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Film / Hubie Halloween

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Hubie Halloween is a 2020 Horror Comedy film released by Netflix, directed by Steven Brill and co-written by its star, Adam Sandler. Also in the cast are Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, Kenan Thompson, Steve Buscemi, and Maya Rudolph among others.

Hubie Dubois (Sandler) loves Halloween and his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. However, the people of Salem don't exactly love him back. Hubie spends his days being tormented by both young and old for cruel entertainment, but he never lets it get his spirit down.

This Halloween, however, there is more to deal with than egg-wielding hooligans and kids ignoring candy etiquette. A dangerous mental patient is on the loose, a werewolf may have moved in next door, and townspeople are disappearing. Hubie just may be the only one who can save Halloween and the ungrateful jerks of Salem.

This film provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Violet’s money problems are explicitly mentioned several times. They never have an effect on the plot and no resolution is ever given.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Sgt. Downey admits to crying after an arrest called him a muppet. When Cooky dresses as him for the next Halloween, he laughingly guesses she is dressed as a muppet.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Aurora refers to Hubie as Hubie-Dubie, one of her favorite callers.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: The preschool-aged daughter of a female TV reporter wears a copy of her mother's revealing Harley Quinn outfit, much to her mother's delight and her father's clear disapproval.
  • Age-Stereotypical Food: Tommy tries to appear more mature to Megan by ordering a black coffee at the coffee shop. Danielle ruins it by pointing out he usually orders hot chocolate.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: With the exception of his mother, Violet Valentine, her foster children and Megan, Hubie Dubois is shunned and mercilessly bullied by almost all the town, who even throw things at him (some of which would definitely be lethal if they hit him) while he is quietly riding his bike.
  • Asshole Victim: Played with. Everyone taken by the kidnapper is a royal Jerkass. Even when their lives are being saved by Hubie, they can’t stop taking cheap shots at him. That being said, even Hubie admits that the punishment the kidnapper has for them (burning them alive) simply for pranking him is very extreme.
  • Awful Wedded Life: The Hennesseys have obviously not been happy for a long time. Mrs. Hennessey picks on Lester almost as much as she picks on Hubie. The only time they genuinely seem to enjoy each other’s company is when they are torturing Hubie.
  • Blatant Lies: Throughout the film Hubie claims to have a Canadian girlfriend who lives in Canada. Nobody believes this.
  • Bully Hunter: Hubie's mom is absolutely disgusted by the treatment Hubie faces by the other townsfolk. Deconstructed when she plans to murder several of them over it, in which Hubie even points out is quite disproportionate.
  • The Calls Are Coming from Inside the House: The killer’s burner phone GPS locates to Hubie’s house where his mother is alone.
  • The Cameo:
  • Character Overlap: Ben Stiller comes back as his orderly character, Hal from Happy Gilmore.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Hubie has a habit of keeping soup in his thermos. When his mother is about to torch the people who mistreated him, he uses it to douse the match.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: For their years of constant and unwarranted abuse of Hubie, Hubie's mother plans to burn all four of his primary tormentors at the stake in a manner similar to the Salem witch trials. Even Hubie states aloud how extreme it is.
  • The Chew Toy: Aside from his mother and a few others, pretty much every citizen of Salem takes pride is scaring, insulting, and otherwise terrorizing Hubie for no real reason besides they can.
  • Context-Sensitive Button: Hubie’s thermos always has the exact tool he needs in any situation at the ready! Except for, as he ponders while lost in the corn maze, a compass.
  • Cool Teacher: Ms. Taylor publicly shames bullies and laughingly condones food being thrown at a guest speaker.
    Cooky: I feel bad for him.
    Ms. Taylor: Nah baby, he overstayed his welcome.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Hubie's mother kidnapped Deli Mike Mundi, Landolfa, and the Hennesseys and intends to burn them at the stake because they bullied Hubie. Hubie himself points out this is a bit extreme.
