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Hocus Pocus

1993 "It's just a bunch of Hocus Pocus."
6.9| 1h36m| PG| en| More Info
Released: 16 July 1993 Released
Producted By: Walt Disney Pictures
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Budget: 0
Revenue: 0
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Synopsis

After 300 years of slumber, three sister witches are accidentally resurrected in Salem on Halloween night, and it is up to three kids and their newfound feline friend to put an end to the witches' reign of terror once and for all.

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FilmBuff1994 Hocus Pocus is a good movie with a reasonably well developed plot and a talented cast. It is a very enjoyable family Halloween film that has a few thrills, but nothing that would be too much for a younger audience. The highlight is without a doubt Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as the three witches. They are all unrecognizable and have a great presence in their respective roles. It does become a little far fetched at times. Though it is obviously a kids fantasy film, as an audience, we are expected to stretch our disbeliefs an awful lot after awhile, as the plot gets a lot more convoluted and adds too many elements. The more dramatic moments in the film also fall very flat. The moments where they try to add depth to the characters or a bit more humanity to them simply do not work, they just come across as cringey, and the film would have been better iff without them. Reasonable fun. Enjoyable, but forgettable, Hocus Pocus is a nice watch for the family, but do not go out of your way to see it.Three witch sisters are resurrected and begin haunting a small town. Best Performance: Bette Midler
jaredpahl In the years since its release in 1993, thanks to annual showings on television, Hocus Pocus has become something of a Halloween classic. I didn't grow up with the movie, and I don't think it is an especially well-crafted work, so I can't necessarily vouch for Hocus Pocus' "classic" status, but what I can vouch for is the movie's wholesome family spirit. This is a lovable little movie, the kind that renders any faults moot by the sheer charm of the production. I guess it's not a very good film, but its black magic worked on me.I'll keep the summary short. Three witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts and they wreak havoc on Halloween night. A small band of kids try to stop them. That's really all the plot you need to know. What's important to consider is that the movie takes place on Halloween, and it makes the most of that setting. I've always had a soft spot for Halloween and Halloween-related accoutrement: Monsters, ghouls, jack-o-lanterns, and the like. So Hocus Pocus appeals to me on the basis of simply being about the holiday, and relishing in the spirit of Halloween. It is also one of the few Halloween movies to capture that specific "spooky, but not scary" feeling Halloween night had as a kid. For someone who has long outgrown trick-or-treating, it's an inviting bit of nostalgia.Let's talk about the cast. Has there ever been a more likable bunch of actresses than the three witches here? Midler, Parker, and Najimy show no pretenses. They are just out there goofing around and having fun. Their performances aren't anything special, of course, but you can't tell me they didn't add more than their share of cute energy to the proceedings. Speaking of cute energy, I have to give a special shoutout to Thora Birch as the young sister, who gushes with charm. She's the heart of the movie, she's got screen presence, and she's a good little actress.Not everyone will see Hocus Pocus the way I do. I have a pesky habit of rooting for movies because they are silly and innocent, rather than in spite of. Others find that sort of thing unbearable. In this case, Hocus Pocus has two things that distract me from its formulaic, kids- save-the-day plot: A lovable cast, and Halloween spirit. As dumb as it is, I still get the urge to revisit it every October. You could say I fell under its spell.66/100
jfgibson73 I didn't like this movie at all. It felt more like an episode of Power Rangers than a Halloween classic. One problem I have with most of the Disney Channel movies is that they follow a very small group of characters around, trying to deal with whatever problem for just long enough to fill a feature length running time. They end up feeling very insular and formulaic, like the Hardy Boys mysteries that all had about the same number of pages in them. Hocus Pocus had a few good ideas, but no one was interested in developing the story further than a basic repetitive chase sequence. The performances were terrible. The three leads--the witch sisters-- should have been fun, over-the-top characters, but without the right direction, they didn't find the right tone. It's too embarrassingly silly for anyone over 8, but also a little scary and graphic for very young children--and did they have to mention that the protagonist was a virgin so many times? You make a movie that's too stupid for almost any age, then throw in concepts that are inappropriate for your already limited audience? Disney's main feature studios are extremely good at developing scripts that can be enjoyed by all ages, but the other arms of the company just seem to churn out junk like this quickly.
jmcd2007 I always make an effort to watch this film every Halloween, and it never disappoints! If you like Halloween films that are more comedic than scary, then this film is for you. It's fun for the whole family, really! The main plot of the film revolves around the Sanderson sisters, Winifred, Mary, and Sarah, who were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts in 1693 for the "spiritual" and untimely death of Emily Binx (the witches literally sucked the "youth" out of her), sister of Thackery Binx, who was later cursed by the sisters to eternally live as a feline after attempts to save his sister from the witches, failed. However, before their deaths, the witches cast out a spell which will resurrect them once a virgin lights the "black flamed candle" on Halloween night. Once the sisters are hung in front of the whole town, Thackery Binx ends up guarding the Sanderson sisters home for the next 300 years. However, on October 31, 1993, the witches are brought back to life after a curious virgin, Max Dennison, lights the black flamed candle in the witches former residence. Upon doing so, all three witches immediately come back to life, astounded at how much has changed in the world since they were last alive. After Max, his younger sister Dani, and his girlfriend from school, Allison, flee from the cottage after meeting Binx the cat and stealing the witches unique spell book with a moving eye, the Sanderson sisters, after being sprayed with water from the sprinkler system in their home, which was later converted into a museum for historical purposes, then come to the realization that the water is harmless and that the spell they cast only calls for them to be alive on that Halloween night. Knowing this information, the sisters then go on a hunt for their stolen book and the kids that have it. Mayhem ensues as they attempt, and fail, to capture the kids throughout the film. The sisters are then lured into a high school, where they are tricked into an incinerator, burned up and reduced to smoke. However, they survive and return home. Later on, Max and Allison eventually end up opening the spell book to see what's inside. By doing so, a strong green light emits from it, which immediately alerts the witches of its whereabouts. Knowing this information, the witches travel to Max's house, retrieve the book and kidnap Dani and Binx. In response to this, Max and Allison slowly make their way, by car, to the Sanderson's cottage due to all of the children in the street thanks to Sarah's hypnotizing song. Upon their arrival, Max then tricks the sisters into thinking that the sun is coming up using the headlights of their Ford Explorer, with Max jokingly referring to it as "daylight savings time." They all then make a break for the cemetery, where they run into Billy Butcherson, who is a former deceased and mummified lover of Winnie, and who was also poisoned by her after having an affair with Sarah. Billy unwillingly follows Winnie's orders to go after the kids, only to ignore her as time goes on. Dani is later captured by Winnie again, and at that point, Max manages to steal the potion from Winnie, which was only enough for one child after Max tipped over and spoiled most of the potion earlier in the film. In any case, Max then threatens to smash the bottle in an effort to let his sister live. Winnie then threatens to kill Dani in return. Max then drinks the potion himself, which causes her to let go of Dani and pick up Max, who puts up more of a struggle. However, Max then manages to knock Winnie off of her broom, with her other two sisters following suit. Because the cemetery is hallowed ground, the witches turn to stone, with the sun rising not long after, and their statues explode into dust. After their battle is won, Billy returns to his grave, once again entering into eternal rest, and because the witches are gone, the spell on Binx is rescinded, who therefore dies. Binx then re-emerges in spirit with his sister Emily, thanking them for what they have done. After many years of being apart, Binx and Emily then walk off together into eternal life.Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy all put on a fine performance in this film and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of family friendly Halloween films.