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In terms of plotting, HOCUS POCUS has a little in common with the great
children's horror flicks of the 1980s; I'm talking THE MONSTER SQUAD
and its ilk. A bunch of kids accidentally summon up some centuries-old
witches who once again go around spreading havoc everywhere, and said
kids must team up to stop them. There the similarities end, however,
because this noisy nonsense is an example of the Disney style of
film-making at its very worst.
By worst I mean that this is a noisy, pointless mess of a film where no line is spoken when it can be shouted instead. The acting from the trio of main actresses is indescribably bad; Bette Midler is the worst culprit and seems to think she's in some kind of pantomime and needs to shout to keep the audience in the back row awake. The whole film is full of their shouty nonsense as they fly around, curse people, and generally give viewers a headache.
It's this kind of over the top style that makes me avoid anything Disney put out. Surely a little restraint here and there wouldn't have been out of the question? The kid actors like Thora Birch are by contrast subdued in the face of the hamming adult stars, and the only one who comes out of it with reputation intact is the reliable Doug Jones, whose zombie supporting character is the best in the film. Elsewhere it's a mess of special effects and zaniness, and I watched it with my finger hovering over the 'off' button all the way through. If you want to watch a similar children's fantasy about witches then go no further than Nic Roeg's THE WITCHES, a model of restraint and class compared to this.
It was difficult being in front of this movie. I am particularly nauseated by the reviewers of who claim "it's the hit of the Fall season". These people are paid reviewers with no pride. Without being insulting, I would say it's an OK movie for up to 12 yr olds. 28 million budget? Maybe 28,000. On second though, they had to pay for the "big-Stars". Actually, there was something positive about this movie....it actually made Sarah Jessica Parker look attractive in her makeup and costume although you could still tell it was her. There's a clue in this movie why Americans are dumbed-down and why someone like Trump is able to compete for the presidency.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Three soul-sucking witch sisters from the 17th Century return to Earth on Halloween Eve after being summoned back-to-life by a virgin. Sounds like something Wes Craven dreamed up, right? Wrong. It's a Halloween comedy aimed at teenagers and little kids, originally released as a "Touchstone" Picture. Just like "Disney's Black Hole" it can't decide if it's cute or cruel, funny or scary. So, after sucking out the "lifeforce" of a little girl, the 3 Sanderson Witches get hanged and can only come back-to-life if a "virgin" lights the black candle of doom at their 300-year-old house, which is a closed museum. Some crude and unnecessary language. So a young teenaged boy lights it, of course. The witches are all funny up to a point, but when Bette "zaps" someone, it isn't funny at all. Bette Midler sings "I Put a Spell On You", a catchy old tune and turns all the town's adults into dancing fools at a Halloween party, so they can suck up all the kids "essence". Sarah Jessica Parker then sings "Come Little Children" and all the kids converge on the witches' house, in a trance. Actually much funnier and better than it sounds. It even has a bewitched talking black cat (like "Salem" on Sabrina) and a friendly zombie. It contradicts itself, because at first the witches are barred from the cemetery (it's hallowed ground) and then the final battle happens there. The witches all go "poof" when the sun comes up, and the talking cat is reunited with the little girl, who was the witches' victim 300 years ago. Too much emphasis on "cleavage", between Sarah Jessica Parker's push-up bra and a young teenaged girl. Kind of a weird cross between "Scooby Do" and Ghostbusters". Good special effects, and one of the witches rides a Hoover when she can't find a broom. It makes adults look like fools but it's too scary for little kids and too childish for adults. Look for Gary and Penny Marshall in an awful unbilled cameo, as the dumb witches think that Gary, in his cheesy costume, is the real Devil. Hauntingly enjoyable, in spite of all it's many faults! (Note: the adults "dancing spell" and the bullies are released from their cages, over the ending titles, unless your station cuts these from the movie.)
I was only 7 years old when Hocus Pocus was released and it instantly
became one of my favourite films to watch on Halloween and any day of
the year. Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy & Sarah Jessica Parker delivered
hilarious performances as a trio of witches brought back to life to
cause mischief and mayhem on the scariest night of the year. Why anyone
would give it a bad review is beyond me? This film is good for fans of
In 1693 the Sanderson sisters Winifred (Midler) Mary (Najimy) and Sarah (Parker) convicted of witchcraft and the death of Emily Binx (Rivera) were hanged by the townsfolk but before their death Winifred vowed they would return when a virgin would light a candle and the life force from all the children will be for them.
Approximately 300 years later in 1993 teenager Max Dennison (Katz) has moved with his family from Los Angeles to the town of Salem Massachusetts, where the legend of the Sanderson sisters is still popular he believes it to be nothing more than just a stupid Halloween story made up by a candy company. He ends up taking his 8 year old sister Dani (Birch) trick or treating while his parents attend a party at town hall. They stop at house where Allison (Shaw) the girl Max has a crush on and classmate from school is holding a party, she tells them her knowledge of the sisters and that the house they lived in is now a museum.
