Movie Analysis: ‘Hocus Pocus’

Spooky season has started. Though COVID-19 is keeping us apart, we can still celebrate separately. “Hocus Pocus” is one of the most iconic and recognizable Halloween movies of all time.

Hocus Pocus has quickly become a cult classic. Image courtesy of

“Hocus Pocus” was released in1993. That’s right, it wasn’t even released during the Halloween season. It was directed by Kenny Ortega, who also directed all of the “Highschool Musical” movies as well as the movie adaptation of “Newsies.”

The writers of “Hocus Pocus” are David Kirschner and Mick Garris. Kirschner told reporters that he made up the story of “Hocus Pocus” while telling a bedtime story to his daughters, According to Yahoo Entertainment.

The storyline on IMDB for Hocus Pocus reads, “300 years have passed since the Sanderson sisters were executed for practicing dark witchcraft. Returning to life thanks to a combination of a spell spoken before their demise and the accidental actions of Max, the new kid in town, the sisters have but one night to secure their continuing existence.” The budget for this film was $28 million, but it grossed only $8 million in its opening weekend.

Hocus Pocus stars Sara Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson, Bette Milder as Winifred Sanderson and Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson. Each sister is known for their own little thing, such as Sarah’s ability to sing to lure the children to the cottage, Mary’s ability to sniff out the children and Winifred (also known as Winnie in the movie) makes the potions and control over the book.

Image courtesy of

“Hocus Pocus” won the Best Costumes award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. The actress who plays Dani, who is the young sister in the movie, also won an award for her role in “Hocus Pocus” for Best Youth Actress in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture Comedy.

There are so many twists and turns with overtones of whimsy and mystery. I’ve personally seen this movie over 20 times and I still get a laugh out of it. Even though its special effects and acting are a little dated, it makes up for it with its clever storytelling.

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Several times throughout the movie you think it’s about to end, but just when you think the characters solved the problem, the rug gets pulled out from under them. I don’t see a lot of movies that do that nowadays and that do it as effortlessly as “Hocus Pocus.”

It’s wild to think that when this movie first got released it didn’t make much money back, nor was it well received. This film is great for the whole family and a great way to start out the spooky season.

Do you have any recommendations on what films I should look into next? Send your suggestions to [email protected]