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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

229

Remembering 'Hocus Pocus'

I have never owned Hocus Pocus. Even when viewing it for the nth time last week, I paid $1.99 for a 48-hour rental from Amazon’s Instant Video service. The act of renting Hocus Pocus — giving it a temporary home one evening during the month of October — feels as tied to Halloween as the movie itself. It’s not a movie you keep, but instead one you revisit every year out of obligation to your childhood. You seek it out. You enjoy it. You put it away. Because what is this holiday but candy, the color orange, pumpkin spice fill-in-the-blank, costumes, and family fantasy movies starring Bette Midler? Yes, Hocus Pocus is an important part of this holiday, but it’s also a Disney movie about a three sister cannibals who come back to life because a virgin lights a candle. And that’s weird.

Hocus Pocus begins with a brief prologue, set in 17th-century Salem, in which the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimi, and Sarah Jessica Parker as themselves) are hanged after sucking the life out of a nice little girl named Emily. Her brother Thackeray’s failed attempt to save her leaves him directly in the witches’ crosshairs, so they decide to turn him into an immortal cat because apparently that’s punishment. The sisters are quickly caught and hanged, but not before casting a spell that will resurrect them if some kind of demon candle is lit by a virgin during a full moon on Halloween. Whether or not the witches count hand and mouth stuff as actual sex is not explained, but let’s just assume that yes, they do. After all, they do in real life. Because it’s all sex, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s all risky. So be safe. Didn’t you read about that new antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhea that’s highly contagious through oral sex? I didn’t, but someone who did read it told me about it. And it’s serious. You should be scared. By all means, have fun! Just be safe.

After this violent setup, we jump to 1993, where Salem is preparing for Halloween just as some tie-dye-wearing kid from California and his little sister saunter into town. His name is Max and he is a virgin. We know this because the movie is very insistent on reminding its audience of his virginity, regardless of how uncomfortable the constant mention of a teenager’s virginity makes us. Max’s sister’s name is Dani and her virginity is thankfully never speculated upon. Meanwhile, Max has a crush on a girl named Allison (whose non-virgin status is implied, but now I’m uncomfortable), is bullied by someone who goes by “Ice” (an actor who looks like a young Randy Quaid, and whose virginity status irrelevant), and hates his parents (both sexual maniacs) for moving from the chilliest state in the country to a town known for witches and its inhabitants’ obsession with virgins. Once everyone is adequately introduced, Max reluctantly agrees to take Dani trick or treating and, after being joined by Allison early in the evening, the three head to the still-standing home of the Sanderson sisters so the virgin can prove just how brave and masculine he is to the probably-not-a-virgin.

And now the movie can really pick up steam. Thackery, the immortal cat, fails to stop Max from lighting the candle, so Bette, Kathy, and Sarah return from the dead. The movie’s pacing is one of its most admirable attributes. At just 90 minutes, there’s almost no downtime, and the draw of the Bette/Kathy/Sarah trio was obviously well understood by the film’s producers; they’re onscreen often and for extended periods of time. Even as a kid I watched Hocus Pocus to see Bette Midler, not the children at the heart of Disney’s demo. (I was also the little boy who watched Big Business as often as most kids my age were watching The Land Before Time, so, there you have it.) The point is, they’re perfectly cast and genuinely funny. While watching it last week I was surprised by how often I laughed out loud at their sisterly bickering and futile attempts at adjusting to a future in which people run amok (amok amok amok!) on a day they all revere. As an audience, you almost want them to win — even if winning involves cannibalism. They’re not pleasant or forgiving witches — they’re followers of Satan who lock kids in cages, slam them against walls, shoot electric bolts into their hearts, and openly discuss plans to eat them while reading from a spell book made of human flesh. With this kind of evil at the forefront, the stakes in Hocus Pocus are unusually high for a family film. If Max, Dani, and Allison don’t succeed, the witches will literally suck the life out of every child in Salem.

