Hocus Pocus TV Tropes And Trivia
A 1993 Halloween-themedDisney film for “kids”. This was the second film directed by Kenny Ortega, previously known for Newsies (1993). Now considered a cult favorite, the film’s rather campy, but pretty entertaining. It does, after all, contain a memorable rendition of “I Put A Spell On You” by Bette Midler. The song “Come Little Children” from this film went on to become a Halloween classic.
The film opens in the year 1693. Thackery Binx (role shared by Sean Murray and Jason Marsden), a teenager living in Salem, Massachusetts, discovers his little sister Emily (Amanda Shepherd) has gone missing. Emily has been lured away to the farm of the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches—consisting of older sister/leader Winifred “Winnie” (Bette Midler), middle child/tracker Mary (Kathy Najimy) and little sister/siren-like predator Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) — who suck the life-forces of little children to prolong their lives; such is the fate suffered by Emily. Thackery attempts to save her, but the sisters transform him into an immortal black cat. The sisters are soon after captured by the townspeople and hanged. Before her death, Winnie pronounces her death-curse, that “on All Hallows’ Eve, when the moon is round, a virgin will summon us from under the ground.”
The scene shifts to 1993. The Dennisons are a California family who have just moved to Salem, bringing along teenaged son Max (Omri Katz) and 8-year-old daughter Dani (Thora Birch). Max is a virgin. Halloween night, Max takes his sister trick-or-treating and gets to hang with new love interest Allison (Vinessa Shaw). Allison tells him of the legend of the Sanderson sisters and of a supposed way to revive them; Max laughs and tries it out, bringing the Sandersons back to life. Now the three kids and the immortal cat Binx have to face the witches throughout the night, with the lives of every kid in Salem at risk.
Midler claimed in a 2014 interview that she, Parker, and Najimy would be interested in playing the roles again if the producers asked. In 2015, she confirmed it was not going to happen.
In 2015, The Magic Kingdom launched a Hocus Pocus themed musical revue as part of Mickey’s Not-So Scary Halloween Party: The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular. In it, the Sanderson Sisters use the magic of the Magic Kingdom to return from the grave to throw a wild All Hallow’s Eve bash. While the sisters are Lighter and Softer than their film counterparts by necessity (having infanticidal witches at a Disney Theme Park wouldn’t exactly be ‘not-so scary’), the show is a loving tribute to the film, complete with a show stopping rendition of “I Put A Spell On You” as the finale.
While a 1994 side-scrolling platformerby the same namealso exists, they don’t have any connection to each other. Also unrelated is Kurt Vonnegut‘s 1991 novel of the same name.
This film provides examples of:
555: Max gives Allison his number at school. The paper only has this on it.
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Max, Dani and Allison have to flee the witches and zombie Billy Butcherson by following Thackery into the sewers, which are filled with spiders and rats,
Bette Midler Just Won Halloween With Her Winifred Sanderson Costume From Hocus Pocus
BY KAREN MIZOGUCHI
POSTED ON OCTOBER 28, 2016 AT 11:34PM EDT
Photo: GARY GERSHOFF/WIREIMAGE
The witch is back.
Bette MidlerÂ answered fansâ€™ prayers on Friday when she dressed up as her belovedHocus Pocus character, Winifred Sanderson. The 70-year-old actress and singer scored major Halloween points with this throwback outfit, complete with curly heart-shapedÂ wig,Â buck teeth, long nails, and a lack of eyebrows.
Midler dug theÂ purple dress and embroidered green robe out of the archives for a good cause. She hosted her annualÂ Hulaween Party at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City to celebrate theÂ New York Restoration Project, a nonprofit that brings much-needed public green space to the stateâ€™sÂ five boroughs.
Earlier this month, Midlerâ€™s Hocus Pocuscostar Sarah Jessica Parker expressed her excitement about reuniting with her evil Salem witch sisters someday. â€œI would love that,â€ Parker said on Watch What Happens Liveabout filming a sequel to the 1993 Disney film. â€œI think weâ€™ve all been fairly vocal about being very keen but that hasnâ€™t created any ground swell of movement.â€
Bette Midler as The Rose (with Christy Labonte) – Christy presented Bette with a ‘model” book of BetteÂ illustrations by Scott Clarke which Bette loved! The book will be published soon.
