store shelves and front yards…. Unless, of course you are like me and live in Southern California and it is currently 97 degrees with no end in sight to the heat. This is why I must rely on films, TV shows and books to put me in the correct mindset for Halloween.

A new addition to my Halloween Fantastic Adventures segment is the recently released Toy Story of Terror. First aired in October 2013 on ABC, this short 30 minute film doesn’t necessarily take place on Halloween, but is more of an homage to classic spooky monster movies. The toys wind up in a roadside motel when their humans’ car gets a flat tire on a road trip. Once inside, the toys begin disappearing one by one. What is this mysterious creature taking all of the toys? And what is he doing with them? You’ll just have to find out, won’t you.

TRIXIE, MR. POTATO HEAD, REX, MR. PRICKLEPANTS, BUZZ LIGHTYEAR, COMBAT CARLWhy it is a fantastic adventure: This short movie is a great way to introduce your kids to classic spooky movies. There are a lot of “jump” moments with things popping out from behind shower curtains, off the side of the frame, etc. In typical Pixar fashion, it is all done in a kid safe style. It’s not too scary, but just enough of a jump to get your kids flinching.
The tension is easily relieved by humor, and your kids will be screaming and laughing right along with their favorite toy characters.
Get your kids introduced to some spooky entertainment and get them ready for a season of Halloween TV specials and movies!

Toy Story of Terror is available on Blu-Ray and DVD at Amazon.com or other fine retailers.

For more Halloween movie and TV recommendations, please visit my 31 Days of Halloween posts by clicking on the banner on your right and look for Fantastic Halloween Adventures!

Fantastic Halloween Adventure: Hocus Pocus

Hocus-Pocus-movie-posterAh, Hocus Pocus. This film was only mildly successful when it came out in 1993 and to this day it is a very divisive film. However, it is one of my favorite Halloween movies and a great family friendly movie, so I will be presenting it. The story focuses on three witches who were burned at the stake for their evil deed of stealing the souls of children in Salem, Massachusetts in 1693. Right before they died, they cast a spell on a black flame candle that once a virgin lit the candle on the full moon before Halloween, they would rise once again. Fast forward 300 years to 1993 and a young high school boy named Max Dennison lights the candle to impress a girl. The three witches rise again to steal the souls of little children.
Max, his (hopeful) girlfriend Allison, and Max’s little sister, Dani must stop the evil Sanderson Sisters before the sun rises on November 1st in order to prevent the sisters from coming back permanently. Of course, the hard part for Max and company is that it is Halloween night and none of the adults or authority figures believe them! I will not spoil the ending, of course, but you can expect much hilarity, adventure and creepy Halloween spooks.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: Max is every bit the aspiring young hero for middle school aged boys, with just the right amount of disobedience and knowing when to do the right thing. He is also an especially good role model for any big brothers who have little sisters to take care of. Max learns throughout the movie and teaches your kids at the same time. You can be irresponsible and have fun, but there will be consequences. You can hate your little sister for being a

Max and Dani portray a great sibling relationship.
Max and Dani portray a great sibling relationship.

burden, but you’re going to do everything you can to protect her when things turn ugly. And lastly, you can try to impress the cute girl at school all you want, but you’re not going to win her over that way.
The little girls in your family will wish they were in Dani’s shoes from the very beginning. Dani is lovingly portrayed by Thora Birch, who really steals many of the scenes in this film. She is strong-willed and won’t stop tormenting her big brother until she gets her way. Your little girl will be going on the adventure with Dani, reveling in a night of witches, zombies and magic that all seems fresh and real. She even gets a talking cat as her companion through the film. Another plus, just when Dani is getting too scared – and maybe your little girl, too – her big brother swoops in and comforts her. It is a perfect lesson in sibling relationships. Just enough rivalry, but in the end it is compassion that wins the day.
Of course you can’t mention this film without talking about the witches themselves – the Sanderson Sisters. They provide most of the comedy throughout the film, mostly having to do with being from 1693 and being awoken in 1993. The elementary school is deemed a “prison for children” (your kids will

The Sanderson Sisters
The Sanderson Sisters

agree with that), a man dressed in a devil costume is mistaken for the real thing, and the entire concept of Halloween being a night of young children dressing up as creatures is quite upsetting to them. Bette , Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker play the creepy yet kooky witches to perfection with just the right amount of terror and humor. If these three witches do not get your kids excited about all things Halloween, then there is not much that will.
There are Halloween decorations abound, zombies, talking cats, creepy cemeteries and picturesque Salem settings, which really bring that cold Fall feeling to the film.
The entire movie itself is one long, grand adventure that never lets up and teaches very important lessons along the way, all the while building your kids’ love of Halloween.