But Bette, Kathy, and Sarah aren’t always focused on killing children. Hocus Pocus’ funniest and most memorable moments involve the witches attempting to make sense of modern life. After Max calls a fire sprinkler the “black rain of death,” they hide in terror until realizing that “’tis but water.” When their 17th-century brooms are stolen, they improvise with a modern broom, mop, and vacuum that mysteriously turns on even when not plugged in. And when a young girl in an angel costume curtsies and blesses them, they shriek. They even take a fulfill Midler’s contractually obligated song-per-movie policy by singing “I Put a Spell on You” at a high school gymnasium. But the film’s funniest, most bizarre scene (and one that deserves 1,000 words of its own) is something that would feel out of place in any film, let alone a family fantasy released by Disney. It occurs when they notice an old man dressed as Satan (Garry Marshall — I’ll refer to him Garry) handing out candy in front of his home. Convinced that he is the actual Dark Lord and not just Garry Marshall, they follow him inside and begin to do what can only be described as awkward flirting. Wearing curlers the witches interpret as the hair of Medusa, his wife (inexplicably and disgustingly played by Penny Marshall — Garry’s IRL sister) quickly becomes annoyed by the witches and heads upstairs. Kathy watches television and screams at a commercial featuring a running baby, Bette mistakes a kitchen for a torture chamber, and Sarah dances with the man she believes is Satan, making the kind of sexual advances Garry Marshall has probably been receiving since reaching his sexual peak 100 years ago. When Penny walks in on the sensual demon-dancing, she kicks the hags out. Why the witches don't just kill her is unexplained, as is the reason a casting director would cast a brother and sister as a sexually frustrated husband and wife. It’s a weird moment, but it’s also the film’s best.

And then the sun rises, the witches die, Thackary’s spirit is finally released, and he reunites with his sister (who has apparently been waiting patiently for 300 years because the Binxes are a family that refuses to move on). The virgin? He lives. The probably-not-a-virgin? She lives too. Thora Birch? She goes on to star in American Beauty. American Beauty? Initially acclaimed, yet currently maligned. And what about us? We put Hocus Pocus away, spend a year remembering it as something much lighter, and return to it the following October, when we’ll be surprised and comforted by its weirdness.

Previously: The 42 Best Movie Couples of 1993.

Also: You can watch Hocus Pocus in its entirety on YouTube. Right now.

Bobby Finger wants Apple O’s, gummy worms, and Reese’s Pieces or get out of my face. 



229 Comments / Post A Comment

evil melis

THANK YOU for addressing the fact that being an immortal cat would be awesome and way better than being a ghost with your ghost sister.

bobby finger@twitter

@evil melis I would have hopped on a boat, crossed the ocean, and ~ c h i l l e d ~ with all those european tomcats with cool 'tudes.

meetapossum

@evil melis That was the best part when you thought Binx would just be a part of their family and finally be a happy cat.

evil melis

Also, you have to figure that whenever and under whatever circumstances Max did finally have his first sexual encounter he had a lot of stuff to process afterwards.

cosmia

"Max likes your yabbos."

evil melis

a college dorm room

"Are you sure you're ready for this? I know you wanted to - hold off a while."

"Mm. Yes. No. Okay. Okay."

"Because we can wait a while longer if you want to."

"No, no, this is nice. This is good."

"Okay."

time passes

"Um. Um. Sorry. Sorry. Is that - did you light a candle before we came in?"

"I think my roommate usually has one going in the bathr--"

"Because I can see it. I think I can see it. Flickering under the door."

"Is that a problem?"

"No. No. Of course not."

"You don't have to put your shirt back o--"

"You know what, hang on, just a second, um, no don't worry about it, no need to touch me, I am just going to, I need to call my sister, see if she's okay, I'll call you tomorrow, okay? I'll call you tomorrow. This was great. You were great. Sex is great."

yoshabel

@evil melis ohmygodTHIS!

stavros

haha hilarious@m

jacqueline
jacqueline

Oh god, this movie. Nothing made me laugh harder as a kid than seeing Kathy Najimy ride a vacuum cleaner.

anachronistique

BIIIIIIIIIIIIINX!

TheLetterL

@anachronistique Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

feartie

I need to watch this film again. It taught me all about American Halloween, so very different from Scottish Hallowe'en in the nineties. We had village hall activities - dooking for apples, biting treacled scones hanging from strings. We went guising. And in America, kids went trick-or-treating, SJP sang 'come little children' and leaves were everywhere (we didn't have many trees up where I was from). I WAS GREATLY INTRIGUED.

fondue with cheddar

@feartie In America we call it bobbing for apples. Dooking sounds too much like "dookie", which is a colloquial term for poop.

I want to bite treacled scones hanging from strings!

feartie

@fondue with cheddar I know it's bobbing for apples, thanks to American culture being everywhere. Plus I have an American husband. Many mysteries have been revealed to me. 'Dooking' is related to 'ducking' for apples, which makes sense, right? Also I highly recommend the treacly scone game at any spooky party event. I haven't done it drunk, but that would probably add an extra layer of difficulty.

fondue with cheddar

@feartie Ducking makes sense! I only recently learned of treacle from a former coworker with an English wife. Treacle should be everywhere!

