As opposed to Freeform’s traditional 13 Nights of Halloween Freeform, this year they’ve extended the celebration to all 31 days of October. The schedule, available on Freeform’s website, includes at least four movies each day featuring Halloween classics, traditional family flicks, some movies that walk the line between both and premieres of movies that are new to Freeform. As the channel boasted on their their website, “13 Nights of Halloween wasn’t enough.”
Among the classic spooky thrillers are movies like “ParaNorman,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Hotel Transylvania,” “The Haunted Mansion” and “Hocus Pocus.” Most of the movies are shown at least twice, so if viewers miss one and are living their own DVR-less horror movie of a life, hope isn’t lost. In fact, “Hocus Pocus” shows no fewer than 28 times, including from 7:30 a.m. through midnight on Halloween.
A number of creepy movies that don’t specifically fall into the Halloween category are available as well. Movies like “The Goonies,” “Maleficent,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Alice in Wonderland” may seem like honorary Halloween reels because of their mystical vibes and shivery scenes.
However, the lineup also features a number of family-friendly movies that don’t seem to have much to do with Halloween at all. Freeform plans to show “The Parent Trap,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Jurassic Park,” “Mulan” and “Frozen.”
Other movies listed leave you making wild connections to justify them being included. Is “Monsters, Inc.” included just because it has monsters in it and monsters are a Halloween thing? Is “Mrs. Doubtfire” included because Robin Williams dresses up like a woman and people dress up on Halloween?
Freeform will be premiering several movies that are new to the channel. This season “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and “Warm Bodies” will be featured for the first time on Freeform.
It would have been nice to see some more multicultural films on the list. Day of the Dead begins the same night as Halloween, and a number of movies have come out recently that address this holiday, like “The Book of Life” and “Coco.” Understandably, television channels need the rights to screen movies, but Freeform is playing a number of other movies by Disney Pixar, the same studio “Coco” came out of.
Ultimately, Freeform’s ambition is admirable, and it’s exciting that they’re embracing the entire month as a Halloween celebration. However, greater variety and a stronger focus on specifically Halloween movies might have improved what will still be a first attempt at something great.
Alex Houdeshell is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.