6.9/10
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242 user 67 critic

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Trailer
1:57 | Trailer
A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.

Director:

Kenny Ortega

Writers:

David Kirschner (story), Mick Garris (story) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
986 ( 537)
2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Midler ... Winifred
Sarah Jessica Parker ... Sarah
Kathy Najimy ... Mary
Omri Katz ... Max
Thora Birch ... Dani
Vinessa Shaw ... Allison
Amanda Shepherd Amanda Shepherd ... Emily
Larry Bagby ... Ernie 'Ice' (as Larry Bagby III)
Tobias Jelinek ... Jay
Stephanie Faracy ... Jenny
Charles Rocket ... Dave
Doug Jones ... Billy Butcherson
Karyn Malchus Karyn Malchus ... Headless Billy Butcherson
Sean Murray ... Thackery
Steve Voboril Steve Voboril ... Elijah
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Storyline

300 years have passed since the Sanderson sisters were executed for practicing dark witchcraft. Returning to life thanks to a combination of a spell spoken before their demise and the accidental actions of Max, the new-kid-in-town, the sisters have but one night to secure their continuing existence... Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some scary sequences, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When taking photos on the steps before trick-or-treating a painting of the Dennisons' house is behind them. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film, Winnie hears Thackery peeking in the house. She looks out the window and says, "Oh look, another glorious morning..." Moments later, the town folk arrive to confront the sisters, and Mary exclaims they are "spending a quiet evening at home." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[a witch passes by the window of Thackery Binx and Emily's bedroom; Thackery wakes up then a few seconds later, he lays back and sees that Emily is gone]
Thackery Binx: Emily? Emily!
[he leaves the house to search for Emily]
Thackery Binx: Emily!
[he runs up to Elijah]
Thackery Binx: Elijah! Elijah! Hast thou seen my sister Emily?
Elijah: Nay. But, look.
[he points to purple smoke in the sky]
Elijah: They conjure.
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The Walt Disney logo at the start is tinted blue (the one at the end has the usual coloring). See more »

Alternate Versions

When aired on the ITV network in the UK, the scene where the witches were hanged and cast the spell that would bring them back were cut - the scene dissolved from the sisters talking through the door to the lynch mob to Miss Olin telling the class in the modern day how they were all hanged (thus filling in the details). Viewers however would still be unaware exactly how they would come back. See more »

Connections

Featured in MsMojo: Top 10 Epic Movie Villain Songs (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

I Put a Spell on You
Written by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Produced and Arranged by Marc Shaiman
See more »

User Reviews

 
A tone of improbable goofiness
3 November 2013 | by LanceBraveSee all my reviews

If you grew up in the nineties, you've probably seen "Hocus Pocus" a few hundred times. I think most every generation gets their own kid-friendly horror-lite Halloween movie. "Gremlins" probably filled that role for a lot of eighties kids and hopefully "Coraline" is the pick for the modern 6-10 crowd. "Hocus Pocus" is nowhere near as good as either of those movies but I've seen it a bunch anyway. Probably more, since my Mom has long been a Bette Midler fan.

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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

16 July 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hocus Pocus See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,125,471, 18 July 1993

Gross USA:

$44,342,713

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$44,947,705
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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