Ceris' 31 Days of Horror Challenge: Day 1 - Hocus Pocus
So Adam has challenged me to watch all 31 Horror films from his recent blog post and I thought that as I am going to watch all of the films on the list, I would give you a review of each one from the perspective of someone who isn't a fan of the Horror genre, however as a drama graduate, enjoys the stories told and the production side of some of these films.
Now its safe to say I am not one for watching a horror film, the gore is boring, if its too realistic I keep thinking someone is going to burst in and kill me whenever I hear a noise and if its too spiritual I lie awake a night thinking something is watching me from the corner of my room and will possess me if I fall asleep. I know what your all thinking ..... it's going to be a long 31 days!
Art by Devon Whitehead
So to start my challenge, I had a fairly easy film to watch in the form of Hocus Pocus released the month after I was born in October 1993, and starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as Winifred, Mary and Sarah Sanderson. I'm not going to lie the character of Sarah really creeps me out, she seems somewhat deranged with her cutesy demeanour.
The story tells of the three Sanderson sisters who were hung in Salem in 1693 because they were witches who were essentially stealing the youth from children to make themselves look younger and prettier, although I think it would take a lot of work for Winifred to do something about those teeth! The start of the film is a little bit slow if I'm honest however it introduces the sisters and their story well and leads nicely into the main part of the film.
Skip forward 300 years to 1993, and as soon as Max asked Allison to show him the Sanderson house I knew it was only going to end badly. A virgin, who finds a lighter in the house on All Hallows Eve, as soon as he went toward the candle I was like what a dick! Anyway the sisters are back but the 20th Century doesn't suit them well. Their run ins with the local children, the local bus company and a kiln add a nice element of comedy into the film and Kath Najimy's comedy timing is perfect in portraying Mary, the slightly loony but loveable sister. I didn't quite understand the scene in the Halloween party with all the parents but any excuse for Bette Midler to belt out a song and I'm in!
A big part of the story is Winifred's spell book and I can't be the only person who finds the eye a little bit creepy? After Max and Allison think that the witches died in the giant Kiln they open the book to try and make the cat a human again - the cat that defo has more than 9 lives in this film - the book decides to give them away by shining a bright beacon into the sky which I feel is the ultimate betrayal in this film. With Dani kidnapped yet again, the ingenious move of pretending sunrise came early along with the sisters oh so dramatic non-death scene, I thought surely this was it for the wicked witches of the west, but alas I was wrong.
We now find ourselves in the graveyard with Dani in a grave surround by salt and Max swinging a bat at anything that moves. Once again nine lives dies, and Dani decides that she fancies living life of the edge, steps out of the protective salt circle and gets captured again, this kid was giving me heart palpitations throughout this film, just sit down and do what you're told hun! At this point Max becomes the hero by sacrificing himself by drinking what I think was actually a shot of apple sours, but it does the trick and with the sunrising, the witches are turned into dust!
Overall I enjoyed the film and its a nice funny, family friendly film that I would happily watch again.
Hocus Pocus is available to watch via Disney+