 

 

Fantastic Halloween Adventure: Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

legendofsleepyhollowOne of my best childhood memories of Halloween is sitting around the TV turning on the Disney Channel and watching The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. For those who don’t know the story, it basically involves a very superstitious and easily scared school teacher, Mr. Ichabod Crane, being told a spooky story of a headless horsemen by the town prankster. When Ichabod makes his way home after the gathering, he is chased down by this headless horsemen and never heard from again.

This story appeals to such a broad audience because we all love a good unsolved mystery. Kids enjoy it because it is spooky, scary and a stern reminder not to run off alone!

The easily frightened Ichabod Crane
The easily frightened Ichabod Crane

The animation may leave younger kids a bit disappointed as it is not CGI and is actually hand drawn (oh, the horror)! However, they will quickly forget that little tidbit as they are sucked into the world of Sleepy Hollow. The daytime settings are pleasant to look at, which gives you a nice secure feeling. Hold on to that feeling. You’re going to need it.
When night falls on Sleepy Hollow the quiet, melodic town turns into a foreboding maze of dark forests, dimly lit cabins and dark, unlit paths. Of course, this is the part that is most appealing to kids and adults on Halloween night. If you talk to your kids and explain tot hem that the dark is not scary, and that the headless horsemen is not, in fact, real, they will not be frightened and will be able to enjoy the story for what it is.

The sense of fear and adventure stirs something primal in all of us, which is why this story and this cartoon version of it, continues to enthrall us all these years later.
Sit down and put this family friendly telling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in your DVD player!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is available on DVD from Amazon.com

Fantastic Adventure: Shipwrecked

Shipwrecked
Today’s entry in Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment is the little known high seas adventure, Shipwrecked.
The story centers around a young boy, Haakon, who sails off as a cabin boy in order to save his family’s home. Little does he know, the ship’s captain and crew have all been replaced by pirates, who need the ship to return to a deserted sand to dig up their gold.
Young Haakon, shipmate Jens and stowaway Mary discover the pirates’ plan and are forced to walk the plank in the middle of a storm. Haakon washes up alone on a deserted island and soon discovers it is the hiding place of the pirates’ treasure. Can he recover the treasure before the pirates return? Will he find his friends? Most importantly, how will he get home?

Why it is a fantastic adventure: A young boy must survive on his own on a deserted island. Your kids will experience all the classic survival stuff: building shelters out of palm trees, weapons out of sticks, and eating coconuts and fish. A sense of exploration is crucial to your kids’ upbringing as creative individuals. They will be in Haakon’s shoes as he creates booby traps, fights for survival and attempts to stop the pirates from getting their treasure.
Haakon is a great young character for your kids to look up to and identify with. He handles himself with poise as he is stranded alone with nothing but his instincts and smarts. Your kids will be itching to go on an adventure of their own, and don’t be surprised if you walk in to your living room being converted into a deserted island.
This movie is a great way to let your kids explore their imaginations and get them to do creative things with whatever they have laying around the house. Since they will be pretending they are on a deserted island they will be making radios out of coconuts and shelters out

Haakon and Jens being held captive by pirates
Haakon and Jens being held captive by pirates

of bed sheets. If you happen to have an indoor palm tree, expect that you will no longer have it in the near future!
Overall, Shipwrecked is a fantastic adventure film safe for the entire family, and your kids will bond with Haakon and his island adventures.

