ABC throws back to ’90s with ‘Hocus Pocus’

ABC throws back to '90s with 'Hocus Pocus'

The season of goblins, ghouls and witches is coming to a close. With only three days until Halloween, the frenzy of finishing costumes and stocking up on tooth-decaying candy is in full swing. With all the chaotic and spook-tacular events happening, there are but a few staples to hold on to for a brisk fall night.

Corn mazes, haunted hay rides and pumpkin carving all fit the bill for a classic fall evening, but for many, ABC Family’s “13 Nights of Halloween” is essential for Halloween festivities. Among the lineup, which includes Halloween must-sees such as “Corpse Bride,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and “The Addams Family,”  one movie clearly reigns supreme.

“Hocus Pocus,” the tale of the Sanderson sisters who rose from the dead to fulfill their spell of immortality, is scheduled more than any other movie for the “13 Nights of Halloween” special. Even ABC Family’s Facebook page has separate lists of when just “Hocus Pocus,” is playing, an honor only bestowed upon “Hocus Pocus,” and none of the other “13 Nights of Halloween” movies.

Although over two decades old, “Hocus Pocus” has managed to become a sort of cult classic. What about this movie keeps it so high in people’s scopes?

The tale takes place in Salem, Mass., which feeds the baseline around the Sanderson sisters, who are convicted of witchcraft and hanged, just around the time when the real Salem witch trials were occurring. But before the noose does its duty, the sisters cast a spell that puts them in a limbo, so to speak.

Fast forward to 1993, where cool cat Max Dennison unleashes his cynicism and skepticism on the small town. He lights the black flame candle, activating the spell that brings the sisters back for one night. What ensues is both a race against time and the evil Sanderson sisters.

It feeds both the desire for something eerie as well as something funny and good-hearted. There always has been and always will be a fear of the occult amongst the masses. “Hocus Pocus” stretches the reality of the Salem witch trials to the fantasized world of magic, where evil witches do suck the souls of little children. Seeing a raised-from-the-dead trio of witches stuck in a kiln with nothing but the company of a tape translating French, however, takes the witches into a realm of family-friendly humor people from all ages can appreciate.

Of course, the movie ends all hunky-dory. But seeing Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy turned to stone is a moment of mixed emotions. Yes, it is good to not have Satan’s comrades roaming around Salem anymore, but they somehow captured our hearts along the way.

 

CASSIE BIELECKI

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