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Hocus Pocus (1993)

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

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A Spooktacular Ghoul's Night Out!

  • Nov 4, 2010
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 make a good impression.

When he lights the black flame candle that legend says will call the sisters back from beyond the veil of death, Max makes a huge impression on the whole town! With help only from Allison and Thackery Binx, a boy cursed into the form of an immortal black cat, can Max redeem his foolish mistake, save his sister and all of Salem from the clutches of the devious and vengeful Sandersons? It's a magical race against the dawn this All Hallows Eve!

~~~~~~~~~~~~My Thoughts~~~~~~~~~~~

This predominantly live action Disney film is great family fun anytime, but especially for Halloween. While it did not make a big splash during it's release in 1993, Hocus Pocus has gained a bit of a cult following as well as popularity over the years since, and is now a favorite feature on television during the month of October. There is some mild language. I remember a scene where one of Winnifred's unfaithful boyfriends from the past is raised as a zombie, and rather than help them in any way, he tells her to go to Hell. That's about as rough as it gets. The majority of the "adult" humor is low key though, while still managing to amuse older viewers. It is important to remember that this film is not about what is "believable", and is definitely geared to younger audiences. Yet, it is wonderfully entertaining through repeat viewings even for older audiences despite moments of predicatability or inexplicable fantasy.

The interplay between Max and his little sister, Dani, is believable and rather witty. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Dani agrees to be used as an excuse for her big brother to spend time with the girl of his dreams... on one condition. "Next year, we go trick-or-treating as Wendy and Peter Pan... with tights or it's no deal." A very young Thora Birch, then 11, played Dani as one canny negotiator! The relationship we glimpse between the boy from early Salem, Thackery, and his sister was an interesting way to show that while times, customs, and social perceptions change, some things are just universal.

Speaking of familial interaction, this film is worth viewing just for the delightfully enchanting chemistry between Bette Midler, Cathy Nagimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker who play the Sanderson sisters. Each one has their own wicked little idiosyncrasies, yet they manage to also maintain an amusingly tight sisterly harmony to the very end. There is no doubt who the headliners are in Hocus Pocus, nor is there anything quite so contagiously giddy as adults who throw themselves whole-heartily into their play. Some films suffer from dated special effects or predictable storylines, and others remind us real and enduring charm lies beyond such details. These three sisters project mischievous fun delightfully, and throw out the challenge to adult viewers... Are you ever too old to just have fun?

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November 29, 2010
One of the best films ever, a personal favorite of mine, excellent job.
November 05, 2010
awesome! I re-watched this the other night! great review!!
November 04, 2010
Ahhh, I LOVED this film growing up! I would always watch it every Halloween. Thanks for the review!
November 04, 2010
This is one of my perennial holiday favorites. Great review!
More Hocus Pocus reviews
review by . October 29, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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Quinn Blackburn ()
Ranked #125
Hello, my name is Quinn. :o) I also answer to Mom, YaYa, and occasionally Entwife. I enjoy Beauty wherever I find it... Nature, Music, Art in all its forms... I believe these to be true and sacred things … 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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