Halloween Favourites: Hocus Pocus (1993)

Halloween is obviously the best night to catch up on your favourite horror movies, but it also gives you a chance to watch the spooky offerings you saw as a kid. For me one of my favourites is Hocus Pocus. Last year it celebrated its 20th Anniversary (God that makes me feel old!), and it still seems as good and funny as when it was first released. For those who haven’t watched it, Hocus Pocus focuses on the Sanderson sisters, Winifred, Mary and Sarah. We first meet them in 1963 1693 in Salem when they are hung for their evil witchcraft, but not before Winifred has cast a spell for them to return when a virgin lights the black candle on All Hallow’s Eve. Fast forward to 1993 when teenage virgin Max, tries to impress his classmate Alison by lighting the black candle. To their surprise the Sanderson sisters are real and angry, which spells trouble for Max, Alison, his younger sister Dani and all the children in Salem. Although it had negative reviews on its inital release in the US it has since become something of a cult favourite on video and DVD and is often repeated on tv around Halloween. For me it works because its funny, spooky and has a bit of darkness in it (the film starts off with the death of a child and then the hanging of three witches! Not that you see anything). Of course the main reason people love it is because the trio of villainous witches are hilarious. Bette Midler in particular seems to be thoroughly enjoying camping it up as the vain and vengeful Winifred and she works great with Kathy Najimy and a pre Sex and The City Sarah Jessica Parker. Whether its mistaking a man dressed as the devil as Satan himself, threatening to drink the life-force of children or singing their version of I Put a Spell On You, they never stop being entertaining. The children themselves (played by Vanessa Shaw, Omari Katz – from tv cult classic but short-lived series Eerie Indiana, and a young Thora Birch), are relatively bland compared to the witches, but are likeable enough that you don’t wish to feed them to the witches. Some of the special effects may be a bit dated now, and the talking cat Binx isn’t very convincing. Its also a bit weird watching a Disney film that uses the word virgin a lot and the fact Max often seems to get made fun of for it. However I always enjoy watching Hocus Pocus and find it a fun Halloween Movie for both adults and kids alike. Besides what is there to be scared about? It’s just a bit of Hocus Pocus? What scary movies did you enjoy watching as a kid? Does it still hold up now? What will you be watching this Halloween? Let me know in the comments below.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Halloween Favourites: Hocus Pocus (1993)

  1. meeradarjiyr1

    Love this film. Great review. Childhood halloween classic! Happy Halloween 🙂

  2. I love this film -I watched it this week as well. Did you mean 1693 as well?

  3. Good review!

    Each time I have seen the film, I can’t help but get a kick out of Sarah Jessica Parker. The first time I ever watched “Sex and the City” on HBO, I was like ‘wait! that’s one of the sisters from that children’s scary movie.’
    It is always great when a film still evokes the same feelings for you as it did, when you watched it so many years earlier. I am glad your re-watching of “Hocus Pocus” didn’t disappoint you.

    I haven’t thought of Eerie Indiana in years. I actually never watched the show, I just remembered the name. Was the show any good?

    A scary movie that I used to love watching as a kid is called “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Don’t quote me on this, but I believe it was also produced by Disney. I used to watch the movie with my father, of all people, who wasn’t into horror films at all, but seemed to make an exception in the case of this film, so I guess that is why it sticks out in my mind.

    I didn’t watch it this Halloween, but I am definitely going to watch it in the near future.

    • I know its weird having Carrie from Sex and The City as a witch in a children film, I love Hocus Pocus so much it’s so funny and still as good as when as I first watched it.
      Eerie Indiana was a great show, funny, smart and not afraid to be a bit dark for a kid show. Which is probably why it was cancelled!
      I don’t know if I’ve heard of ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, but I’ll have to have a look out for it.
      Thanks for commenting!

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