New Additions to the Halloween Wheelhouse

If I have a wheelhouse, it’s Cheesy Stuff From the Mid 1980s to Mid 1990s, whether it’s old ads, weird kids shows, or crummy movies. I like to think of myself as, if not an expert, then at least an amateur historian. My goal is to be the first person to get a MacArthur Genius Grant on the basis of studies into Heinz Homestyle Gravy.

That’s why I was taken by surprise this weekend when, while visiting relatives this weekend, my cousin squealed with delight upon hearing that Teen Witch was on TV. I assumed she meant the long running Melissa Joan Hart vehicle, but no. She was referring to an exquisitely 80s movie that heretofore floated under my radar. Which was bizarre, because if you read this site, you know I remember far more useless junk than any non-crazy person should.

Apparently, Teen Witch went the Office Space route: making barely any money at the box office, but finding a new life on cable. From what I can gather, it has built up quite a Cult of Cheese, one that I was completely oblivious to until now. I only managed to see a good 45 minutes of this masterpiece, but oh my, what a 45 minutes they were.

It’s not fair to try and recap all the singular weirdness contained in Teen Witch. The film is not really awful–I’ve seen much, much worse–but it does have several touches in it that simply do not make sense. My theory is, Teen Witch was made by someone with a very particular vision who was allowed to realize that vision completely. Or, it was passed through so many hands in Development Hell that it eventually became a Frankensteinian monster.

However, if you’ve never seen it, I thought you might “enjoy” this scene in which several very Caucasian teens engage in a “rap battle.” Really, it’s more of a “rap scrimmage.” But it remains an interesting artifact from the era when rap was considered both very hip and eminently easy to do. “All they do is talk over the music and move their arms and stuff. Just get some kids to do it. How hard could it be?”

After I tweeted about this, I received some online confirmation that I was indeed far behind the curve when it came to Teen Witch. I also received a link from @ryankelly for another bit of Halloween movie weirdness I’d never seen before. This is a clip from the British made-for-TV move The Worst Witch, in which Tim Curry performs a showstopping number “Anything Can Happen on Halloween.” God help me, even though the instrumentation is Casio-heavy and the lyrics a little silly, this song is not all that bad. Perhaps it’s the performance. Curry’s vocals make it sound like an outtake from Diamond Dogs. I’m not sure it isn’t, to be honest.