ThatWench

@feartie So, I obviously went forth and googled this treacle scone concept. I enjoy the concept a great deal, but find myself with two questions about execution. The first involves a states-friendly treacle replacement; it seems like honey and/or molasses will have the correct stickiness factor going (and the latter might be easier to clean up from floors and the like), but having never had treacle, is there something I'm missing about the flavor?

Second, how does one tie a scone to a string such that it stays? Depending on how one makes the scone, it seems like it would either be too crumbly or too squishy to last past a bite or two...

feartie

@ThatWench Well, it works best with slightly stale shop-bought scones of the kind you get here - round, none of this triangular business.

You cut the scones in half horizontally, spread them liberally with butter and treacle (which, yes, is a lot like molasses. It's more for the fun than the taste) and press the slices together.

you make a hole through the scone from the top to the bottom and thread a long bit of string through it, securing a knot in the bottom. Hang your scones from a broom handle secured between two chairs or similar. LOTS OF NEWSPAPER solves the sticky problem. But not the sticky-people issue. It's worth it for the fun.

lucindajane

@feartie I have played this game at Halloween (in America) with donuts! It's probably not as delicious though.

Adult Footie Pajamas

@feartie ROUND SCONES! what! heresy.

frigwiggin

Just yesterday I asked my boyfriend to find us this movie for Halloween, despite his dislike of Bette Midler (WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM). Everything about this movie is perfect and important.

frigwiggin

@frigwiggin Also requested in case he can't find it: My Best Friend Is a Vampire, The Worst Witch. (Neither of which I've actually seen, which obviously is a wrong that needs to be righted.) Other equivalent movies?

fondue with cheddar

@frigwiggin Women and gay men have a much greater affinity for Bette than straight men.

Also, I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE. :( :(

anachronistique

@frigwiggin I almost bought Hocus Pocus the last time I was at Target. I am still regretting not buying it.

Jinxie

@frigwiggin ABC Family will air it at least once (and probably way more than once) from now until Halloween. I know this because last year I hung out at home eating popcorn and watching Hocus Pocus on ABC Family while my roommates went out drinking. (I regret nothing!)

Jinxie

@Jinxie And I'm pretty sure that's what I did on the Halloween before that, too.

anachronistique

@Jinxie THIRTEEN DAYS OF HALLOWEEN!

Fancy Pony

@Jinxie I looked it up last week because I'm cool like that. It is airing at 8/7c on the 20th and at 7/6c on the 31st. I'll totally be staying in on the 20th to watch it, since trick-or-treaters will prevent me from thoroughly enjoying it on Halloween.

Pyxis

@frigwiggin Death becomes her! One of the funnest movies to see at Halloween ever!

kasa

@frigwiggin OH MY GOD. My Best Friend is a Vampire is LEGITIMATELY FUCKING AWESOME. Order that shit RIGHT. AWAY.

OhMarie

Yesssss I watched Hocus Pocus on youtube last year and actively applauded a couple of times.

evil melis

@OhMarie IMPORTANT QUESTION is your username from the scene in When Harry Met Sally when Sally's eating M&Ms asking about Harry's new anthropologist 'basic nightmare' girlfriend and then Carrie Fisher asks her how her dress looks and then says "be honest"???

royaljunk

Yesssss, I just caved and bought the blu-ray. Perfect movie.

Also the best Sarah Jessica Parker has ever looked in my opinion.

TheLetterL

"Revisit out of obligation to your childhood." Yes, that's exactly it! Well said.

What other Halloween movies/cartoons are in this category?

TheLetterL

My Playlist:

Garfield Halloween and Charlie Brown are understood.

Disney Halloween
Teen Witch
The Halloween That Almost Wasn't
Witch's Night Out
Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile (What? WHAT?)

royaljunk

@TheLetterL 'HALLOWEENTOWN' ALWAYS.

Megasus

@TheLetterL Um The Nightmare Before Christmas (and you also watch it at Christmas)

cosmia

@TheLetterL "Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile" reminds me of that 1952 Christmas special from The Simpsons, "The Christmas That Almost Wasn't But Then Was".

meetapossum

@TheLetterL The Halloween That Almost Wasn't!!! That god someone else knows that movie. That whole list are my Halloween movies, with the MUCH NEEDED addition of The Worst Witch.

FlufferNutter

@TheLetterL

Casper (with Christina Ricci)
Practical Magic
Corpse Bride
Coraline
Lost Boys (cuz my parents actually let me see this as a child)

Man, I love Halloween!

TheLetterL

@cosmia LOL. Yeah, it's really not a "must see" for anyone who didn't grow up with it, but nostalgia and whatnot.

