Hocus Pocus (1993)

On October 31, 1693, near Salem, Massachusetts, Thackery Binx (Sean Murray) sees his little sister, Emily (Amanda Shepard), spirited away to the cottage of three witches. There, the Sanderson sisters, Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Majimy), cast a spell on Emily to absorb her youth and regain their own, killing her in the process. Thackery confronts the witches who transform him into an immortal black cat cursed to live forever with his guilt for not saving Emily. The townsfolk, led by Binx’s father, capture the witches. But before being hanged, Winifred’s spellbook casts a curse that will resurrect the witches during a full moon on All Hallows’ Eve when any virgin lights the Black Flame Candle. Unable to convince his father of his true identity as a cat, Thackery guards the cottage to ensure no one summons the witches.

Three hundred years later, on October 31, 1993, on Halloween, Max Dennison (Omri Katz) is feeling unsettled from his family’s sudden move from Los Angeles, California, to Salem, Massachusetts. Max takes his younger sister Dani (Thora Birch) trick-or-treating, where they run into Max’s new crush Allison (Vinessa Shaw). Allison mentions that her family owns the Sanderson cottage as a museum. Max, in an effort to impress Allison, invites her to show him the Sanderson house to convince him that the witches were real.

Investigating inside the cottage, Max lights the Black Flame Candle and inadvertently resurrects the witches, who must continue to suck the souls of every child in Salem to continue living, or else they disintegrate. The witches attempt to suck the soul of Dani, but Max comes to her rescue. Escaping, Max steals Winifred’s spellbook on advice from Thackery. The witches pursue them to a cemetery, where Winifred raises her unfaithful lover Billy Butcherson as a zombie to chase them on foot.

The witches try to acclimate to the 20th century, but are horrified when they discover Halloween has become a holiday. They pursue the children across town using Mary’s enhanced sense of smell. Max, Allison, and Dani find their parents at a Halloween party at the town hall, where Winifred enchants the partygoers to dance until they die. At Jacob Bailey High School, the children trap the witches in a kiln to burn them alive. While celebrating, the witches’ curse revives them again. 

Not realizing that the witches haven’t truly died, Max and Allison open the spellbook in an effort to reverse the spell on Binx. The open spellbook reveals the location of the group, and the witches track them down and kidnap Dani and Thackery, and get the book back. Sarah then uses her siren-like singing to mesmerize Salem’s children, luring them to the Sandersons’ cottage. Max and Allison rescue Dani and Thackery by tricking the witches into believing sunrise came an hour early.

Back at the cemetery, Max runs into Billy (Doug Jones), who cuts open his stitched up mouth and insults Winifred, joining Max to protect Dani. The witches attack and Winifred attempts to suck out the soul from Dani with the single vial of potion she retrieved from her cauldron. Thackery leaps on Winifred and knocks the potion out of her hand into Max’s, but is then thrown to the ground and injured at the spot where his sister Emily’s grave is. Rather than smashing the vial, Max drinks it in order to force the witches to take him instead of Dani. The sun rises just as Winifred is about to finish draining Max’s life force, and due to standing on hallowed ground in the cemetery, she turns into a stone statue, before she is disintegrated into dust along with her sisters.

With the witches gone, Max, Dani, and Allison say goodbye to Billy Butcherson as he returns the grave and gets to sleep. Thackery Binx finally dies, freeing his soul. Appearing as a spectral, Thackery Binx thanks Max, Dani and Allison for their help, and bids farewell to them before reuniting with the spirit of his little sister Emily. A gate door opens and Thackery and Emily walk through it out to heaven, fading away as the gate door closes and Max, Dani, and Allison happily watch them depart.

As the end credits begin, the exhausted partygoers, including Max and Dani’s parents, Dave and Jenny, are freed from the now-broken spell and return home, oblivious to their enchantment. Meanwhile, at the Sandersons’ cottage, Jay and Ice, two bullies who earlier tormented Max and Dani and were captured by the witches after inadvertently insulting them, remain imprisoned in their cages and sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to pass the time. The film ends with Winnie’s spellbook opening its eye, revealing it is still alive and the witches could possibly return again.

Another fun Disney from Disney. Back in 1993, it actually wasn’t that popular, shockingly. It is a hit or miss for many. Personally I didn’t enjoy it as much as I do now. My cousin was obsessed with Hocus Pocus when we were kids, so I remember many of her parties were watching Hocus Pocus at Two Boots on 3rd street and Avenue A (only reason I know that is because it is still there). Anyway, now it is a must on my Halloween watch list every year but I can’t do it more than once. The crazy thing is, I remember going to Salem back in 2006. Another place on my ghost hunting, and wanting to visit during halloween list. I would also love a Hocus Pocus 2. And Binx the black cat reminds me of Salem the cat from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Who wants to get me a black cat? Just kidding, as if I didn’t have enough. Anyway, singing off with my favorite scene

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