Movie Review- Hocus Pocus

Hi Folks,


So it’s Tuesday now, which brings us to our final Toss Up film of the Shocktober season and today we’re doing something a little different even for Tuesday. We’ll be doing one for the little ones in all of us; straight out of the kids section:




Hocus Pocus


Fast Facts


Made in 1993 and directed by Kenny Ortega under the banner of the great and terrible Horror factory; The Disney Corporation. Hocus Pocus is one of my favorite childhood movies and a perennial view this time of year. Because as much as Halloween is about scaring the crap out of yourself for your own amusement, sometimes you want to remember just how cool this holiday was even before you could get into a PG-13 movie on your own.




Hocus Pocus is about a teenager who moves to Salem Massachussetts (where Halloween is clearly a big fuckin’ deal) and unwittingly brings back to life the three witches from Salem’s past who were actually witches and not wrongly accused by a prepubescent lynch mob.


They were in fact trying to suck the souls out of little children in a bid for immortality as opposed to y’know just farming, sewing and minding their own fucking business.


Anyway now that they’re back the plan is set back in motion and our intrepid heroes have to keep them from succeeding long enough for the sun to come up and make them very dead again. Classic Disney!





He's wearing tie dye...

Omri Katz- Plays Max our primary hero, we know this because he’s an unhappy teenager who has yet to learn the importance of family.


Aww...she used to be cute

Thora Birch- Yup she plays his little sister, since Thora Birch was in fact little in 1993. Dani is actually the best actor of the three kids.

I could never figure out why I liked her so much...


Vinessa Shaw- Plays Allison Max’s love interest and local who knows how to handle the witches, being from Salem and all…it’s part of the curriculum starting in first grade.


Self loathing really

Doug Jones- Yes that Doug Jones, Guillermo del Toro’s designated creeper is here to be Billy Butcherson a friendly zombie, yes you read that correctly.


Nice accent

Sean Murray- Yes let NCIS geeks rejoice McGee was a child actor, this particular time he was playing a cat so you know don’t get your hopes up for seeing him longer than ten minutes or so.


Long Island just had a heart attack

Bette Midler- The Divine Miss M rules the roost as Winifred Sanderson, the admittedly little brains behind the Witch’s plot. Don’t worry folks they found an excuse for her to sing. As always her comedic timing is amazing.


Fashion forward even then

Sarah Jessica Parker- Sarah Sanderson the ‘hot’ member of the coven, before her Sex and the City days, she’s actually hysterical in this movie and steals a few scenes which is impressive when you consider the competition.


Seriously will you be my friend?

Kathy Najimy- Plays Mary Sanderson, I just have to say- there is nothing NOTHING I don’t like about Kathy Najimy. She is one of the best comedic actresses of the last twenty years and as usual is nothing short of piss your pants funny in this.





Hocus Pocus is a kids movie, it’s not horror, it’s intent is to give young children a few soft toss scares and the entire audience a whole lot of laughs.


That being said I was about 8 when this came out and their were a handful of scenes that gave me the creeps.



  1. The Opening


Now while even this is pretty darn funny in places:


Winnie: (to angry mob) We are but three kindly old spinster ladies…


Mary: Spending a quiet evening at home…


Sarah: Sucking the lives out of little children!


(Bart Simpson strangle)


The fact of the matter is we see the three witches bite off the tips of there tongues and spit them in a cauldron (it’s not graphic by any means but it still makes you cringe) and then proceed to feed the contents of that cauldron to a seven year old girl.



When they then kill said seven year old girl to make themselves young again (again not graphic they’re essentially inhaling CGI vapor and then the kid slumps forward) I think we can all agree the Brothers Grimm would have been damn proud.


And this just got very dark


  1. Dance until you die.


This one isn’t entirely creepy at the target age but the excuse they’ve found for Bette to strut her stuff is in retrospect (and for particularly precocious viewers) kind of awful.


The music however is awesome

She essentially enchants every grown up who could possibly help our little witch hunters into dancing until they die of exhaustion. That isn’t exactly quick and painless; if Lionsgate were in charge of this thing you’d have bloody high heel nightmares for weeks.



  1. Pied Piper


Apparently Sarah Jessica Parker is alluring to small children.  So when the three are ready to try to reenact their original atrocity on every kid in town they send her out to lure them in with song.


It can't always be you Bette

It’s morbidly creepy in a highly Fairy Tale way (also in a lowly stranger danger way) and while of course our heroes would never allow this there is a legitimate creep factor here.



Also electrocution isn't fun.



Now those three scenes aside; essentially what this movie is, is Midler, Parker and Najimy doing their best Three Stooges impersonation in witch makeup. There is no end to the shtick.


And we love every minute of it

Also there’s some Disney BS about being a good sibling and courage in the face of evil and responsibility, whatever. I want to see Kathy Najimy ride a vacuum cleaner again.



Final Thoughts


Hocus Pocus is a great family friendly option for post Trick or Treating, pre bedtime due to inevitable diabetic coma fun. The kids will get a little scared and everyone will have a good laugh. It’s win, win all the way around.


You think he'd play Wall Cat in Fright Dyke the movie?


All in all (for what it is) 9 out of 10



Your nostalgic Screamstress,



~Fright Dyke




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