  • Distant Finale: The final scene jumps one year into the future where Hubie and Violet are happily married, they provide a loving home for the foster children who love and admire them, Tommy and Megan have forged a happy, lasting relationship, Sgt. Downey has become Amicable Exes with Violet, and Hubie has earned the respect of the town, even being elected mayor.
  • Dung Fu: The O’Doyle gang chases Hubie on their bikes and hurl flaming bags of dog poo at him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Hubie's mom may be an attempted mass murderer, but she does love her son and just wants the best for him.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Hubie, Steve, and Violet were classmates growing up.
  • Evil Old Folks: Played with. While Hubie's mom does have good intentions, she still has no problem trying to murder several people over messing with her son.
  • Expy: DJ Aurora is basically a comical version of "The DJ" played by Lynne Thigpen.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Attempted with Hubie’s Halloween safety rules, “G.H.O.S.T”. He doesn't get beyond “G”.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Hubie's swiss army thermos is nothing short of a mechanical miracle.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Violet admires Hubie’s sense of kindness and obviously is harboring feelings for him. in the epilogue, they have become Happily Married.
  • Hammerspace: Hubie’s thermos holds an impossible number of tools inside of it including a full sized umbrella while still being a fully functional container for soup.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Hubie’s mother incorrectly assumes the word boner on her “Boner Donor” t-shirt is using the more archaic meaning of “a mistake.” She is incorrect and it causes some embarrassment for Hubie later on when he uses the word in a room of teenagers.
  • Henpecked Husband: Lester really does seem genuine in his attempts to rekindle his marriage. His wife meets his efforts with scorn.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Walter Lambert and Richie Hartman. Richie cares enough to break out of the mental hospital to fetch Walter out of concern for his wellbeing.
    Sgt. Blake: It’s actually kind of sweet.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Apparently Hubie’s father was one of his worst bullies growing up.
    Hubie’s Mom: Who was it that chased you around the yard with a tennis racquet?
    Hubie: That was Dad.
  • Hope Spot: Landolfa seems to be genuinely apologizing to Hubie for his behavior, citing his father’s sudden death as reason. He uses the opportunity to push Hubie into his open grave.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Of course kidnappings, werewolves and escaped mental patients all happen on Halloween.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: We are in Salem, Massachusetts, so it could only be Halloween.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Steve doesn't like Hubie and is willing to trick him just to get the guy out of his hair, but he's a dedicated police officer who wants to keep the town safe and is willing to listen to Hubie whenever he alerts him to a real police concern.
  • Jump Scare: Hubie scares extremely easily, making this tactic a favorite of his tormentors.
  • Karma Houdini: Hubie’s mother, despite attempting mass murder, escapes quite easily, considering she’s an old woman on foot. At the end, she’s still at large after a year.
  • Kavorka Man: Hubie isn't a looker and has No Social Skills whatsoever. Somehow Violet has been in love with him since first grade.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Aurora does not look like Hubie pictured. His wife is even more of a shock.
  • Logo Joke: The golf ball in the Happy Madison logo at the beginning has been replaced with a jack-o-lantern.
  • Look Behind You: Hubie’s “Frankenstein!” trick. Seems to run in the family too, as Hubie’s mother also pulls this off to get away from the police when she’s nearly arrested for almost burning Hubie’s bullies at the stake.
  • Malevolent Masked Man:
    • Subverted. We find out that a lunatic escaped from the asylum, and later see a mysterious man put on a pig mask before we can see his face. We then see this person standing in various places ominously. This person turns out to be Walter's roommate at the asylum, who doesn't mean any harm, but is just trying to find Walter and make sure he's okay.
    • The kidnapper is initially shown from a first person view, with the camera being blocked by a jagged mask hole. We find out later that this is because the kidnapper was wearing a jack-o-lantern mask to disguise herself, although we never actually see her wearing it outside of the first person shots.
  • Mama Bear: Hubie’s mother is very concerned about how the town treats her son. She would even go to committing murder to make his torment stop.
  • Manchild: In classic Adam Sandler style, Hubie is childlike and naive. He leans toward the innocent side like Bobby Bouchet rather than the jerkass kind like Billy Madison.
