I put a spell on you, and now you’re mine.
Start off your 31 Days of Halloween by getting in the spirit with Hocus Pocus.
In 1693, during the Salem witch trials, Thackery Binx’s little sister, Emily, comes under the spell of the Sanderson Sisters, Winifred, Sarah and Mary. These three witches are determined to preserve their youth by sucking it away from Emily (killing her in the process). In an attempt to stop them, Binx gets transformed into a cat with immortal life. Fortunately, the villagers capture the witches and hang them, but not before Winifred and her enchanted spellbook cast a curse that will resurrect them on All Hallows Eve when a virgin lights the Black Flame Candle.
Fast forward three centuries to 1993 where teenager Max (Omri Katz from the awesome Eerie, Indiana) and his kid sister, Dani (Thora Birch), move to Salem. While out trick-or-treating they meet up with Allison (Vinessa Shaw), Max’s school crush, whose family just happens to own the Sanderson cottage and keep it as a museum. Being a typical teenage guy, Max is skeptical of magic and wants to impress Allison, so they decide to go to the cottage to explore. Upon lighting the Black Flame Candle, Max not only reveals that he is indeed a virgin (spoiler?), but also resurrects the sisters. Way to go Max, you idiot.
With the Sanderson Sisters on the loose, Max, Allison and Dani team up with immortal talking cat Binx (who’s been guarding the house) to try and stop them. They face many challenges in their pursuit, including coming face-to-face with Winifred’s ex-lover Billy Butcherson, who has been zombified to chase after them but ends up becoming an ally. The kids also have a failed attempt at alerting the adults who are partying at town hall when they get bewitched by Winifred when she sings ‘I Put a Spell on You’ to the crowd, making them sing and dance until the sun comes up.
The sisters kidnap Dani and Binx, and Sarah uses her creepy siren song to mesmerize the children of the town to come to the cottage with the intention of sucking all the youth from them (don’t you just hate that?). With Billy’s help, Max and Allison lure the sisters back to the cemetery where we have a final face-off, and the sisters are destroyed with the dawn of a new day.
But are they? During the end credits we see Winifred’s spellbook open its eye to seek its master, hinting that the Sanderson sisters might return again.
Hocus Pocus is now officially a cult-classic.
At our local arthouse movie theatre no other Halloween movie sells more seats than Hocus Pocus, not even Halloween. Part of this is timing and part of this is because there’s something sort of magical about the movie. The timing is due to the fact that the kids that grew up with this, predominantly girls of course, are now adults and mothers themselves that want to share this with their children. A lot can happen in 23 years and the comfort and nostalgia of a Disney Halloween movie is ripe to gain a following.
But what else makes this such a popular movie still?
How about that it’s actually good! It’s easily accessible and fun. A rare attempt at a kid-friendly Halloween horror-comedy from the House of Mouse. With its cult status only growing every year why hasn’t Disney, well, Disney’ed the original with a remake or sequel? Well, turns out that none other than Tina Fey has been working on a something Hocus Pocus related. She told the Chicago Tribune that, “There’s a script in development, it is not so much a remake.” Hopefully this means it’s some form of direct sequel! As soon as we find out more on that we will of course report it as fast as Max can light a Black Flame Candle.
Check out our other must-see Halloween picks on our 31 Days of Halloween list here.