“Hocus Pocus” has held a special place in my heart since I was a child. With my love for witches, Halloween being my favorite holiday and fall being my favorite season, how could it not be an all-time favorite? But what really takes the broom on this one is that it was also my grandma’s favorite movie.
With beloved characters such as the Sanderson sisters, Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones), Thackeray Binx (Jason Marsden), Max Dennison (Omri Katz) and many more, this Disney Halloween movie paints the picture of life in Salem, Massachusetts through two time periods– 1693 and 1993.
The Sanderson witches, who had been executed for practicing dark magic, are resurrected by the flickering light of a black flame candle. The plot unfolds to show Max, his little sister Dani (Thora Birch), and his lady friend Allison (Vinessa Shaw) save the children of Salem from the 300-year-old witches who want to use the children’s essence to keep them young and beautiful.
On Sept. 30, Disney released a sequel to this movie, and of course, I had to watch it immediately. Watching this was extra special for me, as my grandma passed away about two years ago, so if I wasn’t going to see this movie for myself– I had to for her. Let me just say, she would have LOVED this movie!
Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), Winifred `Winnie’ (Bette Midler) and Mary Sanderson (Kathy Najimy) return brought forth, once again, by the black flame candle. This time the sisters return to the present day. With them returned my favorite character of the show, Winifred’s “lover” Billy. The zombified man, whose mouth has been spelled shut by Winifred, is the biggest help when it comes to defeating the Sanderson sisters and Jones never fails to absolutely murder his delivery of the character.
A black cat, similar to Thackery Binx– the boy turned cat, who is a large key to the plot of the first movie– makes an appearance as well.
The second movie begins with the story of how the Sanderson Sisters came to be as The Witch Mother finds the child sisters in Salem’s Forbidden Woods. It is she who gives the girls the famous “Book of Spells” seen throughout the movie, the book with the eye that is portrayed to be alive.
The movie then fast-forwards to our previous year, taking the viewer on the adventure of three young girls who innocently practice witchcraft and take on the Sanderson sisters.
Once again the three girls, Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) must work together– as Max, Danni, and Allison had once before– to save themselves and the children of Salem from these very powerful witches.
Director Anne Fletcher takes the audience through a whirlwind of emotions as the movie highlights the value of friendship.
“A witch is nothing without her Coven,” said the Witch Mother.
Fletcher also puts a wonderful spin on death. Now, I don’t want to spoil the movie if you have not seen it yet, but if you have seen the first, you may know that the witches are only back on Earth until the sun comes up and All Hallows’ Eve comes to an end. So, it comes as no surprise that the three friends bring the witches to peace in a spectacular show of sparkle and love.
Fletcher does an incredible job of recreating Hocus Pocus’ original director Kenny Ortega’s work. There are elements in the sequel that fall perfectly in line with the first movie while keeping the storyline fresh and exciting.
As Halloween approaches, it is as good of a time as ever, to watch– or rewatch– “Hocus Pocus.” I highly suggest you make a movie night out of it and view “Hocus Pocus 2” as well to see the magic for yourself.
Nothing says Halloween quite like Sarah Sanderson giddily hopping around, chanting “Oh, amok, amok, amok, amok…” or Billy Butcherson doing his best to prove that he is “a good zombie,” or three incredibly talented and beautiful women portraying powerful witches that try to steal children’s lives for their own youth– only to be taken down by three brave children.
So, hopefully, I have convinced you to want to take a break from the stress of the semester and grab your fuzzy blankets, cozy pants, and pumpkin spice goodies and nuzzle into the couch to get your spook on with one of the best Halloween movies there is. Don’t forget to watch the sequel, as these two movies are both witchy masterpieces!
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