As a kid born in the ’80s and growing up in the ’90s I have many fond memories of my childhood around Halloween, because of the classic movies I watched with my family. 20 years later I am still under the spell of Hocus Pocus.
The town of Salem is shrouded in a mysterious legend about the Sanderson sisters who were hanged for practicing witchcraft in the 1600’s. In 1993 teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) and his family have just moved to Salem from Los Angeles. It’s clear that Max is unhappy about moving and is skeptical about Halloween, while the residents embrace and celebrate the holiday.
Max is smitten by his classmate Allison (Vinessa Shaw) but is rejected for his disbelief towards Halloween, and the town’s legend. At home his unhappiness towards moving continues, and he refuses to take his little sister Dani (Thora Birch) trick-or treating. However he is made to do so by his parents.
They come across Alison’s house and wanting to impress her, Max convinces Dani to allow them to visit the old Sanderson house which is now a museum. Through the hasty actions of Max he ends up bringing the witches back to life, who have one night to ensure their immortality and beauty.
All of the actors play their parts well and manages to capture the relationships between the characters. Dani and Max may bicker like siblings do but at the end of the day, they love each other, and Max would do anything to protect her.
Bette Midler who plays the main witch Winifred Sanderson captures the essence of how evil and determined the character is to live forever with everlasting beauty. The actress also takes her role to the next level by using her powerful vocals to sing ‘I Put a Spell on You’ which in the film puts a spell on the residents who are at a Halloween party. The spell causes them to dance until they die.
I first viewed this film when I was three so I didn’t understand what was going on. At that time it was just a source of entertainment. Now 25 years old I can appreciate the movie for what it is. With a little bit of movie magic, and beautifully composed music it certainly brings the story to life, and creates a spell binding adventure for the whole family.
I watch this movie every Halloween and it’s certainly a classic in my household. It just isn’t Halloween without Hocus Pocus.