October 4, 2002 – The Disney Channel Original Movie The Scream Team Premieres
“If you see ‘em coming you better start running with the Scream Team.”
On October 4, 2002, the Disney Channel Original Movie The Scream Team premiered. It was written by Robert Short and Daniel Berendsen, and directed by Stuart Gillard. It starred Mark Rendall as Ian, Kat Dennings as Claire, Robert Bockstael as Richard, Eric Idle as Coffin Ed, Tommy Davidson as Jumper, Kathy Najimy as Mariah, Kim Coates as Zachariah Kull, Gary Reineke as Frank, and Nigel Bennett as Warner.
Some ghosts are searching for someone who’s only be dead for six hours, but they hide when they hear someone coming. Siblings Ian and Claire Carlyle are watching a home movie of them helping their grandfather create a revolutionary pumpkin carver, revealing that they are at his funeral. Their father Richard joins them, although he isn’t happy about their choice of film to watch. The relationship between Richard and his father Frank wasn’t exactly the warmest one. As Clair and Ian and Ian are told to mingle, Claire catches someone going through her grandfather’s library, and he introduces himself as Warner MacDonald before giving her a flier to the Zachariah Kull Halloween Festival. Later, Ian overhears his father telling guests that he will put his grandfather’s house up for sale first thing in the morning, throwing out everything inside. Hurt, Ian heads to the basement to fiddle with his grandfather’s inventions, when they start to go off one by one, and he hears his name being called mysteriously. Soon after, his father appears to see if he’s okay, but Ian gets mad when he keeps calling it junk, and refuses to let his father throw it in the dumpster. Richard is actually jealous that Ian was so close to Frank, as he was considered “in the way” as a kid.
Later, after an admittedly disastrous dinner Claire cooked, the family finds the flier to the Halloween Fair, and Richard recommends that the kids should go. Richard explains that Zachariah Kull is a local spook: legend has it that he burned down his house with his young bride still inside. After condemning him to be burned to death at the stake for the murder, the courthouse burned to the ground, and he spends his days seeking his revenge. That night, Ian sleeps in his grandfather’s old room, although he is woken up by strange noises and the bed shaking. Ian calls out for his dad, but his dad reveals that Claire was under his bed, spooking him on purpose. After he goes to sleep again, more mysterious sounds start, with several important books falling on the floor, and the closet door opens to reveal the ghost of his grandfather, who disappears down the steps of the house. Ian thinks that Frank is trying to send a message, but Patrick is unconvinced.
As Claire retrieves the books the next day to return them to the library, she finds a strange box with Frank’s initials, but forgets about it as she takes the books out. The family heads into town, and are stopped by Warner, who wants to find the library books they just returned, but Claire refuses to answer. She finds the box again, and opens it to find mementos of Patrick’s childhood, which she hides before Patrick can see it. Ian then decides to use the old vacuum cleaner he and Frank created to try and capture ghosts. He spies the ghost float around the house that night, and uses a jar to capture it. He shows it to Claire, who screams. Another ghost appears, who asks for the jar back. He tries to scare them, although Ian is more impressed by the ghost’s antics than scared. He tries to capture the other ghost with the vacuum, but escapes and runs off the property, with Claire and Ian chasing him.
They lose the ghost, but realize that they are congregating in one area, so they head in that direction. They find the ruins of a castle, which is revealed to a Soul Retrieval Center for North America Zone 6. Ian decides to head inside, and the ghost, named Coffin Ed, heads to his boss, a ghost named Mariah, and informs her of the intruders. She is furious that the living found them, and takes the jar back from Ian, releasing the ghost named Jumper. Jumper explains that he and Coffin Ed are the Soul Patrol, and this is the place where people cross over to the afterlife when they die. Ian makes a deal with Mariah: they’ll help their grandfather cross over, so long as he has the chance to do the one thing that’s keeping him there. Mariah agrees, and the two quickly head home. The next day, they decide to search for their grandfather, and are excited when they are given another chance to talk with him. Unfortunately, their reunion is cut shore when the ghost of Zachariah Kull appears in their fireplace and captures Frank.