  • Nerdy Inhaler: Hubie removes an inhaler from his all-purpose thermos when he is offered a dream opportunity.
  • Oh, Crap!: A cat has this when Violet threatens to beat its owner with it.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Steve is one of the few people who arent outright hostile to Hubie, though he does find him annoying and tricks him into leaving him alone with a bogus undercover job. However when Hubie mentions that Mike Mundie was abducted he doesn't believe him, but still takes it seriously enough to check in with his mother to confirm he never made it home. The Mayor fails to take this seriously.
  • Red Herring:
    • The film seems to be setting up that Walter is the escaped psychiatric patient Richie Hartman who has been going around wearing the mask and is kidnapping the townspeople. Turns out that while he did break out of the hospital, he's not Richie Hartman, the person in the mask is someone else entirely and he didn't kidnap anyone.
    • Meanwhile, it turns out the man in the mask is the real Richie Hartman, but he actually broke out because he's Walter's roommate at the hospital and just wanted to convince him to return. He didn't harm anyone either and once he finds Walter they immediately turn themselves in. The kidnapper is actually Hubie's mom.
    • Violet’s affection for Hubie becomes increasingly unsettling throughout the film, causing them to think she is the killer taking out people who mistreated him. When they try to catch her in a confession, they learn the killer’s phone is GPS locating back at Hubie’s house.
    • The violent death of Peanut the Pig is set up as one the first signs that something is wrong. At the end, it doesn’t relate to anything else that has happened. Walter just got the munchies while in “werewolf” form.
  • Running Gag:
    • The items Hubie has thrown at him start normal enough with eggs, fruit, and trash. Throughout the night they become increasingly dangerous and ridiculous including cinder blocks, a tuba, and a flaming spear.
    • Hubie successfully distracts people and runs away multiple times by pointing behind them and shouting “Frankenstein!”
    • The thrift store shirts that Hubie’s mom and her friend Mrs. Banerjee wear throughout film. Neither are wise to the fact that they are very dirty slogans.
    • Hubie’s ability to pull any tool he needs at the exact right moment from his Swiss Army Thermos.
    • Hubie frightens very easily and the town bullies use it as their own running gag. He’s even scared by a talking Halloween decoration in his own house that he knows is there (Hubie’s mom: Did that skeleton scare you again?). He freaks out so bad in a haunted house that the actors drop character to assure him it is all pretend.
  • Salem Is Witch Country: The film takes place in Salem on Halloween and accurately portrays how the town plays up its association with witchcraft.
  • Save the Villain: Though they're not exactly villains, Hubie doesn't hesitate to rescue his tormentors from his mom's wrath, even if they were rather ungrateful afterwards.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Most of the younger women in town choose to be Harley Quinn for Halloween, including the entire news team. One points out the trope citing Halloween as they only day you can show your ex what he is missing.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The escaped inmate plot is a parody of Halloween (1978).
    • DJ Aurora is a smooth talking radio host who's only shown from their mouth.
    • The Hennesseys point Hubie to a suspicious “old-timely” car which chases him down ala Christine.
    • The mayor who refuses to shut down Salem on Halloween for fear of hurting the economy wears the same suit as the mayor who refused to shut down Amity on the Fourth of July for fear of hurting the economy. He also lifts a direct quote saying that “80% of tourist dollars are spent in this town” on the specific holiday.
    • One of Hubie’s numerous reports to the police is that he heard something in the sewer.
    • Steve Buscemi is a werewolf.
    • The gang of boys chase down Hubie while wearing Ghost Face masks.
    • Hubie catches eggs thrown at him in his thermos, shakes it up, and drinks it. He comments that it is Rocky Balboa style.
    • There are many references to past Adam Sandler/Happy Madison films:
      • The leader of the boys who bully Hubie is named Adam O'Doyle, the same name as the bully family from Billy Madison and the neighbours from Click.