@meetapossum YES! I have won over full grown adults by showing it to them. Teenytinybat, teenytinybat, teenytinybat, etc

I also do love most of the line-up of 13 Nights of Halloween. The ones I mentioned are definitely for the nostalgia and not always merit. Yes to Coraline, Corpse Bride, Nightmare Before Christmas, Addams Family Values, etc

ALSO: Mr Boogedy, anyone?

meetapossum

@TheLetterL You are my Halloween movie soulmate. MR. BOOGETY. And the second one.

"I'll bet nobody here ever heard of Bruce Springsteen!"

Full disclosure: I always wanted to eat the lima bean ice cream. It looked delicious.

angermonkey

@TheLetterL Wait, was Halloweentown the one that went into the whole background of different standard Halloween monsters, because if so: SO AWESOME. Something about the words "witch" and "wits" having the same roots???

meetapossum

@TheLetterL Also, THANK YOU because I always forget the name of Witch's Night Out. People think I'm crazy when I ask if they remember "the Halloween movie where all the characters are one color. No, not the same color, different colors. And they turn into monsters. No? Damn."

TheLetterL

@meetapossum I can see how that would go: "Yes, you know, the one with the trippy animation, and everyone's named an adjective except the creepy babysitter, Bazooie?"

I have never seen Halloweentown. Will fix ASAP!

angermonkey

@angermonkey Googling leads me to believe that what I'm thinking of is NOT Halloweentown. AND NOW THIS WILL DRIVE ME INSANE.

FOUND! It is, apparently "The Halloween Tree" and it's based on a book (and narrated by) Ray Bradbury. And now I know what I'm watching this weekend. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Halloween_Tree_%281993_TV_film%29

TheLetterL

@angermonkey LET US HELP YOU! What else can you remember?

....Oh, never mind. You found it. I haven't heard of that. Excellent. It sounds fantastic.

angermonkey

@TheLetterL Right? I remember catching this on TV as a, like, 12 or 13 year old thinking it was awesome. It was just released on DVD. Also, the bad guy is Leonard Nimoy.

Michaela D@twitter

@TheLetterL READ THE bOOK. Ray bradbury is the best ever. And that book is a particularly great one for reading aloud.

koume

@FlufferNutter Coraline is terrifying to me, but I will watch The Lost Boys any day, any time.

royaljunk

MR. DENNISON, WOULD YOU CARE TO SHARE YOUR CALIFORNIA, LAID-BACK, TIE-DYED POINT OF VIEW?

effystonem

@royaljunk Sometimes my sister and I just text each other Hocus Pocus quotes back and forth, and I always text her that, and she writes back "Max - Fat. Chance."

meetapossum

I am still reeling from the fact that his name was THACKERY Binx and not ZACHARY Binx like I believed until a week ago.

cosmia

@meetapossum Oh man, I just realized that last year and it BLEW MY MIND.

Bgwee

@meetapossum Yep, yep. Came down here just to say this.

Life changing.

iwannabekate

@meetapossum I had the same revelation! I watched it last Sunday and spent the rest of the afternoon extensively googling everyone in it (because, obviously). Also noteworthy: the voice of THACKERY Binx actually isn't the actor in the beginning/end! They dubbed it! Now I'm endlessly curious about what that guy actually sounds like.

SarahP

@meetapossum Definitely thought the same thing!

Lexa Lane

@iwannabekate Watch NCIS. His name is Sean Murray, and he plays McGee. That's actually how I figured out the voice was dubbed - McGee sounds *nothing* like Thackery Binx, and not in a way that aging can explain. (I love McGee, incidentally, and realizing that he played Thackery Binx increased my love of Hocus Pocus, which was not unsubstantial to begin with.)

HeyThatsMyBike

@meetapossum It's like when I realized that the young woman is Scooby Doo was VELMA and not THELMA. That was a tough day.

Michaela D@twitter

@Lexa Lane My mind is blown.