However, Midler debunked the sequel rumorsin November 2015 when she shared, â€œAfter all these years and all the fan demand, I do believe I can stand and firmly say an unequivocal no.â€
Cumberland Sunday Tlmes
Midler casts spell in movie
By James Pallot
July 25, 1993HOCUS POCUS (PG) I suppose it’s appropriate that, in a movie about witches brought back from the dead after 300 years, most of the characters, plot lines and gags feel like they’re also enjoying a second lease on life.
Like “Th e Witche s of Eastwick,” “Hocus Pocus” offers us three New England women with a taste for all things devilish. Winifred (Bette
Midler) looks and sounds a lot like, well, Bette Midler in a witch’s frock; Mary (Kathy Najimy) is highly reminiscent of the character Najimy played in “Sister Act,” only dressed in a witch’s frock ; and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) is your basic boy-crazy, buxom blonde,
clad in a low-cut witch’s frock.
These three have a reasonable amount of fun hamming their way through a potluck plot that involves a spellDOok bound in human skin (think “Evil Dead“); a potion that would grant the witches eternal life (think “Death Becomes Her“); and a group of enterprising kids who must save the entire town from the forces of evil (think “TheGoonies”).
Apart from the youngest child, Dani, played by the exceptionally precocious Thora Birch, the kids are pretty charmless. But “Hocus Pocus’
remains entertaining thanks to a liberal sprinkling of jokes andthe sheer energy of Ms. Midler and her cohorts. Though it may not put a spell on you, there’s enough in the pot to keep things at a steady comic simmer.
Enchanting Witch’s Brew Is Mix Of Sorcery, Slapstick
By Carrie Rickey, INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
POSTED: July 16, 1993
Who are these broads on brooms, the witches of Westwood? Although they look like hell – and raise it – they’ll put a spell on you.
Silly but irresistible Hocus Pocus stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as 17th-century sorceresses whose spirits are raised on a modern-day Halloween night in Salem, Mass. Naturally, they think that they’ve died and gone to the devil’s playground while all around them, trick-or- treaters can’t stop admiring their way-cool costumes. (Girl, did that ratty purple velvet gown really come from your broom closet?)
What only three of those young trick-or-treaters know is that in order to ensure temporary youth, these witches plan to (literally) “suck the life” out of Salem children. Can 16-year-old Max (Omri Katz) keep his kid sister, Dani (Thora Birch), from the clutches of these greedy gals while also impressing his pretty schoolmate, Allison (Vinessa Shaw)? Perhaps, if he lets Allison and Dani – and a clever talking cat named Binx – help cream these crones.
Hocus Pocus is diverting, PG-rated fun that works on two levels. For children, it’s a Halloween adventure that suggests, yes, witches do exist but that enterprising youths can outwit them. For adults, it’s a tongue-in-cheek romp through jack-o-lantern-lit graveyards.
Forget, for the moment, the question of why Disney is releasing this seasonal feature during the summer. Also forget wondering why, despite the considerable gifts of cinematographer Hiro Narita (Never Cry Wolf), this movie – like so many Disney and Touchstone features – looks muddy, as though photographed through a jug of apple-cider sludge. (Might it be that choreographer-turned-director Kenny Ortega has a keener spatial sense than a pictorial one?)
Let’s just be happy for a family movie – essentially this summer’s Sister Act – that entertains without destroying brain cells.
The Sanderson Sisters – kind of like the Andrews Sisters in corsets and fright wigs – are the scourges of 1693 Salem. They kidnap some children and
put curses on others. One young boy, Thackery (Sean Murray), trying to save his kid sister from becoming the prime ingredient in the Sandersons’ Youth Dew formula, is turned into Binx, the enterprising black cat. When the elders hang the three sisters, the eldest, Winifred (Midler), vows they’ll be back.
Sure enough, in 1993 Salem, Max – a newcomer who thinks he’s too old to believe in “all that Halloween hocus-pocus” – takes the dare and lights an enchanted candle that brings those Sanderson gals back from the dead.
Like many movies about sorcery – The Witches of Eastwick comes to mind – Hocus Pocus does not always make a great deal of sense, yet it makes for a great deal of fun.
Midler’s fans might be disappointed that she doesn’t have a whole lot to do beyond puckering her kewpie-doll lips and flouncing onto her broom. But the witches have an amusing, Three-Stooges rapport, with a lot of bonking, slapping and cursing (of the witch rather than the profane variety) that make them particularly satisfying villains.
