Silly? Yes. Funny. Somewhat. Too scary for young kids? Nope. Hocus Pocus (1993) is just plain entertaining. Bette Middler’s performance is completely over the top, but perfect for a film that is weak in the script department, the laughs sometimes miss, and is not really scary enough to be a scary movie. Sort of along the same lines of film as Ghostbusters, but with fewer out loud laughing moments, that is only saved by performances that far exceed those of Bill Murray and company.
In the year 1693 the Sanderson sisters, Winifred, Mary and Sarah (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker) were hanged for being witches. Just before their hanging, Winifred’s spell book allows her to cast one more spell, a curse that when a virgin lights the black flame candle on Halloween light, they will return.
Fast forward to 300 years later, Max (Omri Katz) on a late night excursion to the closed “museum” of the Sanderson sisters, decides to light the candle in order to scare his irritating sister Dani (Thora Birch) and his wannabe girlfriend Alison (Vinessa Shaw), enabling the sisters to return.
The fun ensues as the kids try to set things right, and the witches learn to deal with modern day Salem while attempting to create the potion that will enable them to suck the lives out of all the children in Salem. Now, the three Witches are back ready for a night of fun, magic and horror in the now modern area of Salem.
Not quite the classic children’s movie, like It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, but a lot more fun than some others, especially if you have little ones that aren’t ready for really scary Halloween films.