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Midler is Sensational!!

Author: aharmas from United States
2 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Hocus Pocus" is fun, simple, silly, and delivered in a long gone style. There is nothing deep or complicated but a tale of legends and children who dare to play with forbidden objects. The line " I told you so" is probably one that one could hear over and over. Instead, we just tag along and enjoy the various episodes dealing with black cats, vengeful witches, and adventurous children.

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.

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Its target audience will probably find this enjoyable and that's what matters I suppose

Author: jimbo-53-186511 from United Kingdom
17 June 2016

Back in 1693, the Sanderson sisters are hung for performing witchcraft. 300 years later they become resurrected after a sceptical teenager lights the infamous black candle as he believes the legend of the Sanderson sisters to be merely 'Hocus Pocus'. Newly resurrected, the mighty Sanderson sisters are set to bring about a new reign of terror on the town of Salem with only 2 teenagers, a young girl and an immortal cat intent on trying to stop them.

Strangely, the best way for me to analyse a film like Hocus Pocus is to imagine yourself being sober and being in the company of a bunch of drunk people; they start off amusing and you find yourself being able to have a bit of a laugh with them in the early stages, but then the longer the evening progresses and the more drunk they get you start to notice that they become louder, more annoying and harder to tolerate. Interestingly, this was my perception of this whole film....

In the last paragraph I am specifically referring to the 3 witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy). To be fair, their performances are excellent here and they are definitely responsible for the funniest moments in the film, but when watching them it does feel like you're in the company of the 3 of the most irritating people in the world (Najimy as Mary says 'I smell children' quite a lot and this is her only real memorable contribution). Parker puts in a good performance, but it essentially just consists of her either being flirtatious or childish - again a mix that works well at the start, but begins to wear out its welcome in the latter stages). Midler is easily the best of the 3 and is able to carry the film with ease - it probably helps that as the leader of the group that she's given more of a character to work with, but she's the only one who really shows any general menace. All 3 women are guilty of overacting at times and their scenes together also feel quite theatrical a lot of the time. The supporting cast are actually OK, but are not as compelling as the leads with only Thora Birch really being able to display any real talent (Birch is probably better known for her work in American Beauty).

Aside from feeling like a wacky, zany and crazy acid trip the film is also rarely funny and seems overly reliant on star power to get by; the story is actually quite weak and isn't particularly involving - this isn't helped by the obligatory trite teenage romance slotted slap bang in the middle of the picture which seems to dominate proceedings.

I also felt that the film missed out on opportunities to be smarter or funnier; the witches are resurrected 300 years later, but the only comments they make on their new society relate to firemen being witch-hunters and Bette Midler asking a bus driver what the strange contraption is that he's driving... More tit-bits like this would have given this film an edge and just made it a bit funnier than it was.

I have to admit that although there were a lot of things that I disliked about this film it's still a colourful and fairly lively film at times and Midler, Najimy and Parker do breathe some life into the film and make it much better than it has any right to be. I suspect that the basic level of escapism that it provides will please older children (its darker themes make it unsuitable for young children). For me though, despite it having some historical significance I just found the story a little weak and found the whole thing to be a little too wacky and crazy and sadly these things came at the expense of it being funny most of the time.

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Pleasant enjoyable Disney movie!

Author: Davis P from United States
23 November 2015

It's just a bunch of Hocus Pocus! Or so they thought........ These Salem Massachusetts kids are in for a big surprise! Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker all team up here as the Sanderson sisters, 3 witch sisters raised from the dead from on of the teenagers. This Disney movie is honestly one of my absolute favorites by Disney! Hocus Pocus is a great, entertaining, and family friendly movie for all ages to enjoy. You'll laugh your ass off watching this fun flick. Also, the special effects are very good and cool to see, lots of flying on brooms, shooting lightning, and more..... The plot is well constructed as well, it'll make u laugh, cry, and just have a lot of fun! All the actors do a great job with the film, Bette midler in particular! She was amazing as the lead sister, Winnifred Sanderson. So families at Halloween time, I've got a good one for you! And there isn't really anything inappropriate in it, the word virgin is used a few times, it's kinda integral to the plot. And Danny's mom is dressed up as Madonna, wearing big pointed shells on her breasts. Other than that, you should be all set!! 10/10 for Hocus Pocus, flawless Halloween film!

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Funny Halloween flick

Author: hnt_dnl from United States
31 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The proof is in the pudding!" I need to always remind myself of this line. Too many times I have not watched certain movies due to the premise not appealing to me or having seen terrible reviews. Then I have to remind myself of 2 things: (1) Most movies nowadays pretty much suck out of the gate, AND (2) Many movies of yesteryear actually hold up because they by default have so much going for them: genuine dialogue, more practical effects, better and original stories. There are films that I never dared watch as a kid that I have since re-visited that have become personal faves.

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!

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It puts a spell on you

Author: sgtking from United States
20 October 2012

The current generation of youngsters have the 'Harry Potter' franchise. Wonderful as it may be, the books and films are not the first to use witchcraft in something family friendly. For my generation it was films like 'Teen Witch' and 'The Worst Witch.' Then in the 90s, Disney would release something a little darker than their usual output. By that point there had been so many film's set around Christmas, it was time for one to celebrate Halloween. The outcome is one of the most fun times one could have at the movies.

Pros: Solid performances. Fun score. Stylish direction. Clever writing. Gorgeous New England scenery. Often hilarious. Some great special effects. Excellent costume and production design. Moves at a lightning pace.

Cons: A little dated. Leaves you wanting more.

Final thoughts: For some reason, 'Hocus Pocus' didn't do all that well at the Box Office. Hard to see why considering how fun and stylish it is, but there you have it. It does however have a loyal cult following and is shown on TV every October. Some family films plays it safe and are too sickeningly sweet. This film however has a little edge to it and has really held up.

