This year marks the 25th anniversary of the timeless Disney Halloween movie, “Hocus Pocus.” The film, which first premiered in 1993, chronicles the tale of a young boy named Max and his little sister Dani, who have just moved from Los Angeles to Salem, Massachusetts — the site of the infamous and folkloric Salem witch trials.
Max has just started at a new school when he finds himself crushing on one of his classmates, Allison. Allison’s family owns the historic (and awfully spooky!) Sanderson house, where the three witchy Sanderson sisters lived three hundred years earlier. It is in this house that, during the late 1600s, the young Thackery Binx, a parallel of modern Max, was turned into an immortal black cat for trying to save his younger sister from the Sanderson sisters’ lust for eternal youth. Foolish and arrogant, Max denies the existence of the witches and dares Allison to prove that they are real. She then accepts this challenge by inviting Max to tour the Sanderson house on Halloween night.
The story truly begins when Max refuses to simply take Dani trick-or-treating and instead chooses to take her along to the Sanderson house with Allison. Once there, Max inadvertently summons the three witches, Winifred, Sarah and Mary, who proceed to chase the children all over town to steal their youth, a process that would drain the life from the children. Max, Dani and Allison get into all sorts of trouble around Salem as Thackery Binx, in feline form, guides them. Eventually, the witches try to steal both Dani and Max’s youth but are caught in the sunlight, causing them to disintegrate. Max, Dani and Allison live to eat another piece of candy!
The 30% score on aggregate rating site Rotten Tomatoes for “Hocus Pocus” is misleading; this movie is heartwarming and entertaining and definitely worth the watch! While the special effects are dated, as most from 1993 are, the tongue-in-cheek interactions of the three witches really solidify this Disney film as a Halloween childhood favorite. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, who play Winnie, Sarah and Mary respectively, are hard to hate as they over exaggerate their characters in a kid-friendly, true-to-Halloween fashion. The movie is packed with witty one-liners and leaves viewers with the same satisfaction of trick-or-treating a king-sized chocolate bar.
For the 25th anniversary of “Hocus Pocus,” Freeform (formerly ABC) will be airing a special called the Hocus Pocus Halloween Bash. Tune in at 8:15 pm on Saturday, Oct. 20 to see the cast reunite and much more!
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