On September 30, "Hocus Pocus 2" will crash-land on Disney+, and it already has a leg up on the first film, which hit theatres during the icky summer of 1993. Even comic witchy material just hits harder during the fall.
Thanks to DVD sales and many cable airings, the original "Hocus Pocus" has quietly gained cult status over the years, like a witch on a wobbly broom. The market for products has long been robust. You may buy candles, wine tumblers, cosmetics, and cardigans with "Hocus Pocus" themes.
Despite the negative reviews for the movie. It was "Harmlessly goofy yet never much more than mediocre," according to Rotten Tomatoes. In The Chicago Tribune, Gene Siskel was more critical and called it "dreadful." Some critics appeared startled that Sarah Jessica Parker, before her "Sex and the City" era, and Kathy Najimy, shortly after her "Sister Act" era, would sink to stupid acting in a demeaning children's film. The movie received one rating from Roger Ebert, who called it "confusing."
Is it frightful? No. Does it understand what terrifies us? Yes. The central theme of "Hocus Pocus" is the terror that children have of adults: they don't know what they're doing.
The Sanderson sisters are first introduced in "Hocus Pocus" when young Thackery Binx (Sean Murray) sees his younger sister Emily (Amanda Shepherd) being taken away to certain death in 1963 Massachusetts. He follows a trail to a cabin in the woods where he discovers Winnie (Midler), Sarah (Parker), and Mary (Najimy) using Emily as the secret child component in their elixir to remain youthful forever. The Sandersons are apprehended and executed by hanging, but not before turning Thackery into a black cat and curseing the community. It is prophesied that the sisters will be reborn if a virgin lights the Black Flame candle in their hut, setting up the film's central conflict.
Time travel to a windy Halloween afternoon in Salem in the 1990s, where a teacher is telling the Sanderson sisters' story to a class of students who are more rapt and ecstatic than any teenagers I've ever known. Max, the new youngster, who is compelled to take his sister Dani (the young Thora Birch) trick-or-treating, is the only one who isn't into it. Max is played by Omri Katz from the fantastic "Eerie Indiana." They cross paths with Allison, the wealthy woman Max has a thing on, while travelling (Vinessa Shaw). They all proceed to the Sandersons' cottage, which has been mistakenly turned into a museum. Max ignites the Black Flame candle in an effort to impress Allison. He is a virgin, the movie keeps repeating, and the Sandersons return.
Max, Allison, and Dani are by themselves for a significant portion of the first movie. They are joined by Binx, a cat who can talk, is incredibly knowledgeable, and has been keeping an eye on the sisters for decades. He is also immortal. The trio mostly faces off against the forces of darkness with the help of a charming zombie at the climax of the movie. A minimum of the forces of darkness. Winnie is tenacious, while Mary and Sarah are clumsy. They are looking for kids to use as the ingredients for evil spells.
If the children's parents were present, they could find this alarming.
Due to the fact that Dani's and Max's parents are attending a party, a large Halloween bash held at town hall, Max has been assigned the responsibility of trick-or-treating. A common theme in the eerie films of the 1980s and 1990s was being forced to babysit when you're a teenager who just wants to have fun. Films like "Labyrinth" and "Adventures in Babysitting" are prime examples of this cliche. While Max does not subject his younger sister to goblin attacks, he does involve her in his efforts to win Allison over and drive the resurrected Sanderson sisters away.
In essence, the parents are no longer an issue. You can't have fun, solve crimes, or put yourself in grave risk when your parents are nearby to scold you, call the police, or mend problems. Just ask Kevin McCallister, the Szalinski family, the Goonies, or any other unaccompanied small character in a movie. For example, in 2022's "The Cellar," the parents are at work and miss the supernatural battle; in "Labyrinth" and "Hocus Pocus," the parents are at play.
In addition to drinking, eating sweets, donning costumes, and generally acting like children on a holiday that is meant for kids, both Max's, Dani's, and Allison's parents are at parties. Even more, Allison's parents compel her to go (and dress up) their incredibly sophisticated party. Additionally, although Max's mother (Stephanie Faracy) wears a Madonna costume, his father ("Dadcula") dons a fanged outfit that is essentially a dad joke come to life. Madonna in a cone bra. This continues a regrettable trend frequently observed in films aimed towards children: breast jokes, as Entertainment Weekly notes, "Imagine if your mom dressed like Madge for Halloween." Funny how, until you show a story to your own child, you don't realise how sexually immature it was (how many times can they use the word "virgin" in one movie?). But inappropriateness also plays a role in the role switch. Not only are the parents absent, but they are also possessed and acting terribly.
To avoid the grossness of having drunk parents, the Sandersons cast a spell on the adults at town hall. They are wasteful and useless, but for magic.
Being unable to trust their parents or other adults to take good care of them might be one of the scariest things for a young child. The teenagers in "Hocus Pocus" are compelled to act as parents in their absence, much to Steve the beloved babysitter in "Stranger Things." Max must intervene to rescue the day. Years of remorse at not being able to save his own sister have been held by Binx; this burden shouldn't have been placed on him because he was still a toddler. His parents were not around. During a barn dance?
You can't get any less maternal than the Sanderson sisters, who not only don't have children, but also consume them. They also use kids for selfish, base motives like ageing themselves and living forever. The trio isn't particularly evil, but in their crooked, silly way, they offer women another path—not as moms, but as powerful magical beings.
The popular, if lighthearted movie similarly portrays a very genuine dread for kids: that nobody is in authority and that nobody, not even adults, know what to do.