Wanting to impress his dream girl they all go to the old house where Winifred's spell book still is in a glass case. As soon as the black flame candle is lit trouble begins when the Sanderson sisters return from the grave. Aiding Max, Dani, & Allison in the battle to stop the witches from taking all the children's life force is Thackery Binx (Murray)a teenager from the 16th century who had a spell of immortality placed on him and was transformed into a black cat as punishment for trying to stop the the enemy and has lived with the guilt of not being able to save his sister for centuries.
I'm not going to spoil the ending for those who have yet to see the movie all I can say is that you have to see it to believe it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Max is new in town and finds the local history of witches boring, but
he does find his fellow class-mate 'Alison' interesting. During
Halloween, Max is forced to take his sister trick or treating and runs
into Alison who wants to tag along.
In order to impress Alison by breaking into a museum which was once home to the infamous Sanderson sisters, unknowingly Max brings back the witches from hell by lighting a candle and all hell breaks loose. Now Max must stop the witches with the help of Alison and Dani, as well as a cat named Thackery, once a boy forced to live as a cat by the evil sisters.
Growing up I loved this movie and it always came on television on the weekend leading up to Halloween or after.
The film had a brilliant introduction that threw you into the madness of Salem, and then brought you to the present. It had an eerie tone which thrilled me as a child and had a good strong cast who sold their roles brilliantly. As a youngster of nine, ten; I adored Alison played by the elegant Vinessa Shaw and jumped with joy from beginning to end; I find it quite odd that there has not been a Halloween kids movie since that has been as good as Hocus Pocus.
Simply a thrilling and magnificent Halloween movie.
I saw this movie when I was 6 years old and I loved it. It was one of
my childhood movies. I'm now 19 and just rewatched it. I have to say
it's still as good as ever! I still love it, but just in a very
different way of seeing it than I did when I was 6.
I swear Bette Midler was born to do this role. I never ever EVER saw her doing a role anything like this, but she did and she was so Oscar Worthy! Very underrated performance. The other actors are good too, but the 3 main witches Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker are the best actors and all of them are well casted.
Great fun Halloween movie. Sure, it's unoriginal and we've seen it before, but it's fantastic Halloween fun! Still love the movie 13 years later! 9/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You'd expect a witch to be ugly right? Well, with Hocus Pocus, that is
the case with two out of three of the main witches. Bette Midler, Sarah
Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy star as three old hags in Hocus Pocus,
a cheesy film that is actually quite funny.
They star as the Sanderson sisters, three witches who would kidnap children, suck their souls, and become young again. They are hung. So, many, many, many years later, Salem Massachusetts(what a cliché') is huge on Halloween. But a teen named Max is not. On Halloween night, him, his sister(a younger Thora Birch)and his crush Allison go to the Sanderson house and bring them bitches, excuse me, witches back to life.
So when Max steals their magic spell book, they chase after the three youngsters. And try to continue their plans to suck souls and get younger again. If they don't make a potion by sunset, they will turn to dust. That's another reason why they want the book back.
I liked this movie. Though it's cheesy at times and kind of a cliché', it's funny. I know it's not a great movie, but I give it a thumbs up anyways. It's a fun Halloween movie with some great stars. And oh by the way. Two out of three of these witches are indeed ugly looking. But Sarah Jessica Parker, to me, looks better than ever. Just saying. I don't want to be rude. But it's true.
I saw this movie as a kid and remembered liking it, but I liked a lot
of things back then.
Recently I sat down and watched this expecting it to be a horrendous movie, but I was surprised to find myself actually enjoying it. I found the plot to be about as interesting as any of those other made for TV movies that kids watch now. How many movies are out there where some "I'm too cool for this" pre-teen does something stupid just to make a point and end up unleashing some horrible monster exist? Aside from childhood nostalgia, what saved this movie for both my friends and I were a handful of the jokes. Oh yes, they go there a few times. But don't worry parents, there are not that many and I still consider this an appropriate movie for kids.
Obviously I am reviewing this from an adult's perspective. I'm not going to watch again this any time soon, but if I have to put on a movie for some kids I'd rather watch this and not be bored to tears.
I love Hocus Pocus. It is full of talented actors and actresses. I just love Emily Binx (Amanda Shepherd). She is just so sweet. She is actully an important character, because if the withces didn't take her, than Thackery wouldn't have told his friend to round up the people who would hang the withces, who would put the spell on to make them come back to life and so on. Dani Dennison (Thora Birch) is adorable too. She was a better actress then rather than now. She is still good though. Overall, this is one of my favourite movies.
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