"It's just a bunch of hocus pocus!"
The first time I saw Hocus Pocus, I was just a little kid (maybe five or six) and my sister and I saw it somewhere. We watched a VHS copy, because I grew up in the Dark Ages, and loved the movie. There was music, adventure, a talking cat, and all sorts of craziness. But then, I didn't know the movie's name. I didn't know anyone else who'd seen it. I thought my sister and I had dreamed it up and it didn't actually exist. Then we saw it at my cousin's house. It existed.
I absolutely, unequivocally love this movie. I'm glad that it's found a cult audience despite bombing in theaters. And yes, it has stood the test of time. I recently showed it to my niece and nephew and they enjoyed it. My niece, who is almost five, rarely sits still for an entire episode of Spongebob Squarepants, which is only twenty-five minutes long and her favorite television show. Hocus Pocus held her spellbound for an hour and a half. (Okay, her attention did waver a little until the witches showed up.) After she made sure to tell me how much she liked it.
Hocus Pocus isn't your standard Disney film. For one thing, most Disney films don't make multiple jokes about a teenage boy's virginity. (Parents, don't worry. They went over my head and my sister's when we were kids, and recently they went over my niece's head.) There's even a scene, watching as an adult, that I realized was a G-rated version of masturbation. And the Sanderson sisters are much scarier than most Disney villains. Hocus Pocus opens with the death of a young child and another tortured before being cursed. But that's part of what makes Hocus Pocus so much fun. It trusts it's audience. It's more funny than scary, but there's a real sense of darkness that sells the scary parts.
Plus, the cast is fantastic. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy are pitch perfect as the Sanderson sisters. Bette is menacing, vain, and gets to exhibit her amazing pipes. Sarah Jessica Parker is sexy, daffy, and absently vicious. Kathy Najimy's face is a wonder to behold. Omri Katz was familiar to me from Eerie, Indiana, one of my favorite childhood TV shows. He anchors the child actors, which included the cute-but-not-too-cute Thora Birch. And I still can't believe Thackery Binx (Sean Murray) is the guy from NCIS.
If you haven't seen this Halloween classic yet, watch it. Buy it for your kids. (Or your sibling's kids, whatever.) Watch it on Halloween. You can use it to start off a scary movie night, or as a break between two intense films. For the kids, pair it with films like The Nightmare Before Christmas or Coraline. I know lots of people watch it with Halloweentown. You really can't go wrong as long as you watch it.