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Hocus Pocus is the best children’s halloween film

Hocus Pocus is a near-perfect blend of iconic performances and  poignant themes.
Illustration: Rigby Guerrero · The Sentry

It’s tragically underrated and overlooked

Once the time of spooky season is upon the human race, it’s always about the scares, the treats, and the occasional argument on whether The Nightmare Before Christmas should be watched now or later because it is the “supreme” movie of the season. However, that is not the case – the supreme movie part at leastThe Nightmare Before Christmas is great, but in all reality, the true supreme and classic film that needs to be watched during the month of October is Hocus Pocus. 

The 1993 Disney film features a plethora of talented actors and actresses, such as Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Omri Katz. Taking place in the historical town of Salem, Massachusetts, newly resided Max Dennison (Katz), his sister, Dani (Thora Birch), and friend, Allison (Vinessa Shaw), accidently awaken a coven of witches known as the Sanderson Sisters. Lead by their leader (Midler), the trio of witch sisters hunt children to keep themselves young forever while Max and his group find a way to stop them from causing harm to any of the residents of Salem. 

Hocus Pocus, for it being a 90’s Disney film, consists of a fun, yet dark essence when thinking about the movie as a whole. The fact that it’s a children’s movie and deals with different aspects of death (i.e. children having the souls sucked out of them by the witches) is one of the reasons why it is a great Halloween movie to watch. In fact, even one of the supporting characters, Thackery Binx (Sean Murray) was a boy who was cursed with being a cat after watching his sister get killed by the Sanderson Sisters. 

Though within the darkness that this film holds, there are good themes being portrayed, such as family and the bond of siblings. Binx and his sister’s bond spans centuries while the two main characters, Max and Dani, echo the same bond in the present period. Even the three villains are sisters that look out for each other. 

Bette Midler’s portrayal of the lead Sanderson Sister is just as iconic as Jack Skellington. Her rendition of “I Put A Spell on You” in the film become so popular that it is now a staple of her discography. Her performance is as popular, if not more popular than the original 1956 version. It’s on everyone’s Halloween playlist. 

Also, Hocus Pocus is literally about Halloween and takes place during the festivities of the night. Besides the opening scene, which takes place during the witch trials, the movie is all in one unholy day. Meanwhile, The Nightmare Before Christmas doesn’t actually display the events of Halloween besides the opening scene. It rather deals more with the Christmas aspect if anything else throughout the film. 

Overall, there is too much Jack and Sally and not enough Sanderson Sisters lining the walls of Hot Topic. This 90’s classic is overshadowed by the mega-popularity of The Nightmare Before Christmas, which came out in the same year. Because of this, Hocus Pocus doesn’t get the credit it deserves. 

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