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Hocus Pocus (1993)

A 1993 Halloween film starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.

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Not At All Terrible

  • Oct 29, 2005
Although I wouldn't put "Hocus Pocus" in the same category as a lot of Disney's other live-action fare, it is a very good family flick to watch on Halloween. Most older children(six and up)can handle the "horror" sequences in this film. The acting isn't too shabby and the music is fun for the little ones.

Bette Midler turns in a modest performance as Winifred Sanderson. Kathy Najimy is okay and Sarah Jessica Parker cranks out a fun, over-the-top performance as Midler's lesser witch sisters. The story starts out three hundred years prior to the actual story where we witness the crime and punishment of the Sanderson sisters, who happen to be witches. Three hundred years later, a new kid in Salem, MA by way of Los Angeles, lights up the black flame candle and raises the three sisters back from the dead. Naturally, they wake up angry and intent on avenging their own fates by stealing the souls of youngsters in order to live forever. Standing in their way are the teen from LA, his little sis, and a local teen with eyes for the candle lighter. There's also a boy named Binx who's cursed to live forever in the form of a black cat. He helps the kids out as they try to stop the witches before sunrise. When the sun does rise, the witches will turn to dust without enough children's souls.

The special effects are okay, but they aren't the focus of the film. The action is pretty tame. One character does lose his head, but in a humorous way. His cranial loss does not lead to his death, but some kids might be turned off by a headless corpse flailing around. In a few other scenes, witches attempt to suck the soul out of children, though the successful attempt is early in the film. Other than that, everything else is pretty kid-friendly.

Throw in a few silly one-liners, three hundred year old reactions to fire trucks, Satan and his lovely wife(hilariously pulled off by Penny Marshall), and one funny zombie named Billy, and you have a pretty good family film for the scariest of nights.

The show moves at a quick pace, keeps the kiddies attention, and has a few laughs for adults as well. I recommended it to anyone who has kids between six and twelve. Older kids probably won't like this, so don't bother if you have teens.

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More Hocus Pocus reviews
review by . November 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Several centuries ago in the quiet town of Salem, the Sanderson sisters become lethally infamous for their evil ways and are hung by the town as witches. While the town still delights in tales of the sinister Sanderson sisters, no one really believes they were really evil witches. Especially the new kid in town, Max Dennison. When the lovely Allison offers to show Max and his little sister the old Sanderson museum/gift shop on Halloween night, he jumps at the chance to spend time with her, and hopefully …
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Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #17
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie


This big, fat theatrical bomb has a lot going for it. There's the three leads, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, playing three resurrected witches who wreak havoc on Salem, Massachusetts, 300 hundred years after they were hung. There's music, special effects, and magic. There's a surprisingly horror-filled plot. Whoops, hold up on that last one. It's probably the extremes that this film goes to (displaying a Disney label), such as the witches sucking the life out of a little girl in the first five minutes, that put the brakes on any success forHocus Pocus. Older children, however, in the 8 and up range should get a kick out of all the weird goings-on. It's a good measure of Halloween thrills and chills.--Keith Simanton
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Genre: Family
Release Date: 1993
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 96 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
First to Review

"Not At All Terrible"
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