200. Hocus Pocus

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Movie: Hocus Pocus

Release Date: July 16, 1993

Director: Kenny Ortega

Starring: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw.

Tag Lines: “It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!”

Relevance: ‘Hocus Pocus’ is one of those movies that I have seen so many times on so many different occasions, I can’t remember many specifics about the first time I actually watched it. The only thing I truly remember about that first time is that I knew it would be a movie that I would watch over and over on many different occasions.

I definitely rented ‘Hocus Pocus’ when it became available at my local Blockbuster store probably sometime in late 1993 or early 1994. The movie did not receive favorable reviews from critics and it was not a commercial success. Its quick in and out at the theater was probably one reason why I didn’t see it in theaters. That, as well as being a Disney release as I am not a huge fan of “the mouse.” My reason for renting it was most likely related to its stars as I adored both Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker. And I am glad that I did, because the movie, despite it being a “mouse” production, was love at first sight.

Campy, silly, stupid, Halloween related, Madonna referenced and great over-the-top performances, what more can one ask for in a movie? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. From its opening scene to the rolling credits, there wasn’t one scene in ‘Hocus Pocus’ that didn’t make me smile. I absolutely adored the film.

Over the years, ‘Hocus Pocus’ has become a huge cult classic thanks to its annual airings on Disney and ABC Family (Freeform) around Halloween. It is difficult to find anyone, no matter their age, who hasn’t seen the film at least once. Its even more difficult to find someone that doesn’t find at least one thing appealing about the film. It’s definitely hokey, but it is also fun and cute and charming enough to entertain parents and children alike. Even my twenty-three year old son, who doesn’t really like anything or anyone says, “It’s alright.” That’s a rave review coming from him. Trust me.

Today’s Thoughts: “Amok, amok, amok.”

If you think that the last time I watched ‘Hocus Pocus’ was last October, you would be correct. That is, me and probably a very high percentage of other people in the United States of America. Like Michael Meyers, the movie has become a staple of the Fall season. And it’s a movie I look forward to watching not once, not twice but numerous times before I go “Trick or Treating.”

Again I ask, what is not to love about this movie? Wonderfully directed by Kenny Ortega, the film is scary-silly fun. The cast is superb. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are all wonderful as are the kids that dominate most of the scenes. They are all likable enough to carry the film when the Sanderson sisters are not flying about. The cameos of Garry and Penny Marshall are an added delight and they pretty much steal that entire scene. It is one of those scenes in the movie that I look forward to every single time that I watch it.

‘Hocus Pocus’ has become one of my favorite films of all time and one that I can watch no matter the season. After watching it today however, I do have a strange urge to carve a pumpkin and go ask neighbors for some candy. With that said, I am sure I will be watching this movie again in the Fall at least a few more times, because that is what one does at Halloween. Watch ‘Hocus Pocus.’

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Disney+, DVD Availability.

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