Director Ortega successfully fuses their slapstick onto a teen adventure that, by the way, encourages moody big brothers to watch out for their pesky kid sisters – and vice versa.
HOCUS POCUS * * *
Produced by David Kirschner and Steven Haft, directed by Kenny Ortega, written by Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert, photography by Hiro Narita, music by John Debney, distributed by Buena Vista Pictures.
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.
Winifred – Bette Midler
Sarah – Sarah Jessica Parker
Mary – Kathy Najimy
Max – Omri Katz
Dani – Thora Birch
Allison – Vinessa Shaw
Parent’s guide: PG (mild profanity, sexual innuendo, may be too intense for children under 8)
Showing at: area theaters
In Defense of the Sanderson Sisters
POSTED 2 DAYS AGO
We canâ€™t imagine how difficult it must be to wake up from a 300 year nap and have children dressed in their Halloween finest running about unexpectedly while nothing is familiar and your homeâ€™s been turned into a museum, and yet, such is reality for the Sanderson sisters in Hocus Pocus. Thatâ€™s why one of our writers [struggled] to play devilâ€™s advocateâ€”see what we did there?â€”and identify just a few reasons these witches may have not have been completely to blame for the general havoc they wrought in Salem in the â€˜90s. Hereâ€™s why:
1. Theyâ€™re only playing into societyâ€™s standards of youth and beauty.
They just want to stay youngâ€”who could blame them? In a way, weâ€™re all chasing our youths; reliving fond memories of the past and searching for the meaning of life. Plus, itâ€™s pretty important to note that there was no such thing as plastic surgery in 17th-century America, and neither were there any acai berries or rejuvenation therapy.
2. Perhaps the whole â€œsucking the life-force out of kidsâ€ thing was merely a visual metaphor.
You know, like how rain in movies is usually an allusion to charactersâ€™ feelings? This is the same, except with children and a creepy song, and witchcraft. This was clearly a thematic choice made by the director, not the sisters themselves.
3. Everyone is allowed to be themselves.
The story of Hocus Pocus really boils down to a trio of sisters who are being persecuted and hunted for following their own unique set of beliefs and ideals. Now, whatâ€™s so wrong about that? (Rhetorical question, please donâ€™t answer.)
4. They endured extreme culture shock and were most likely disoriented as a result. ...Read More
13 Ways â€˜Hocus Pocusâ€™ and College Life are The Same Thing
By Brittney Helmrich – Oct 17, 2013
While youâ€™re gearing up for Halloween and watching all of your old favorite movies (AKA Hocus Pocus, because letâ€™s be real, itâ€™s the best one), you might be noticing some parallels between the movie and your own college experience. If you really pay attention to the movie (which by now youâ€™ve seen like 30 times so you probably know every last detail anyway) itâ€™s pretty obvious that Hocus Pocus accurately explains a night in the life of a college student. Donâ€™t believe me? These GIFs are proof.
Youâ€™re back at school, and youâ€™re seeing your new dorm for the first time (and itâ€™s not pretty.) ...Read More
14 Reasons ‘Hocus Pocus‘ Is The Only Halloween Movie You’ll Ever Need
October 16, 2015
If you grew up in the ’90s, Halloween was still the ultimate holiday (besides Christmas, of course). It was a time when trick-or-treating reaped you pillow cases full of candy that you’d be eating for months; a time when costumes were creative and over-the-top and took weeks to prepare. Most importantly, it was a time when Hocus Pocus was released, which was not only the best Halloween movie released up until that point, but it’s still the best one today. Sure, it’s not full of blood and gore, but it was still scary as hell to our child selves â€” and a lot of fun, to boot.
If you haven’t watched it in a while, I heartily recommend you get a hold of a copy and get to it (though no doubt it should be popping up on TV at some point soon, if it hasn’t already â€” I own the DVD, so I wouldn’t know). What I do know is that anyone who’s ever seen Hocus Pocus thinks it’s as classic as I do, because… well, duh, it is. There are so many things to love about it, and while it might seem a bit dated (it is 22 years old now!), it’s still the best Halloween movie you’ll ever see in your entire life. Don’t believe me? Here are 13 things to love about it (though really, there are hundreds).
Thackery Binx may have been a real boy once, but personally, I prefer him in cat form. Remember the scene where he gets run over by a car and Dani is completely beside herself because he’s basically flattened in the road, but then he sorta puffs back into life like a balloon? AMAZING!
