Hocus Pocus (1993)
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Bette Midler steals the show when the sisters crash a Halloween party, singing "I Put A Spell On You". There are many "time jokes" as well, having the 17th century sisters "confused" when they experience 20th century life: Blinded by a truck's head lights, they are convinced the sun is rising; they frantically avoid stepping on a blacktop driveway when they are told that it is "a black lake of death"; unable to find a broomstick, one of the sisters heads for the sky on a Hoover vacuum cleaner. The jokes are pretty good, and I was entertained throughout the film. I have watched "Hocus Pocus" several times already, and will watch it again and again. This is another example of a movie made for kids, but enjoyed by grown-ups as well. Recommended!
With Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker being some of my favorite actresses, I decided that this was going to be a great Halloween flick to begin with, and it certainly turned out to be, for all the three witches put smiles on my faces, and even though this movie had some humorous features without the main three women casted in the film, they really were the most enjoyable and lovable of the film and most of the reason it is as enjoyable and lovable as it is, honestly. After watching this movie, Kathy Najimy actually turned out to be my favorite character though, because she was just plain out hilarious as her ditsy self, like when she flew on a vacuum.
All the Sanderson Sisters turned out to be funny and special in their own way, and like I said, Midler, Parker and Najimy's portrayal of them is really what makes this film for me, even though the story and other characters are just as entertaining and fun. Hocus Pocus is one of the movies that people just have to see at least once if they haven't, because after they see it they will want to watch it again and again, because it really is one of my favorite movies in general, and I hope more people will discover it and view it as greatly as I do. This movie is a magnificent, entertaining, really great and laughable adventure that will leave you in awe. I recommend it to everyone.
Disney is known to openly endorse and promote the use of the Old Ways. Whether a good Witch (Bedknobs and Broomsticks) or a bad Witch (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Disney loves Magick and those who use it.
These Witches, however, are the worst kind of rabble, and while we attempt to defeat them, character development occurs. This movie is quite entertaining, however it is too dark and scary for younger audiences, and may be considered too juvenile for adults, but the older children and tweens seem to love it.
It rates an 8.7/10 from...
the Fiend :.
The three witches themselves are so well developed. Winnie is the leader, who is seriously evil, and wants to steal the lives of children to redeem her own.
Mary is the suck up of the three: She is always trying to please Winnie and make sure that Sarah doesn't ruin Winnie's happiness. She is always making sure that Winnie is please with herself and whenever she is upset, she offers Winne to allow her to hit her to see if that will make her feel better.
And finally the youngest,ditsy, spider-eating Sister Sarah. She is always getting herself side tracked. In the party when she is supposed to be looking for Max, Allison, and Danni, Winnie catches her making out with one of the boys at the party. She never has a clue and is always caught wondering what is going on the whole time, when she is turned young at the beginning her first words are "Oh boys will love me!" So in the long run this movie in my opinion will always be a Halloween classic. All the Halloween movies are either too scary, too corny, or too gory. During the Halloween season this movie is one of few movies that you'll see on TV (Besides the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown..) that doesn't involve blood and gore in it.
Of course, even goofy kid's flicks like this have new information to reveal. I had no idea that Mick Garris, veteran horror screenwriter, co-wrote this one. Nor did I know that Doug Jones, probably the most famous creature actor today, played the zombie in this. Was there any other new information waiting me? The movie actually holds up alright. The decent premise is classic horror stuff. Set in Salem, of course, the child-stealing Sarandon sisters were executed but not before doing a few things: Turning a local teen into an immortal black cat, draining his little sister's life force, and, more pressingly, placing a curse on the town. Should a virgin ever light the black candle, they will return. Of course, this happens. Recently relocated teen Max, dragging his little sister and high school crush with him, lights that candle, revives the witch sisters, and leads to a bunch of wacky antics.
The cast and characters make the film far more likable then it would have been otherwise. Bette Midler goes far over the top as lead witch Winnifred. Her make-up is cartoonish, including frizzy red hair, perpetually pursed lips, and comically exaggerated buckteeth. Midler's acting is on the same level. She hoots, hollers, squeals, and delivers every line with comic-stripe panache. Even her facial expressions and body language are calculated for goofiness. She plays off the other two sisters nicely. Sarah Jackson Parker, before everyone started calling her a horse, brings a manic energy to the part. She jumps around, repeats dialogue, and actually conveys a wacky sexiness. Kathy Najimi is similarly silly, acting like an overgrown dofus.
