Story by Elizabeth Schoof, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Disney Movies
Most movie reviews focus on the latest flicks to hit the theatre, but let’s be honest– there’s no better film to capture the essence of Halloween than “Hocus Pocus.” The film came out in 1993, a whopping five years before I was born, but it’s timeless. I have watched it religiously each October, since before I knew how to work the remote, and the mere thought of a remake leaves me on the edge of my seat.
For those that haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this Halloween classic, here’s a recap:
Max Dennison moves to Salem, Massachusetts with his family. He doesn’t fit in, primarily because he claims that Halloween is a holiday that was created by candy companies. He’s got a crush on a girl named Allison, but Allison thinks he’s a jerk because he dismisses Halloween as a sham (I can’t say that I blame her. Anyone who shames the idea of free candy needs to have their character looked at).
He runs into Allison later, while taking his sister Dani trick-or-treating, and she tells them the story of the Sanderson Sisters, a famous witch coven in Salem. They wreaked havoc during the Puritan era. Max decides that he is going to take both Allison and Dani to the Sanderson Sister’s cottage (previously made into a museum to preserve their story) and he’s going to prove that her story is just… hocus pocus. (Moral of the story: The worst way to impress a girl on your first date is to prove that everything she loves about her hometown is wrong.)
He lights “the black flame candle” and, because he is a virgin, successfully brings the sisters back from the dead (This is the one time in the history of scary movies that being a virgin backfires against the main character). The sisters; Winnifred, Mary, and Sarah, arise, and realize that they have one night to suck the life out of the children of Salem. If they succeed, they’ll be back for good, and so will their…. “good” looks (Folks, they’re from the times before plastic surgery. They didn’t know any better.)
With the help of Thackery Binx, a previous victim of the sisters–and also a talking cat, as well as an ex-boyfriend turned into a zombie, Max, Allison, and Dani race against time in their efforts to save Salem.
The film, though filled with the corny special effects that can only be found in early 90’s movies, is filled with laughs for people of all ages. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate more than just the lack of 20th century knowledge presented by the Sanderson Sisters. The cultural references as well as the many innuendos presented throughout the film make me laugh each and every time I watch the movie. It’s the perfect film for a family to sit down and watch after a long night of pumpkin carving or trick-or-treating.
I cannot fully express the extent to which I love this film. Personally, I think it’s got everything you could ask for in a movie. Comedic witches, a little teenage romance, brotherly-sisterly bonding, zombie-fighting action, and plenty of jump scares for those who love a little thrill. It has provided me with enough spooks to get into the Halloween spirit, but it’s never terrified me in the same way that other Halloween classics have. I think that this is one of my primary reasons for loving the film. It sets the tone for this time of year, and if you let it, this film will put a spell on you.
About the writer: Elizabeth Schoof is a sophomore at Aquinas studying English and Communications. She loves reading, writing, photography, and laughing at her own jokes.
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