Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus 7What started out as a Disney Channel Original Movie would be viewed by executives as a goldmine and turned into a theatrical release that is now shown on ABC Family’s Thirteen Nights of Halloween every single year.

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Hocus Pocus 9Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are the Sanderson Sisters (Winifred, Mary, and Sarah specifically) and are finally revealed to be witches who must eat children every once in a while to maintain their power and beauty. Unfortunately, after kidnapping Emily Binx one year her brother Thackery (Sean Murray of NCIS fame) refuses to let them have her and goes to save her. But while he is too late to save his sister his sacrifice is what leads the sisters to being hanged by the townspeople. Of course, since they’re actual witches, they cast a spell that prophesies a virgin lighting a candle that resurrects them at some point in the future.

Hocus Pocus 2Rather than burn the house down, no doubt because they might have a virgin do it of course, the house is left standing in Salem, Massachusetts as a museum commemorating the Salem Witch Trials. Smart. Thackery (Voiced by Jason Marsden) sits over the house for all time, having been cursed into the form of a black cat and unable to die and rejoin his sister in heaven. One day, the Dennison Family move to Salem Dave, the dad (Charles Rocket) and Jenny, the mom (Stephanie Faracy) are hoping that getting away from Los Angeles will do something for their teenaged son Max (Omri Katz) and their young daughter Dani (Thora Birch). Because that always works out so well.

(GERMANY OUT) Hocus Pocus Kathy Najimy, Thora Birch, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler Auch Dani (Thora Birch,m), die Schwester von Max, brauchen die Hexen Mary (Kathy Majimy,l), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) und Winifred (Bette Midler,r) zum Leben. (Photo by United Archives/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

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Its Halloween in Salem and as Max finds himself crushing hard on Allison (Vinessa Shaw) in class and, after randomly accidentally ending up in her house while taking his sister trick or treating, he tries to impress her with his nonbelief in the Sanderson Sister myth. Funnily enough, from a Disney film, Max is revealed to be a virgin after lighting the candle and resurrecting the three witches who now must complete their goal or be left for dead for real this time. Hocus Pocus is a Halloween-theme movie and it takes great pleasure in this aspect of itself. With an ensemble cast consisting of three actresses most everyone knows and a few names who would go on to do important things, this film was an instant cult classic.

Hocus Pocus 5One other standout cast member who shows up partway through the film is the undead Billy Butcherson (played by Doug Jones). As Winifred’s ex-lover, caught in a tryst with Sarah of course, his death and subsequent loyalty to Winifred play out as one would expect.

The movie takes jabs at Christianity, somewhat subtly, and it truly plays up the belief that witches are servants of the devil for all that it is worth. Because it’s a comedy, it has the ability to do so and still take itself seriously when it needs to, and while it’s a children’s film it has elements of horror that are surprising for a children’s film, as well as a Disney film.


The Stepford Wives (2004)

The Stepford WivesThe Stepford Wives is a remake and while most remakes tend to be nothing more than an annoyance, this one is hilarious, entertaining, and brings its story to life in an awesome way.

The Stepford Wives 2Nicole Kidman plays Joanna Eberhart, a powerful, beautiful, successful business woman whose career takes a nosedive when the contestant of one her new pilots decides picking love over beautiful women while his wife chose a series of hot new men over him was reason enough to shoot a lot of people. Fired, shocked, and one crack away from a mental breakdown, her husband Walter (Matthew Broderick) decides that they should move away and start anew. The destination is Stepford, which seems eerily peaceful, serene, and perfect with elegantly dressed (and behaved) women, fun loving men who do nothing all day but golf, and overly large houses that put a new spin on McMansion. Claire Wellington (Glenn Close), the de facto woman in charge, introduces them to the new ways of Stepford and, with an eerie smile, welcomes them to their new home.

The Stepford Wives 3Not too long after this, Joanna meets Bobbie Markowitz (Bette Midler), a recovering alcoholic who has written at least one book that the film uses to measure her success, and Roger Bannister (Roger Bart) a rather flamboyant businessman who is also wildly successful. Much like Joanna, they are with less than stellar men, Dave Markowitz (Jon Lovitz) and Jerry Harmon (David Marshall Grant). The town of Stepford has a strange, dark secret of course, what with the women seemingly being perfect sex pots who dress well, act extremely demure, never talk back, and seem to dispense money from their mouths like an ATM.

The Stepford Wives 6The strange occurrences don’t go unnoticed by Joanna, Bobbie, and Roger and one by one their husbands become embroiled in the secrets of Stepford, possibly putting their lives in imminent danger.

Or are they?

As their husbands discover the secrets of Stepford, so too, do the wives as they investigate the town to try and figure out just what the hell is going on. Happening upon documents about the women, Joanna and the others are surprised to find out that these women aren’t just demure housewives, they’re powerful women with careers that truly make their husbands look lame by comparison.

The Stepford Wives 5The question remains as to why these women are acting so strangely subservient. Even when you know the secrets of Stepford, the movie is a grand experience filled with incredible actors, including Christopher Walken as Mike Wellington, the town’s mayor. It has great set pieces, an interesting score that sets the tone, and a superb storyline that is filled to the brim with laughs for the audience. So sit back, relax, and enjoy The Stepford Wives, because I know I’m going to.

The Stepford Wives 4Really, though, this scene was sadly hilarious.