Much of the humor comes from typical "fish out of water" shenanigans. The witches are baffled and occasionally delighted by asphalt, a bus, TV, remotes, and the concept of Halloween. Some of this is more entertaining then others. The interaction with a horny bus driver or Garry Marshall dressed as the Devil get genuine laughs. The trio constantly being fooled by fire sprinklers or headlights proves less so. Some of the overly goofy gags prove better then others. The witches having their brooms snatched by young look-a-likes is amusing. Them jumping on mops and vacuums are the sorts of goofy, kid's movie jokes you'd hope the movie would avoid. Midler and crew deliver their frequently corny dialogue like pros, never loosing that ridiculous cartoon tone.
It's not uncommon for the kids in the kids' movies to be punch-worthy. "Hocus Pocus" mostly avoids that too. The movie's theme boils down to one of sibling love. Surprisingly, this is incorporated organically into the story. Binx, the talking cat, lost his sister and is driven by the hope of being reunited with her. Max comes to appreciate and love his sister over the course of the story. It fits in and isn't overdone. The improbably named Ormi Katz finds a decent balance between grouchy, angsty teenager and proactive protagonist. A tiny Thora Birch also comes close to annoying. Her emotional interactions with the brother and the talking cat make the character relatively real. Vanessa Shaw is lovely and shows some genuinely comedic skills as Max's love interest. Only the ridiculous bully characters overdo it.
The movie couldn't cast Bette Midler in the lead without getting her to sing. The whole movie's tone of improbable goofiness is best summed up when a three-hundred year-old witch walks on-stage and sings a choreographed song-and-dance number. Yet that's probably the most memorable moment in the film. The zombie antics, with his head and fingers getting knocked off, are nicely gruesome for a kid's flick. "Hocus Pocus" even has a moment of eerie beauty, when Parker lures the children of the town away with a siren song. The music is ethereal and the image of hundreds of kids, some still in their Halloween costumes, walking the streets at night sticks with you. The special effects don't hold up and the whole movie is a goofy trifle. As far as nineties nostalgia go? "Hocus Pocus" is one of the better examples from my childhood.
My oh my...it bought back some good memories. As sad as this is, I use to remember EVERY single word in this movie when I was a little whipper snapper, and I use to speak along with the cast! This movie sparked up those memories!! It's a classic film for anyone I would say. I love how it still makes me laugh and I love singing along to the classic numbers "I put a spell on you" and "come little children".
An awesome awesome film about 3 witches who come back to life after 300 years of being dead. If I have children when I get abit older, I will Definitely be showing this one to them as this is NOT a film to miss! And I didn't actually realise that the little girl in the movie is Thora Birch (well I did, I just didn't pay attention to the fact). She's a great actress and even then at such a young age! Just go ahead and watch it...doesn't need to be saved for halloween, it's a great film that can be watched all year round :)
The movie includes a living corpse character brought back to life from the dead: part of the humor is that his body parts keep falling off. There is a lot in this movie that might seriously freak out little children!
And then there's the running gag about the boy who is the hero being a virgin. Be prepared, if you watch this with your little kids, to be asked to explain what a "virgin" is. The local bus driver picks up the three witches, who are pretty freaky, and seems to be extremely attracted to them. When they tell him they desire children (another really frightening concept in this movie), he replies, "It could take a while, but I think I could do that for you." And witch Sarah Jessica Parker displays a lot of cleavage (who knew?!). And much more of the same type of innuendo occurs, which is more on the level of a teen movie than a kids movie. (And teenagers will say it's too "kiddish" for them.)
The movie veers back and forth between light-hearted comedy and gloomy, scary, violent scenes, in a way that turns out to be rather badly balanced. The expectation of a Disney movie doesn't prepare parents and kids for some of the contents of "Hocus Pocus". For instance, when the witches kidnap the hero's young sister from her bedroom, this is really a frightening thing for kids (and parents).
And then having to look at Bette Midler with her buck teeth, and Kathy Najimy, who appears to be continually on the verge of drooling--now that's disturbing!
Back in the time of Salem, three witches are executed, leaving enough proof of their existence and becoming the heart of the many legends in a small Northeastern town. There's nothing really scary or threatening here. Yes, the witches are back for revenge and speak of having people for dinner. However, as the lines are delivered by Midler with a twinkle in her eyes and her sisters ham it up for the camera (Najimi being more successful than Parker), the comedy is broad; the type that children will enjoy the most, and adults can be willing participants to feel like kids again.
I was mostly impressed by the quality of the production, obviously filmed in a studio, yet good enough to give the illusion of a Halloween fairy tale. You will see witches flying, some double entendre for the adults, and a hint of zombies. Just tune in, get some pop corn and enjoy a bit of magic.
