Positive Films & TV

Positive Films & TV

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is a 1993 (rated PG) movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah -- the "sexy" one), Bette Midler (Winifred -- the leader), and Kathy Najimy (Mary -- the dumb one, and an actor whom I have never heard of before or since). It seems 1993 was a good year for Halloween movies that don't depress me (I wrote about The Halloween Tree earlier, which also came out in the same year).

The basic premise of the movie is that 3 sisters in Salem Massachusetts who are witches were capturing children and eating their souls to stay young forever. (Nothing is shown in a horror/scary manner, and the entire thing is played off as magical/fantasy thing (which makes sense, since there is no such thing as actual witches)). The sisters lure the younger sister of Thackery Binx to her doom 300 years ago (so, roughly 1693, right during the Salem Witch trials), and Thackery raises the alarm and follows after her. He is too late to save her, and manages to get himself cursed to be turned into a black cat that is immortal (but can talk -- they really liked their talking animals in the 1990's).  The villagers finally get there, and not being able to find the 2 children, (rightly) assume the sisters are to blame, and hang them for witchcraft. Before they hang, Winifred casts a spell to resurrect them on All Hallows' Eve (Halloween) when a virgin lights their "black flame candle." Thackery (the immortal cat) then decides to guard their cottage on the off chance that their spell was real (why he didn't just destroy the candle -- or make it impossible to find, or burn down the cottage, who knows).

Fast forward to the "present" day (1993), and we meet a new family moving to Salem, Massachusetts from Los Angeles, California. Max, the older brother, and Dani, the younger sister. Max hates it in Salem, gets bullied by a couple of high school losers, and has to take his little sister trick-or-treating. He is also dismissive of the local legend of the Sanderson sisters (the 3 witches), and wants to go see their cottage (which has survived to present day, and is now a museum) to impress a girl. He knows of the legend of the spell from school, and disdainfully lights the candle, and being a virgin, enacts the spell.

What follows are wacky hijinks as the sisters are resurrected and realize that they have only been brought back for one day, and that they need to make a new potion to eat another soul before the night is over, or they will turn to dust. However, they cannot understand the modern times, and how All Hallows' Eve is now a children's silly holiday.

Now, I know that that sounds darker than it really is, so let me assure you, I hate dark stuff, and this movie isn't dark. It DOES feature discussions of death, and the opening scene of a child being killed in a fantasy manner though (hence the PG rating) -- but, I mean, really, it is hard to find a Halloween movie that DOES NOT feature death in some manner or another. So, I don't recommend the movie to very young children, or children who don't know about or understand death, but it should be fine for everyone else. The movie even features a catchy song ("I Put A Spell On You")  that makes everyone dance. The movie is very silly, and is played for laughs in almost every scene, and the danger never feels real. And you can expect a happy Disney ending.

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