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Read this before you see Hubie Halloween

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

Hubie Dubois loves Halloween. Too bad it doesn't love him back.

As a lifelong resident of Salem, Massachusetts, the home of the infamous Salem witch trials, Hubie has devoted his life to one purpose: making sure his neighbors have a safe and happy Halloween each and every year. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done. Hubie's a well-meaning guy, but his naivety and cowardice make him an easy target for bullies, especially when his favorite holiday rolls around. Whether you're a teen or an adult, picking on Hubie Dubois is a time-honored Salem tradition.

This year, however, things are a little different. While Hubie is out keeping the streets safe for trick-or-treaters, people start to go missing. A mental hospital patient and former Salem resident has escaped, and authorities believe he's on his way home. Hubie's kindly new neighbor is acting very suspicious, and Hubie's determined to figure out what he's hiding. All that, and Hubie's also recently reunited with his childhood crush, who just may have a big secret of her own.

Basically, Hubie Halloween is a horror movie filtered through a Happy Madison lens, and if you enjoy Adam Sandler's other comedies, you're going to find a lot to love here: a sweet and earnest main character, plenty of slapstick, lots of offbeat jokes, and more cameos from comedy legends than you can count. Hubie Halloween is a spooky, creative spin on the normal Sandler formula. If you're looking to get hyped for Halloween early, you can't do any better.

A cast so good it's scary

Naturally, Adam Sandler himself plays Hubie Dubois, who is very much a return to the over-the-top roles that made him famous in the first place. In Hubie, who's breathtakingly innocent, unbelievably kind, and not all that bright, you'll find elements of Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Sandy Wexler, and The Waterboy's "Bobby" Boucher Jr., right down to a funny voice. The big difference? While many of Sandler's biggest characters are motivated by rage, Hubie is a scaredy-cat who's terrified of, well, everything. Don't worry, though: There's still plenty of screaming.

Sander is joined in Hubie Halloween by Julie Bowen, who worked with Sandler back in the Happy Gilmore days — in fact, that movie is her second big-screen credit — and went on to score six Emmy nominations, including two wins, for her work as Claire Dunphy on Modern Family. In Hubie Halloween, she plays Hubie's high-school crush Vickie Valentine, the only person in Salem who treats him with respect.

Well, the only person besides Hubie's supportive and loving mother, who's portrayed by June Squibb. This is a pretty different role than what you've seen Squibb play before — she's is best known for her part in Alexander Payne's Nebraska, which earned her an Oscar nomination — but while sharing the screen with comedy legends like Bowen and Sandler, she doesn't miss a step.

Sandler's good buddy and part-time mall cop Kevin James gets in on the fun as Vickie's ex-husband, the Salem police sergeant Steve Downing. Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers on Stranger Things, brings some youthful energy to the cast as Vickie's foster son Tommy, while Alexa & Katie star Paris Berelc appears as his new girlfriend, Megan. Finally, the goodfella himself Ray Liotta has a sizable role in Hubie Halloween as Mr. Landolfa, one of Hubie's most relentless tormentors.

Keeping it all in the Happy Madison family

That's already a stacked cast list, but it only contains a fraction of the famous faces who show up in Hubie Halloween. Over the years, Sandler has transformed a number of his funniest friends into regular collaborators, and you'll find pretty much all of them in Hubie Halloween — plus a few more.

To start, Steve Buscemi has a significant amount of screentime in Hubie Halloween, where he plays Walter Lambert, Hubie's friendly new neighbor. Rob Schneider, who's one of Sandler's most reliable co-stars, is unrecognizable as escaped mental patient Richie Hartman. Prolific funnyman Tim Meadows pops up as Lester Hennesey, another one of Hubie's nemeses, while another SNL alum, Maya Rudolph, appears as his condescending wife. Meanwhile, The Shield's Michael Chiklis plays Salem's resident preacher, comedian George Wallace plays its mayor, and Kenan Thompson plays one of its other police officers.

But wait. It continues. Hubie Halloween also features cameos by Ben Stiller, Colin Quinn, current SNL cast members Melissa Villaseñor and Mikey Day, and, in one of the film's best gags, Shaquille O'Neal. Trust us, you won't see it coming.

Frankly, if you like comedy, that's an embarrassment of riches, and somehow Hubie Halloween manages to give every single member of its cast at least one big laugh. Sandler is clearly the star, but never fear. Hubie Halloween has enough funny to go around.

The man keeping the madness under control

With a cast that big, you might think that Hubie Halloween's director would have his work cut out for him. Thankfully, Steven Brill has been doing this kind of thing for decades. If you're a '90s kid, you've definitely seen Brill's work before. Not only did Brill write the Disney sports comedy The Mighty Ducks, but he co-wrote (with Sandler's former roommate and current comedy juggernaut Judd Apatow) and directed the cult classic kids comedy Heavyweights, which stars Ben Stiller as an abusive fitness coach who buys a weight loss camp for kids.

Brill also has tons of experience working with Sandler and the rest of the Happy Madison crew. In 2000, he directed Sandler's devilish comedy Little Nicky, in which Sandler plays one of Satan's children, and has since re-teamed with the comedian on Mr. Deeds, The Do-Over, and Sandy Wexler. At this point, they work well together, and you can tell. Hubie Halloween has an easy, relaxed energy that compliments Sandler's style, but also keeps the pace up, making sure none of the gags wear out their welcome. It's the best of both worlds.

Hubie Halloween's co-writer, Tim Herlihy, is also well familiar with Sandler's oeuvre. In addition to his 134-episode stint on Saturday Night Live, which overlapped with Sandler's run for two years, he's written a number of Sandler's biggest hits, including Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Ridiculous 6, and many more. Oh, and just so you know, Hubie Halloween's other writer? None other than Sandler himself.

Welcome to Salem, hope you enjoy the experience

Obviously, Hubie Halloween takes place on Halloween, but it's not just Halloween anywhere. It's Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts, one of the most popular tourist destinations for some spooky fun, thanks to the city's bizarre and tragic history.

In 1692, three young girls in colonial Massachusetts started having seizures, during which they'd scream, contort themselves into odd positions, and utter nonsense. A 1976 study determined that the actual cause of these episodes was a dangerous fungus. In 1692, however, a doctor determined another cause: witchcraft.

Three women were blamed for the "fits," who were arrested and tried immediately. While two of the women pled innocent, the third, likely hoping to avoid a harsher sentence, "admitted" to the crime, claiming that Massachusetts was full of witches. Widespread paranoia followed.

Over the next year or so, over 200 people, mostly women, were accused of witchcraft, often by neighbors who held unfair suspicions or long-standing grudges. Twenty were found guilty during trials in Salem, and 19 were hanged (none were burned alive, despite what you've might've seen in the movies).

Hundreds of years later, Salem has leaned into its macabre history. Salem police cars are decorated with images of witches, and witches are also the Salem High School team mascot. As Hubie Halloween shows, the city has also become an extremely popular tourist destination during Halloween season. The Salem that you see in Hubie Halloween is the real thing, too. The crew filmed on location both there and in neighboring communities, bringing a little bit of Sandler-style Hollywood glamour to the city.