Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimi, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw
Silly. Good-humored. Fun.
People really love this movie. Its poor reviews and middling box-office performance left well behind, Hocus Pocus has become a true cult classic in the 25 years since its release. Is it good? A difficult question for me as, truth be told, I enjoy a nice camp film. In fact, I generally prefer camp to prestige, and Hocus Pocus is a strong testament to the value of the former. It’s ridiculous, over-the-top fun, with Bette Midler leading the charge. She plays Winnifred Sanderson, a 17th century witch always accompanied by her doltish sisters, Mary and Sarah (Parker and Najimi). Resurrected in 20th century Salem, Massachusetts by a cynical teenager, Max (Katz), along with his young sister (Birch) and a beautiful girl from school, Allison (Shaw), the Sandersons attempt to adjust to modern times while seeking to devour the souls of the town’s children before sunrise (when they’ll be turned to dust). Hocus Pocus offers a number of guilty pleasures: Halloween mischief, teen romance, a musical number, magic, and it does so without taking itself too seriously.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-