HOCUS POCUS (1993)

Directed By: Kenny Ortega

Written By: Mick Garris & Neil Cuthbert

Story by: Mick Garris & David Kirschner 

Cinematography: Hiro Narita 

Editor: Peter R. Berger 

Cast: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, Vanessa Shaw, Larry Bagby, Doug Jones, Charles Rocket, Sean Murray, Kathleen Freeman 

A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.


This film has garnered a cult following over the years. Unfortunately, I am not one of that crowd. Even though when it came out I was really looking forward to seeing it. 

By all means, this is a film one should hate, but I don’t. It’s not good but it is cute. Perfect for kids who should love it as it fits in with what would seem to be their fantasy. Mildly scary but not violent and it also includes all the ghostly elements of monsters. Not to mention that is who the film is made for.

It also is a throwback to when movies came out aimed at them that were goofy and maybe simple but relied on stars and not so many special effects.

Another reason it’s not a total failure is that it’s almost like watching a bunch of adults playing dress-up. The three main antagonists Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a coven of witches watching them. As the witches from the past getting acquainted with modern times and mindsets are silly.

One can admit to having a weakness for Bette Midler movies. Just as some people have a weakness for Barbara Streisand movies. She is just an amazing performer and even as ridiculous as this is. She puts her all into it and seems to be having fun. Her and the cast are the reasons I even watched the film in the first place.

One of the reasons she did this film supposedly is that she passed in the film SISTER ACT. Which revitalized Whoopi Goldberg’s career so she took this hoping for a smash hit. Unfortunately, it bombed and it’s been rare that she has really been on-screen since. Yet over the years, it has become a cult classic.

The film is dated and gaudy but good for children. As it is simple and colorful. If it was made now it would have been a film that would have been a Disney channel original movie.

definitely, a children’s film that tries to be a bigger feature and modernized but ultimately is more a fairy tale or bedtime stories strictly for kids. There is nothing wrong with that. So that it is perfect for it’s core audience.

Directed by Kenny Ortega the movie has certain rhythms which other than having Bette Midler as the star there is a bunch of scenes that revolve around singing or music or group scenes of dancing or crowds moving together.

This is pretty much a Disney original movie you would normally see on their channel. Only at the time when they still made these features for theaters and got big stars to headline. So much bigger-budgeted and higher expectations. So at least it offers a family Film

It has an innocence yet remains dark to a degree. It’s a fun film that never quite got it’s due but finally seems to gain an audience every year due to it being entertaining. You can’t be cynical or dark. Go into this movie or you will miss It’s appeal and nuances

It has a feckless teenage romance story in it that goes nowhere except to maybe appeal to that demographic. Who wouldn’t be going to see this film anyway unless forced to. In the end, the film is perfectly harmless. 

Wait for it on cable or even television, but even they don’t play it that much. But really it’s a movie where looking at the poster you know what you are getting yourself into.

Grade: C+

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