Shipwrecked is available on DVD on Amazon.com

Fantastic Adventures Halloween Edition: Disney’s Halloween Treat

The next stop on our Halloween adventures: Disney’s Halloween Treat. This 45 minute video was released in 1982 and was a mainstay on the Disney Channel through the 1980s and part of the 1990s. Unfortunately, it no longer airs on broadcast television. But, you can find it on YouTube in seven parts. Link will be at the end of the post. This Halloween special centers around Disney villains, creepy stories with your favorite characters (Mickey, Huey, Dewy and Louie, etc.), and there are clips from some obscure Disney cartoons not seen since the 1970s.
They all feature creepy settings, vivid characters and perfect family Halloween thrills. A talking jack-o’-lantern introduces each story which include such creepy scenes as dancing skeletons, Donald Duck hiding from a rampaging gorilla, the “Night on Bald Mountain” segment from Fantasia, the wizard’s duel from Sword in the Stone,  and even a clip of the Headless Horseman chasing down poor Ichabod.  These are just a few of the great segments you will find in this video.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: Halloween is always a special time when you are a kid (and it should be when you’re an adult, too). This is one of those rare videos that can both frighten children while also making them howl for more when it is all over. It has just the right amount of “scare” and creepy imagery mixed with the pleasantness of Disney.
The truth is, we all love being scared. Your kids will be on the edge of their seats as they await whatever creepy creature is awaiting them in the next segment. It offers the thrill of being scared with the safety of the Disney brand.
If your kids love Halloween and all the creatures that go along with it, then they will definitely enjoy this video. there are creatures of all kinds.
This is also a great moment for your little kids to teach them what Halloween is all about. There may be scary and evil creatures, dark settings and spooky stories, but in the end it is all about having fun while being scared, getting and eating candy, and dressing up as your favorite creature or character. Of course, there is also a greater reason for Halloween, which you may share with your youngsters (but most of them won’t be ready to understand it), the remembrance and celebration of lost souls: relatives, ancestors, and all loved ones.
In the end, Disney’s Halloween Treat is a fun adventure for the entire family with some great scary moments, classic Disney characters and a great representation of all that is good about Halloween.

You can watch Disney’s Halloween treat in seven parts on YouTube. Start here: http://youtu.be/ASuuZejf8VE

Fantastic Adventures Halloween Edition: Hocus Pocus

During the month of October I will be bringing you the best Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment for the spooktacular holiday, Halloween! Check back all month for spooky stories safe for the entire family!

The first fantastic adventure for Halloween: Hocus Pocus. This film was only mildly successful when it came out in 1993 and to this day it is a very divisive film. However, it is one of my favorite Halloween movies and a great family friendly movie, so I will be presenting it. The story focuses on three witches who were burned at the stake for their evil deed of stealing the souls of children in Salem, Massachusetts in 1693. Right before they died, they cast a spell on a black flame candle that once a virgin lit the candle on the full moon before Halloween, they would rise once again. Fast forward 300 years to 1993 and a young high school boy named Max Dennison lights the candle to impress a girl. The three witches rise again to steal the souls of little children.
Max, his (hopeful) girlfriend Allison, and Max’s little sister, Dani must stop the evil Sanderson Sisters before the sun rises on November 1st in order to prevent the sisters from coming back permanently. Of course, the hard part for Max and company is that it is Halloween night and none of the adults or authority figures believe them! I will not spoil the ending, of course, but you can expect much hilarity, adventure and creepy Halloween spooks.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: Max is every bit the aspiring young hero for middle school aged boys, with just the right amount of disobedience and knowing when to do the right thing. He is also an especially good role model for any big brothers who have little sisters to take care of. Max learns throughout the movie and teaches your kids at the same time. You can beirresponsible and have fun, but there will be consequences. You can hate your little sister for being a burden, but you’re going to do everything you can to protect her when things turn ugly. And lastly, you can try to impress the cute girl at school all you

Max and Dani portray a great sibling relationship.

want, but you’re not going to win her over that way.
The little girls in your family will wish they were in Dani’s shoes from the very beginning. Dani is lovingly portrayed by Thora Birch, who really steals many of the scenes in this film. She is strong-willed and won’t stop tormenting her big brother until she gets her way. Your little girl will be going on the adventure with Dani, reveling in a night of witches, zombies and magic that all seems fresh and real. She even gets a talking cat as her companion through the film. Another plus, just when Dani is getting too scared – and maybe your little girl, too – her big brother swoops in and comforts her. It is a perfect lesson in sibling relationships. Just enough rivalry, but in the end it is compassion that wins the day.
Of course you can’t mention this film without talking about the witches themselves – the Sanderson Sisters. They provide most of the comedy throughout the film, mostly having to do with being from 1693 and being awoken in 1993. The elementary school is deemed a “prison for children” (your kids will agree with that), a man dressed in a devil costume is mistaken for the real thing, and the entire concept of Halloween being a night of young children dressing up as creatures is quite upsetting to them. Bette , Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker play the creepy yet kooky witches to perfection with just the right amount of terror and humor. If these three witches do not get your kids excited about all things Halloween, then there is not much that will.
There are Halloween decorations abound, zombies, talking cats, creepy cemeteries and picturesque Salem settings, which really bring that cold Fall feeling to the film.
The entire movie itself is one long, grand adventure that never lets up and teaches very important lessons along the way, all the while building your kids’ love of Halloween.

The Sanderson Sisters

Rent it on Amazon Instant Video, Watch it on ABC Family this month, or Buy it on DVD or Blu-Ray at your local store.