      • Hal is no longer working at the senior center from Happy Gilmore. He’s now an orderly for a psychiatric hospital. His bedside manner has not improved.
      • At the end of the food fight, Hubie is beaned in the head with a dodgeball. During the gag-reel, he catches the ball and says his famous line from Billy Madison.
  • Slasher Smile: Hubie’s mother sports one when Hubie enters the house and realizes she is the kidnapper.
  • Struggling Single Mother: Violet’s money problems have become steadily worse since her divorce. She has creditors hounding her on the phone, is in danger of losing her house, and has no choice but to pull a double shift on a holiday instead of spending it with her kids. She also saves money by making their Halloween costumes from tin foil.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: or rather, thermos. Hubie’s thermos has an array of tools built into it including a flashlight, power screwdriver, and umbrella. All while holding delicious soup.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Aside from Tommy and Megan, Hubie regularly gets harassed and bullied by the town's teenagers, to the point he keeps supplies on his person to mitigate their pranks and escape.
  • Toilet Humor: Being an Adam Sandler movie, these slip in. Although it is significantly reduced from his normal.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After Hubie saves his four primary tormentors, all of them see the error of their ways (albeit after being called out by his mom) and treat him with respect and affection. Considering he’s seen elected as mayor a year later this seemingly extends to the rest of the town as well. Even the O’Doyle gang only engages in lighthearted teasing which Hubie returns in a friendly manner.
  • Tourism-Derailing Event: Played for Laughs. Hubie works hard to convince the sheriff that there is actually something wrong going on in the town during Halloween night. The sheriff finally believes him and tries to shut things down, but is rebuffed by the mayor. The film is set in Salem, so naturally Halloween is a huge event.
    Mayor: Seventy-five percent of our annual tourism dollars are made on this night! We're not shutting things down. Trick or treat, smell my feet!
    Sheriff: But...
    Mayor: Trick or treat, smell my feet!
    Sheriff: But...
    Mayor: Smell my feet.
    Sheriff: (Long pause) Do you really want me to smell your feet?
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Hubie saves a cat from being run over. His owner’s response is to yell at Hubie to give back her cat. She then proceeds to mock him.
    • Hubie brings Halloween word searches for the kids waiting in line at the museum. The docent trashes them the instant she walks away.
    • The bullies can’t stop themselves from dumping on Hubie even as they are begging him to rescue them from being set on fire. The only one who even bothers to thank him is Micheal Mundi and even then he still can’t resist calling him “Pubie” (albeit by accident).
  • Unnamed Parent: Even in the credits Hubie’s mom is only referrer to as “Hubie’s Mom”.
  • Villain Has a Point: Hubie’s mom is absolutely right about the treatment Hubie receives, and, while they certainly don’t deserve to be murdered for it, that the victims don't deserve to be rescued by him, seeing as they can’t even stop dumping on him while begging him to save their lives. Hubie even takes pause to reflect on their constant bullying while his mother lights the match. He ultimately decides to save them anyway.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Hubie projective vomits after drinking the eggs thrown at him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The mysterious kidnapper is actually Hubie's mother, who plans to burn some of Hubie's tormenters to death to teach everyone what happens when they mess with her son. She only wants the best for Hubie.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Discussed in universe. When all is revealed, Sgt. Blake wonders how the killing of Peanut the Pig fit into any of this. Walter then admits he had gotten the late night munchies.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • Tommy and Megan don't have any particular reason to find Hubie in the corn maze and tell him the missing child is a prank. They just do it because it's the right thing to do.
    • Hubie can just stand back and watch his bullies burn and say he wasn’t able to help them. He chooses to save them.
  • Wild Teen Party: Hubie crashes a costume party held by the town’s high schoolers. At first the kids are merely annoyed. They turn on him when he starts dumping out their alcohol and lecturing them about good choices.
  • World of Jerkass: The entire town of Salem. Almost everyone, even the nicest among them, takes great pleasure in making Hubie's life a living hell simply because they can. Thankfully, they do treat him nicer by the end of the movie, even electing him mayor.