The Amazing Musical Numbers
Every good holiday movie has to have some amazing music, and Hocus Pocus delivers on all fronts. From “Come Little Children” to “I Put A Spell On You”, it’s chock full of amazing songs.
Everything About Sarah
The most memorable Sarah scene was definitely when she was thrilled to discover that she could walk through a puddle and not drown in it. However, pretty much every time she was on screen was magical, because she was great and Sarah Jessica Parker brought so much fun to the role.
Mary’s Crazy Laugh
I’ve always loved Kathy Najimy, but her crazy laugh as Mary always gave me the giggles as a kid for some reason. Even now as an adult, I remember how hilarious I found it as a kid and it gets me laughing all over again.
A Very Young & Adorable Thora Birch
I love seeing adult actors in roles they had as kids. I don’t know why, it just amuses me. Thora Birch grew up and went on to star in the likes of Ghost World and Colony, she was only about 10 in Hocus Pocus, and that’s cute. Just go with it!
Winnie’s Bad Attitude
Winnie was the crankiest of the Sanderson sisters, for sure, but that’s kind of what made her so amazing. She always had a smart remark or an eye roll to add to the situation, and that’s why she was my favorite.
The Brother/Sister Drama
I’m an only child, so I was blissfully able to escape any sibling rivalry. However, Hocus Pocus kinda made me wish I had an older brother, at least for a little while, because of Max and Dani’s banter. Instead, I went trick-or-treating alone around my grandparents’ cul-de-sac. Womp womp.
Max Being Super Cute/Your First Crush
You know he was, don’t even lie. Omri Katz retired from acting 15 years ago, but thank god we have Hocus Pocus to look back on. It sounds creepy to say that Max was one of my first crushes since I’m now 31, but I was younger than him when it came out, so that’s fine… right?
The Stupid Bullies
Bullying is a very serious issue and a terrible thing these days. Back in 1993, however, it was these yahoos who were mean and nasty for the time, of course, but also really kinda corny. They’re so dated, and in 2015 they seem more hilarious than threatening.
The Silly Virgin Candle Element
The Sanderson sisters could only be brought back if a virgin lit this old candle, and of course Max did it. I don’t think I really even thought much about what a virgin was when I was a kid, but looking back, it’s pretty hilarious that this was part of a Disney movie, don’t you think?
Billy Butcherson Not Putting Up With Winnie’s Crap ...Read More
The executioner who was responsible for hanging the Sanderson sisters is wearing a leather outfit with metal spikes.
At the beginning, in 1693, when the Sanderson sisters are about to be hanged, Sarah laughs with her mouth wide open, and you can see cavity fillings in her teeth.
When Winnie is riding on her broom and pulls alongside Max in the driver’s side as he is racing away from the Sanderson home after saving Dani, she asks for his driver’s permit. As she died 300 years previously she would have no idea of drivers permits. Or even of cars.
During the adult’s Halloween party scene, Dani tries to tell her mother about the Sandersons, and Jenny, thinking she’s just on a sugar high, asks “How much candy have you had, honey?” To which Dani replies “I haven’t OD’d! I haven’t even had a piece!” This is a lie. She had a chocolate witch lollipop at Allison’s Halloween party earlier, though she could’ve forgotten with all the excitement.
The Sanderson sisters often refer to cooking with margarine. They died (for the first time) in 1693. Margarine wasn’t invented until the 1800s and wouldn’t be available as a butter substitute until 1869.
When Max sets off the sprinkler system in the Sanderson house, he stands directly below it and gets completely drenched. When he runs out of the house, his jacket is totally dry.
After Max lights the candle, and things start to happen within the house, Dani’s hat is blown off by a gust of wind. When she puts the hat back on, her hair has been blown around. When the camera cuts to her again, her hair is back in the style it had prior to her losing her hat.
Sarah Sanderson’s hair changes from curly to wavy to straight throughout the movie.
When Max first gives Allison his number the 9 is hardly legible, but once they are outside and she returns the paper the 9 is clearly printed showing that it’s an obvious different sheet of paper.
When Max and Dani go into Allison’s house to trick-or-treat, as the conversation carries on, Allison gives Dani a large witch-shaped sucker. A few lines later, the witch sucker she holds changes to a much smaller, differently shaped sucker.
When the sisters have taken Dani from her home and we see her tied up, the ropes jump about between shots.