This Halloween treat HOCUS POCUS (1993) has become a holiday favorite of mine having seen it for the first time marathon-ing a slew of Halloween-themed movies. While it's definitely flawed, it's funnier than 99.9% of the comedies now. Hell, let's just for the even 100! "Hocus Pocus" is the tale of 3 Salem witch siblings who were persecuted in the 17th century, but are revived 300 years later on All Hallows Eve 1993 by the opening of their book of spells by an unwitting teenager named Max (skillfully played by Omri Katz of "Dallas" fame; he played the character John Ross Ewing for the longest time frame in the original series). Katz does a commendable job carrying the "kid" portion of the film, but it's the witches themselves who steal the show!
The 3 witches are hilariously realized by Bette Midler (Winifred), Kathy Najimy (Mary), and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah). Midler, Najimy, and Parker are a laugh riot throughout, with Midler the crafty, witty, wisecracking oldest sister, Najimy the goofy middle sister, and Parker the ditzy youngest sister. I even dare say that as hilarious as Midler and Najimy were, it was Parker who stole the show perfectly playing the brainless blonde bombshell! Parker is so effortlessy ditzy and sexy in this, I'm surprised she never really played another role like this at any other time in her career. She's almost unrecognizable. Also, this is perhaps my favorite of all of Midler's comic performances. She really lets loose here as this is probably her most broad comic role. Midler also makes the best, most funny facial expressions. And Najimy's acting choice of making her character slur her speech totally works and would have sunk in the hands of a lesser comedic talent. And I love the way the 3 actresses show the symbiotic relationship of the witches and do things in sync throughout the fim.
The "kid" cast isn't half bad either. The aforementioned Katz is all in and exudes charisma as the put-upon teenage newcomer to Salem, as his family has just moved from LA to put down roots in the infamous, historical town. Katz gets great support from then-child actress and scene-stealer Thora Birch (playing Max's precocious younger sister Dani) and fashion-model-actress Vinessa Shaw (as Max's love interest Allison). Shaw is kind of the weak link among the "kids" as she is obviously more mature than Katz and it's somewhat of a stretch at times she'd be attracted to Max's clutzy, innocent character. Although it's always nice when the nerd gets the girl! Also, there are a few memorable minor characters, most notably the zombified Billy Butcherson (played memorably by Doug Jones), and also the 2 teen bullies who harass Max and steal candy from the trick-or-treaters, the bus driver who has the hots for the witches, the "cop" who doesn't believe the kids story about the witches, and none other than Garry and Penny Marshall, who play a rather creepy married couple. Also, there's Thackery the cat! Can't forget his contribution.
There are even a couple of musical numbers, as Midler gets to show off her singing prowess with a memorable number "I Put a Spell on You". Also, Parker gets to show off her singing chops with a spellbinding rendition of "Come Little Children" during the film's climax.
The movie boasts an upbeat and fast pace, nonstop laughs, and 3 iconic comic performances from Midler, Najimy, and Parker. The actresses comedic chemistry and timing is something to behold. I really enjoyed how Winifred was the brains and her younger sisters Mary and Sarah spent virtually the entire film mimicking her. It was like they were all sharing Winifred's brain! LOL I will say that the kid's storyline kind of lacked the humor when they were on their own and really amped up when they were in the presence of the 3 witches, which makes sense as the 3 actresses were noticeably more adept and skilled at comedy and comic timing than the younger ones. But, trust me, I've seen a lot worse child actors, a LOT worse!
This is one of those movies that further supports my theory that film critics know jack squat about entertaining movies. Last time I looked, comedies were supposed to be FUNNY! If they don't pass that test, they fail completely. Thankfully, "Hocus Pocus" succeeds!
This movie is about three witches who died in 1693, and on Halloween night, 1993, Max, a teenager new to Salem, lights the Black Flame Candle, which resurrects the three witches. They have to suck the life out of children in order to stay young and survive when the sun comes up the next morning. The entire night, Max, his sister, Dani and his crush, Allison, try to stop the witches. It's very funny to see the three sisters, Winifred, Mary and Sarah react to the new world.
Best part of the movie: Pretty much anything with the witches.
Worst part of the movie: When Billy is chasing the kids.
Recommended for: Everyone.
Overall, I give this movie a 9 out of 10, which in my ratings book is: Amazing.
While I did not love this film, I watched both my daughters (the one who hated the ads plus my other one) and they were absolutely fixated on it. Throughout, they laughed and had a wonderful time. And, given that I did not grow up watching this film (like my kids did), I enjoyed it well enough. Overall, a clever story with enough to interest kids and parents alike. As for me, I loved the scene where the witches met Satan--quite clever.