Zachariah gets stronger after taking Frank, and tries to set the house on fire before he leaves. They are able to extinguish the fire, but their father is angry, thinking they were acting out. The kids flee the house and head to the Soul Center, and inform the Soul Patrol that Zachariah Kull stole their grandfather. Jumper reveals that Zachariah steals life forces from ghosts, and the kids are furious that Mariah refuses to help them retrieve their grandfather. Jumper convinces Coffin Ed to stop Zachariah, and they join forces with the kids to retrieve their grandfather. They head to the old mine where he supposedly holes up, and find him in the middle of the shaft, powering up. Ian sets up the old vacuum cleaner, and is almost able to capture him, but he escapes when the machine malfunctions, but after kicking it, they are able to capture him again. The machine breaks, and Claire is accidentally thrown into the cavern where Zachariah keeps the souls.
Jumper goes to attack Zachariah while Ian helps to pull Claire out, but Zachariah steals Jumper’s life force. Coffin Ed is upset that Jumper was captured, but when the kids get out of the mine, the police are there waiting for them. The mine apparently was closed because of natural gas leaks, and their furious father decides to take the two back to Boston first thing in the morning. The kids try to explain to their father what happened, but he doesn’t believe them. They find a fire outside of their property, which turns into a message: stay away. The next morning, their father postpones the trip back to Boston, and they head out with Coffin Ed to capture Zachariah. Claire realizes that Zachariah had been experimenting with natural gas when he was alive, and confirms this when she finds a pipe at his old property. The kids head to the library to see old newspapers from the time period, but find that Warner stole the books. They head to Warner’s house to steal the books back, with help from Coffin Ed, but Warner arrives home before they have time to find the books. Warner is aware that his kids are there, but when Patrick arrives to talk to Warner, Warner accuses Patrick of helping his kids steal the books.
When the kids get home, their father tells him that he knew of their crime, but offers to help them out, although, he warns them, they are still in a lot of trouble. After doing research, Claire realizes that Zachariah was wrongly accused of killing his wife: his research into creating a well for natural gas blew up, exploding his house and killing his wife. Ian is furious that they’re not taking any action, and heads to the Soul Center. Mariah refuses to help him, especially since her freedom is on the line. Ian convinces Mariah to go by saying she’d be a hero if she went to rescue the lost souls. Back at the house, Claire and Patrick realize that Zachariah never got a trial, and he’d be able to cross over once people realized the truth. They also realize that Warner wants to prevent the truth from coming out as well, otherwise their local legend will be gone. Claire and Patrick head to the festival, where they demand that Warner tell the truth about Zachariah. Warner says that Zachariah Kull is the perfect villain, and to prevent the truth, he burns the books.
Ian heads back to the mine to stop Zachariah, along with Coffin Ed and Mariah. While Mariah is able to attack him, Zachariah is able to attack them thanks to Jumper’s life force. Back at the festival, Zachariah’s spirit appears, ready to seek vengeance on the inhabitants of the town. Warner is frightened and apologizes, but Zachariah doesn’t accept his apology lightly. Claire convinces Zachariah to think of his wife Rebecca, and he decides to let his pain and anger go so he can join Rebecca on the other side. With his crossing over, the souls are freed, and they all head to the Soul Center. The family heads home to find Frank in their living room, who is given his chance to finish his business: telling his son how proud he is of him. He wanted Patrick to get out of town and use his intelligence for the world. Patrick and Frank spend a few hours catching up and having their last conversation. Back at the Soul Center, Mariah returns from the other side, angered that her posting has been extended indefinitely, thanks to the spectacle of revealing that there is an afterlife. Patrick decides to stay in town, opening up a medical practice. Ian continues to work on the pumpkin carver, with Coffin Ed watching over the family.