When Dani first finds her mom at the town hall party, the mom is “vogue-ing” with her right hand on her head and her left hand stretched out. As the camera cuts back and forth between the mom and Dani, the mom’s wedding rings disappear from her outstretched left hand.
When Billy first reanimates, his grave is shallow – only deep enough for him to lie down in – and in disarray. When they return to the graveyard, his grave is suddenly a perfectly dug hole deep enough for Dani to stand all the way up in.
When you first see Sarah Sanderson dancing with “master.” Her skirt is down, the next time you see her. The skirt is bundled up in her hand.
While in the museum, after being thrown to the floor, Max’s lighter flies out of his hand and behind the desk. We don’t see him pick it up, but once they’re in the cemetery, he has it again.
Right after they become younger, Winnie’s hair is partially covered by the hood of her shawl. In the next shot the shawl is gone completely.
When Max gives Allison his phone number her hair is parted on the left side, when he follows her outside a few minutes later her hair is parted on the right.
When Jay and Ernie are throwing toilet paper, Ernie is wearing a black hat, but in the next close up shot the hat is gone.
When Winnie is giving instructions to Billy, the broom handle is crooked when we see her from the front with a flat top of the handle. When the camera view is over her shoulder, the handle is straight and modern-looking.
When the witches arrive at the school, the clock in front of the building has just gone 3:05. Later when the kids are dancing in front of the building, the clock reads dead on midnight. Then later on, right before the witches run into Jay and Ice, Ice mentions that it’s 3AM.
After the children take Winifred’s book and are hiding in the cemetery for the first time, you can clearly see the wires holding up Mary Sanderson as she flies down on her broom towards the children.
Errors in geography
When Sarah sings her song she’s in the sky above the lighthouse along the coastline of Marblehead – one town over from Salem.
Before they go trick or treating, Dani tells Max that there is a full moon out. The movie is set in 1993, but the last time there was a full moon on Halloween was in 1974. The next will not occur until 2020.
The movie takes place on Halloween, 1993. The first part of the movie shows Max at school, yet Halloween 1993 was on a Sunday.
The real Salem witch trials began during the first few months of 1692, and were finished by the October of that same year, though in the movie they state that the Sanderson sisters were hanged on October 31st, 1693.
Salem, Massachusetts does not have its own bus line. The Buses that go to around Salem are buses of the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) or known locally as the T.
New Zippo lighters don’t have any lighter fluid. You have to add it yourself. Max takes one off the rack in the Sanderson house, and lights it on the spot.
After Winifred dies, all of the spells she had cast were instantly lifted, except for Billy’s re-animation.
When in the cemetery for the first time, Winifred mocks Max by repeating “It’s only hocus pocus”. Since he said that before lighting the candle there is no way she could have known it was said.
When Winifred is looking through her spell book, some of the pages have the same text.
In earlier scenes before entering Max’s house, Allison’s forehead is clear. When she walks into Max’s house while the Dennison’s are calling for their parents, she has a smudge of dirt on her head.
When Sarah flies back to the house after singing her song, her costume has shifted and the right leg of her jean shorts beneath is clearly visible.
When Max first gives Allison his number, it is on the top left corner of a piece of notebook paper, where the holes are clearly visible, once they are outside and she returns the folded up piece of paper, you can tell that his number is now on the opposite side because of how it’s folded.
Immediately after “regaining” their youth, when Sarah Sanderson turns around and opens her mouth wide you can see one of Sarah Jessica Parker‘s fillings in the left of her lower jaw.
Crew or equipment visible
The goof items below may give away important plot points.
As Winnie is turned to stone, the statue is two-dimensional, with her features carved into a flat surface. In all subsequent shots, the statue is suddenly three-dimensional.
After Max untangles Dani towards the end of the movie, they get into a white SUV with Allison and head straight for the cemetery. However, once they get to the cemetery, the SUV is red.
Crew or equipment visible
After the witches are burned at the school and the kids return home they enter the dinning room. They call for their parents and if you look in the glass on the left you can see crew and the pole for the mike moving.
Errors in geography
The witches take Emily in the morning, However they are hanged (supposedly soon afterwards) at night. If it only took Thackery a short time to follow Sarah and Emily to the house then it shouldn’t have taken the town folk the better part of the day to arrive.
After the sisters suck the life out of Emily at the beginning of the movie, the girl in the chair moves her legs when they start to dance.