It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus

Emma Costigan

As the evenings grow darker and colder, there’s one thing on everyone’s mind – snuggling up with a hot chocolate, and a Halloween movie to ring in the season.

“Hocus Pocus” is the perfect encapsulation of Halloween. Hilariously funny in its portrayal of the Sanderson sisters, the 1993 movie is a staple for all the Spooky Season lovers out there.

From the way they walk, to the way they talk, the Sanderson sisters are a laughing stock throughout the entirety of the film. They consistently fight with each other, passing snide comments, or lashing out at one another, taking sibling arguments to another level.

Sarah Jessica Parker portrays her character, Sarah Sanderson, without flaw, the airhead of the coven, Parker slightly mimics the squeaky-voiced, fairy ghost from “Scrooged” (1988) played by Carol Kane, five years prior. Intermittently, she lightens the mood with her ditsy remarks and obsession with boys. On the other hand, Kathy Najimy holds her own as Mary Sanderson, rebutting everything her sisters say with rambling, and goofy answers.

Meanwhile Winifred Sanderson (Bette Midler), steals the spotlight away from her sisters with her outrageous look and shrill voice. We can immediately tell that she has control over the other two witches, clearly seen when we discover that she had sewn her ex-lover’s mouth shut, following his infidelity with her sister, Sarah. Her stubbornness is eventually what leads to the defeat of the sisters.

It cleverly incorporates all the elements of a classic Disney film. The plotline centres around the young heroes: Max Dennison, his little sister Dani, and their friend Allison. We, as viewers are brought along on their journey that Halloween night, through all the obstacles they face and overcome. The protagonists are accompanied by a faithful sidekick early on, a talking cat named Binx, who himself has been cursed by the Sandersons.

Throughout the film, we see love flourishing – in every aspect. The familial love between Max and Dani grows immensely from the beginning of the movie when he refuses to bring her trick-or-treating, and shouts at her to leave his room. At the same time, we see love blossoming between Max and Allison. Of course, there is also the ultimate tell-tale sign that this is a Disney movie – the standout songs: Midler’s show-stealing “I Put A Spell On You”, and Parker’s enchanting “Come Little Children”.

“Hocus Pocus” squashes the disbelief in the supernatural, which is what makes it the epitome of Halloween. Max disregards Allison’s superstitious tales of a deceased coven of witches, saying “It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus.” In a twist of events, he accidentally releases the Sanderson sisters on Halloween night, 300 years after they were vanquished. When the children run to their parents for help, they don’t believe what they’re saying and brush it off, “How much candy have you had?” Following these events, Max is inevitably converted into a believer of all things magic.

The extravagant Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash celebrated 25 years of the cult classic in 2018. The film is enjoyed by children and adults alike to this day. It truly is timeless.

Emma Costigan

Image Credit: Disney