Whether they love it or loath it, every 90s kid knows Hocus Pocus. My uncle took my sister and I along with his children to see it in theaters. This was back in 1993, when I was nearly eight years old, a good age for this movie. Nowadays, I’m surprised at the nostalgic joy I feel whenever I come across Hocus Pocus. For those who just don’t get it, maybe this drinking game will help you get into the spirit.
Hocus Pocus begins with a quick look back in time at the legend of the Sanderson sisters. In 1693 Salem, the trio of witches capture a girl and suck the life force out of her, restoring their youth before her brother, Thackery Binx (Sean Murray) could rescue her. The witches curse young Binx to roam the world as a black cat and they are hanged by angry villagers. However, right before their hanging, the witches plant a curse that could bring them back to feed off the lives of children again. All they need is a virgin to light the black flame candle on a Halloween night.
In 1993 Salem, Max (Omri Katz) is a teenager who has just moved in from California. He scoffs at all of these witchy stories that the town seems to thrive on, but that pretty girl in class, Allison (Vinessa Shaw), is smart and supportive of Salem’s haunted culture. While Max is unhappily taking little sister, Dani (Thora Birch), out trick-or-treating, they run into Allison. When she offers to take Max and Dani to see the old Sanderson sisters’ house, Max sees his chance to impress this girl and lights the black flame candle, sure that nothing would happen. So much if Max was going to deny his virginity, cause the witches are back and looking for children.
I laugh more and more every time I see Hocus Pocus. Some of these jokes I have always laughed at, like Mary (Kathy Najimy) riding a vacuum cleaner when they can’t find enough brooms. Or the other moments where twentieth century technology scares the witches. Then there are some sexual jokes I grew into that flew over my head in the theater. Today, some of my favorite parts are the laughable way that witchy Sarah Jessica Parker hits on everything that moves and the absurdly 90s moments. Anyone would be ashamed of any evidence that they once shaving “ICE” into the back of their head.
Though Hocus Pocus is one of those loud comedies for kids and adults that Disney made too many of in the 90s, I’ve always liked how this one holds up. The story is partially character driven, giving Max the opportunity to prove that he is not really a selfish non-believer but a brave boy and a good big brother. While most Halloween nights, the parents would have to step in at some point, that is taken care of with a spell, cleverly disguised as a catchy tune at the town party. Even Binx, from the very beginning, is part of the story as a helpful talking cat, but not used as a prop. The only thing that has ever really bugged me is when Winnie (Bette Midler) lands in the cemetery towards the end. Didn’t Binx say that witches cannot set foot on that hallowed ground?
I don’t expect my future children, or today’s kids, to love Hocus Pocus the way I do. There is a silly nostalgia in it for me, it was a part of my childhood. Regardless, it’s still great Halloween fun that kids and adults can enjoy without risking any nightmares.
“Aren’t you broads a little old to be trick or treating?”
I don’t remember why, but I was horrified of this movie when I was little. This and The Mask scared the shit out of me and both were comedies. Yet, I remember watching movies that were intentionally frightening and having no problem.
I kinda have the urge now to watch them again and try to figure out what freaked me out.
That moment right after the candle is lit could be pretty intense for a kid. Maybe it was that, or Billy the zombie. Give it another watch and see if you find out what it was. 🙂