Hocus Pocus (1993 film)

Hocus Pocus
Hocuspocusposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
by Drew Struzan
Directed byKenny Ortega
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Mick Garris
  • David Kirschner
Starring
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyHiro Narita
Edited byPeter E. Berger
Production
company
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • July 16, 1993 (1993-07-16)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$28 million
Box office$39.5 million[2]

Hocus Pocus is a 1993 American comedy horror fantasy film directed by Kenny Ortega, starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker; written by Neil Cuthbert and Mick Garris, and based on a story by Garris and David Kirschner. It follows a villainous trio of witches, who are inadvertently resurrected by a teenage boy in Salem, Massachusetts.

Although it was not a critical or commercial success when it was first released, Hocus Pocus has become a cult film,[3] largely from annual airings on the Disney Channel and Freeform (formerly ABC Family).

Plot

On October 31, 1693 near Salem, Massachusetts, Thackery Binx sees his little sister, Emily, spirited away to the cottage of three witches. There, the Sanderson sisters, Winifred, Sarah and Mary, cast a spell on Emily to absorb her youth and regain their own, killing her in the process. Thackery confronts the witches who transform him into an immortal black cat to live with his guilt for not saving Emily. The townsfolk, led by Binx's father, capture the witches. But before being hanged, Winifred's spellbook casts a curse that will resurrect the witches during a full moon on All Hallows' Eve when any virgin lights the Black Flame Candle. Thackery guards the cottage to ensure no one summons the witches.

300 years later (Halloween 1993), Max Dennison is feeling unsettled from his family's sudden move from Los Angeles to Salem. Max takes his younger sister Dani trick-or-treating, where they run into Max's new crush Allison. Allison mentions that her family owns the Sanderson cottage as a museum. Max, in an effort to impress Allison, invites her to show him the Sanderson house to convince him that the witches were real.

Investigating inside the cottage, Max lights the Black Flame Candle and inadvertently resurrects the witches, who plot to continue their plan to suck out the souls of all of Salem's children, beginning with Dani. Escaping, Max steals Winifred's spellbook on advice from Thackery. The witches pursue them to a cemetery, where Winifred raises her unfaithful lover Billy Butcherson as a zombie to chase them on foot. The witches try to acclimate to the 20th century, but are horrified when they discover Halloween has become a holiday. The witches plan to achieve their goals or they will be disintegrated at sunrise. They pursue the children across town using Mary's enhanced sense of smell. Max, Allison and Dani find their parents at a Halloween party at the town hall, where Winifred enchants the partygoers to dance and sing until they die. At Jacob Bailey High School, the children trap the witches in a kiln to burn them alive. While celebrating, the witches' curse revives them again. Not realizing that the witches haven't truly died, Max and Allison open the spellbook in an effort to reverse the spell on Binx. The open spellbook reveals the location of the group, and the witches track them down and kidnap Dani. Sarah then uses her siren-like singing to mesmerize Salem's children, luring them to the Sandersons' cottage. Max and Allison rescue Dani and Thackery by tricking the witches into believing sunrise came an hour early.

Back at the cemetery, Max runs into Billy, who cuts open his stitched up mouth and insults Winifred, joining Max to protect Dani. The witches attack and Winifred attempts to suck out the soul from Dani with the single vial of potion she retrieved from her cauldron. Thackery leaps on Winifred and knocks the potion out of her hand into Max's, but is then thrown to the ground and mortally wounded. Rather than smashing the vial, Max drinks it in order to force the witches to take him instead of Dani. The sun rises just as Winifred is about to finish draining Max's life force, and due to standing on hallowed ground in the cemetery, she turns into a stone statue, before she is disintegrated into dust along with her sisters.

With the witches now gone, a satisfied Billy returns to his grave and Thackery dies, freeing his soul. He thanks Max, Dani and Allison for their help, and bids farewell to them, before he and Emily walk into the afterlife. As the end credits begin, the exhausted partygoers are freed from the spell and return home. Meanwhile, at the Sandersons' cottage, Jay and Ernie, two male bullies who earlier tormented Max and Dani, remain imprisoned in their cages while passing the time singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat". The film ends with Winnie's spellbook opening its eye.