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Why "Hocus Pocus" Continues Putting a Spell on Us

Halloween will soon be upon us and with it, classic Halloween films. Ask anyone who grew up in the 1990s or early 2000s what their first or favorite Halloween films were, and Hocus Pocus will probably top the list. With three incredible lead actresses (Bette Middler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker), quotable lines, and bewitching songs, the film will probably endure much longer than the Sanderson sisters.

This said, many critics feel Hocus Pocus is overrated and too campy. It’s not necessarily scary, unless you’re around little Dani’s age (played by Thora Birch). Many critics are unsure why a Disney movie aimed at kids and tweens talks so much about virginity and sex. Others claim that though they try, the Sanderson sisters just aren’t that funny.

So what’s the truth behind Hocus Pocus? What makes it good? If the elements listed above are not done well, what is (or is the film scarier, funnier, or smarter than we give it credit for)? Did the three lead actresses give their best or sell themselves short/"phone it in?" Discuss.

  • I've always been mystified by the popularity of this film. A critical discussion about its craft and elements would be very interesting. Perhaps, this exploration could increase my appreciation of this quirky romp. – L Squared 4 years ago
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  • I watched it last year to see what all the fuss was about (saw it as a kid, but in an elementary cafeteria with poor acoustics, so I didn't hear/understand a thing). IMHO, some parts are good but it's not the A+ film a lot of people seem to think it is. I'd argue that with films like this, the nostalgia filter blinds viewers to certain flaws. Of course, that could be good or bad. – Stephanie M. 4 years ago
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  • Definitely need to address nostalgia goggles and how the new generations react to this without that previous experience. – AGMacdonald 4 years ago
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