My rating: 4.5/5

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Brings Back Childhood Memories!

Author: g-bodyl from United States
26 August 2012

Hocus Pocus is a movie that I used to watch all the time on Halloween as a little kid. As I got older, I stopped watching this film. Recently, I decided to watch it again just to review it as an older person. I thought this movie is incredibly cheesy but it is just perfect for the children.

This film is about a group of kids who wake up a bunch of dormant witches whose goals are to kidnap children and take away their youth.

The acting is okay. I actually think that this is Sarah Jessica Parker's best role. I also liked Bette Midler as the main Sanderson witch.

Overall, this is just a fun movie for kids. It's creepy but not scary. I guess all the people who gave this bad reviews lost the feeling of what it's like to be a kid again. I rate this film 8/10.

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three sisters reappear after 300 years - watch out!

Author: blanche-2 from United States
29 March 2012

Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are the Sanderson Sisters, three witches who reappear after 300 years, in "Hocus Pocus," a 1993 film.

We first see the girls - Winifred, Mary, and Sarah -- back in 1683 when they stealing children and doing all kinds of wicked things. When two teens, Max and Allison (Omri Katz, Vinessa Shaw) enter the witches' old home with Max's little sister Dani (Thora Birch), they find a candle that is supposed to be lit by a virgin. One of the kids, Zachary Binx, trying to save his sister Emily, is turned into a black cat. Eventually they are destroyed, but not before Winifred does one last potion from her very important recipe book.

Fast forward to Halloween 1993 when two teens, Max and Allison (Omri Katz and Vinessa Shaw) along with Max's little sister Dani get into the Sanderson house. There they found a candle which is to be lit by a virgin. Max lights it and brings the three witches back to life. They still have their powers, but are thrown off by modern times. If they can't steal a child and take over her youth, at dawn, they will disappear forever.

Truly delightful, fun, and heartwarming film with Midler, Najimy and Parker in top form as they attempt to wreak havoc on Salem. Midler has a big number, "I Put a Spell on You," at the parents' Halloween dance, and she's terrific. This is supposedly her favorite film, though had she accepted the lead in "Sister Act," that might have beat it.

The film is loaded with funny moments, one of which is when three little girls steal the witches' brooms, and the sisters have to make do. Najimy ends up with a vacuum cleaner.

Great Halloween movie.

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Hocus Pocus review

Author: markhampson1967 from United Kingdom
2 January 2012

I liked the colourful costumes and lighting in this film, and I think the three witches were very amusing and camp, with the three stars getting stuck in with no egos spoiling things.I actually only saw two thirds of the movie up to where the enchantment song is sung by Jessica Sarah Parker or whatever she's called lol.Also I am dying to know if the girl is a virgin too lol.The start of the film is interesting, with the lad in 1693 etc and the movie seems to follow a traditional storyline which is good too.Visually the film is wonderful and I'd love to see it on a big 40 inch TV with surround sound.Sad that 20 years has elapsed since it was made.A lovely film to cherish, and I really like that song,I really need to get the film and watch it all.

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This movie will put a spell on you.

Author: kevinxirau from United States
30 October 2011

Ah, Hocus Pocus. As a child, this movie would creep me out sometimes, but nonetheless it's still a fun Disney flick. It has memorable characters, funny moments, and a zombie that looks like Johnny Depp.

Under the full moon on a Halloween night, three witches, the Sanderson Sisters (Winifred, Mary, and Sarah), who have been dead for 300 years are accidentally resurrected and plan on living forever by sucking the lives of children via a special potion. All that stand in the way of these powerful but somewhat clueless sisters are a teenage boy, his younger sister, his newfound love interest, and an immortal cursed boy-turned-cat.

All so full of charm, this movie is highly entertaining, especially during October. Seeing the witches interact with the modern world is practically hilarious and the song "I Put A Spell On You" is a load of fun. With a few slightly adult jokes thrown in, you will most likely enjoy this film that is bound to make you fall under its enchantment.

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It's just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!

Author: daykaseya from United States
25 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hocus Pocus centers around new kid in Salem, Max Dennison, his little sister Dani, and Max's crush, Allison. I can't say enough good things about the dynamic between these three. Max's flippant "Hollywood" attitude, Dani's irritating little sister routine and Allison's Salem native know-it-all spirit make the movie more than a little endearing.

As if this fantastic trifecta weren't enough, we also have the three Sanderson sisters: Winifred, Mary, and Sarah. These heinous witches and their flesh-bound book have been sucking the lives out of Salem's children since the 1600s. After being captured by the townsfolk of Salem, they are to be hanged for their crimes, but not before chanting a spell that will bring them back for one night when a virgin lights their black flame candle. I can't put into words why these three actresses work so well together. You literally have to watch to understand just how humorous - and terrifying - these three can be.

Cue 1993, when Max and his girls head to the Sanderson museum, conveniently located in the old home of the Sanderson witches. Max is seeking a convenient opportunity to impress Allison, while Dani just wants to get back to trick-or-treating. The unbelieving Max lights the black flame candle (a virgin, ooohhhhhh!) and Winnie, Mary, and Sarah return in search of children so they may be young and beautiful forever.

The hilarity and spooks that ensue are priceless. This movie has been a staple in my home every Halloween since 1999, when I was ten years old. The characters are lovable and the relationship between Max and Dani is what I always expected from a brother and sister. At the end when he says, "Well I'm your brother" I always get a bit emotional. Hocus Pocus deserves its title as a cult classic, and if you haven't seen it, do yourself a forever and buy this one for the Halloween season.

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