Just a bunch of “Hocus Pocus”

Statue of Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson at Planet Hollywood in Orlando Florida. Photo Credit/Jordan Rae Lucas.
Statue of Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson at Planet Hollywood in Orlando Florida.
Photo Credit/Jordan Rae Lucas.

Managing Editor

“Hocus Pocus” is the greatest movie of all time.

OK, maybe not. But it is one the first movies that made me fall in love with film.

It is definitely the best movie Sarah Jessica Parker has ever made. This 1993 live-action Disney movie is the gold standard of Halloween movies.
Family oriented cable channels still show “Hocus Pocus” upwards of a dozen times in the month of October. It’s fun for little kids without being overly juvenile and funny for the parents without being inappropriate.

It has everything: a talking animal, a musical number, ridiculous costumes and a star-studded cast.

The film that gave us Bette Midler singing “I Put a Spell on You” while dressed like a witch was not always so popular. Hard to believe, I know. According to the film’s IMDb page, the film was released in the middle of July in the U.S. instead of October and didn’t do very well at the box office.

Every year, “Hocus Pocus” seems to get more and more popular, garnering a kind of cult status. For more than a year, there have been rumors of a sequel about another hapless teenager bringing the Sanderson sisters back to life. Tina Fey was rumored to be writing the sequel. It doesn’t seem like it’s actually going to happen anytime soon, though.

This is one of those movies that holds up so well and wraps up so nicely that I wouldn’t want a sequel.

I’ve stated before that there is a five-year cap on spoilers so I don’t feel bad saying that this 22-year-old movie ends with the Sanderson sisters being turned to stone and exploding into dust at sunrise. I’m not quite sure how they would come back from that.

Of course, when you are a witch, anything is possible. The sisters were hanged during the Salem Witch Trials and managed to cast a spell allowing them to come back to life when a virgin lit a candle. This candle lighting business actually serves as one the greatest grown-up jokes in the film. Teenage Max, whose family has just moved to Salem, lights the magic candle and then has to tell a series of incredulous adults that he is a virgin.

Teenage boys are typically hypersexual in movies and TV shows and teenage girls are normally meant to be completely pure. Anytime a virgin is mentioned in a magical or mystical context, it is normally a young girl, even 22 years later. It was a clever twist on the part of the filmmakers to have Max light the candle instead of his younger sister or his love interest.

The emotional heart of the film is the strong bond between siblings. At the beginning of the film, a young man tries to save his younger sister from the Sanderson sisters and finds himself turned into a cat for his trouble. Fast-forward two hundred years to Max and his little sister Dani. Max sees her as a burden but learns through the events of the movie how much she means to him and how devastated he would be if something happened to her. This movie is probably why I am so protective of my younger sister.

Introducing the Holiday film review series!
Week 1: Christmas classics.
“Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)
“White Christmas” (1954)
“Home Alone”(1990)
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

By The Preface at IUSB

IU South Bend's Official Student Newspaper

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