Hocus Pocus (1993) - Kenny Ortega


A Fun movie for the entire family!

Director: Kenny Ortega

Producer: Steven Haft and David Kirschner

Writers: Neil Cuthbert and Mick Garris

Starring: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Release Date: July 16, 1993

Country: United States

Budget: $28 million

Box Office: $39.5 million


Hocus Pocus is a comedic horror movie from director Kenny Ortega. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, and Thora Birch. It was released on July 16, 1993 by Walt Disney Pictures to less than favorable reviews. However, over the years, the film had become a bit of a cult picture and quite popular among kids. I remember seeing this multiple times on the Disney Channel and those other family-friendly networks.

After 300 years a villainous trio of witches, known as the Sanderson Sisters, are reawakened by the dorky Max from Hollywood. After Max lights the Black Flame Candle, now the Sisters have until sunrise to get their immortality back. However, our hero Max, his little sister Dani, his love interest Allison, and a 300-year-old cat are going to save the day. Hopefully.

While this is a family film from Walt Disney, it has a surprisingly good amount of adult humor. Really good. I am always surprised by the things this movie gets away with. The double-entendres are everywhere, especially from Sarah Jessica Parker’s character. The bus scene, in particular, had me keeled over with laughter. The Sanderson’s say they want children and the bus driver replies “...well it might take me a couple of tries!” That line had me dying. But it’s safe to say that this movie knows it's limited.

Hocus Pocus is great for what it is. The acting isn’t amazing or anything, but Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy do an amazing job as the Sanderson Sisters. Each one has their quirks. But Bette Midler steals the show. Her character work as the dastardly witch, Winnie Sanderson, was so good that she revisits the character now during her stage shows. The “I Put a Spell on You” number has been stuck in my head the entire night!

I had a great time watching this. Hocus Pocus is fun for everyone. It’s not scary. If you’re looking for blood and guts, it’s not going to be here. But surprisingly they do explore some pretty graphic situations. It’s a great movie to watch with the kids.