Diaphanous Gown

@Lexa Lane MIND. BLOWN. McGee!!

muggles

@meetapossum The guy who does the voice of Binx did a voiceover for our show once and I made (discreet) *Sparkle Eyes* at him the entire time.

meetapossum

@muggles I was please to find out that it was Jason Marsden, aka DJ's rich boyfriend on Full House.

districter

I will always remember the first time I watched Hocus Pocus since I asked my babysitter waht virgin meant, and she told me to ask my parents. I was intriguied but mortified for bringing up a taboo topic and don't think I even ever asked.

cosmia

@districter Haha, when I was 8 I asked my mom and she told me it was someone who'd never been kissed! When he makes out with Alison near the end I was like, "I guess he's finally not a virgin anymore, mom!", and my mom immediately went all GOB: "I've made a huge mistake."

rallisaurus

@districter Ah! I'm glad someone else has had this experience! I asked my Mom and she told me and I shall forever feel that Hocus Pocus was the beginning of the end of my childhood innocence.

dtowngirl

@districter When I was in first grade, I asked my mom if I was a virgin, because I thought a virgin was a person who really liked the Virgin Mary. And I thought the VM was pretty cool at the time.

dtowngirl

@dtowngirl A little off-topic, yes. Virginity is a weird concept, and Hocus Pocus is one of the greatest movies of my childhood.

Amanda Elsewhere@twitter

@districter I also was in first grade when this came out and my mother told me a virgin was someone who had never had surgery. Which I believed until WAY TOO LONG.

tea tray in the sky.

@districter I AlSO asked what "virgin" meant while watching Hocus Pocus! To my parents though. They told me it meant someone who's never had sex, and I was like "So I'm a virgin?". Yes, young tea tray, you most definitely were.

ohpioneer

@cosmia Oh man!! That is EXACTLY what happened with me!

cosmia

I have never owned Hocus Pocus either! When I was 12 I taped it off the Family Channel. It is the best Halloween movie that ever was and ever will be, and I still need to get two other friends to dress up as the Sanderson sisters for Halloween with me before I die.

effystonem

@cosmia I have been trying to do this since the fourth grade, when I (blonde) was bffs with a redhead and a brunette. I hope one day...

bibliobotic

I have already watched this movie twice this month because IT IS THE GREATEST. This is truly Sarah Jessica Parker's best work. "What a pretty spider!"

cosmia

@bibliosaurus AMOK AMOK AMOK AMOK AMOK

bibliobotic

@cosmia Oooh, thou should not speak to Master in such a manner!

cosmia

@bibliosaurus Farewell, mortal busboy!

teaandcakeordeath

@bibliosaurus
DEAD MAN'S TOE!

lasso tabasco

@bibliosaurus 'Tis firm!

Scandyhoovian

THACKERY BINX. Does anyone else insist on calling that guy's character on NCIS Thackery Binx despite the fact it's NCIS, not Hocus Pocus? I don't even know what he's supposed to be called on that show. He's Thackery Binx.

tea sonata

@Scandyhoovian He's called Probie.

Elsajeni

@Scandyhoovian Wait, Thackery Binx is on NCIS now? Is he still as cute as he was when I was 12?

Lexa Lane

@Elsajeni He's McGee. I think he's adorable.

Elsajeni

@Lexa Lane I went to IMDB to confirm this information and all the relevant links were already purple, so I guess I must have traveled this same "So what's Thackery Binx up to these days?" path last Halloween and then completely forgotten about it.

tea tray in the sky.

@Elsajeni You need to clear your cache, dude.

Alexmen

"So what's Thackery Binx up to these days?" path last Halloween and then completely forgotten about it....Gomberg Law

likethestore

I remember thinking even as a 10 year old that all the discussion about virginity was a little inappropriate for a children's Halloween movie.

rallisaurus

@likethestore For serious! I was telling my coworker about it and she asked if it would be appropriate for her 10 year old daughter and I was like, "well she will probably ask what a virgin is, so you decide."

tea sonata

AAAH. I forgot about the whole "virgin" thing, thats how long its been since I've last seen it. Now I must rectify this.

As a kid, the film that creeped me out was The Dark Crystal. Can I go as a Skeksi this year? Pleeeaaassseee.

cosmia

@tea sonata We watched this movie in school when I was 4 years old (FOUR YEARS OLD WTF WERE THEY THINKING) and I was so terrified of that scene where the Skeksis emperor dies that I asked to go get a drink of water and actually lurked in the hallway outside the door until I was sure it was over. I literally remember almost nothing else about being 4 except for that moment.

Two years ago I got really drunk and watched the Dark Crystal on New Year's Eve after a fight with my now-ex. It was a similarly terrifying experience.

tea sonata

@cosmia AAAAH. 4? What is this I cant

I used to hate the giant black beetle crabs with flashlight eyes, the clicking, Oh the clicking. I'm sorry you had to watch it after a fight, that would probably end me. Kudos to you.

Scandyhoovian

@tea sonata Aaaah the Dark Crystal! That was my favorite movie as a kid. I still want a little Fizzgig.

tea sonata

@Scandyhoovian Best birthday present ever was a Fizzgig plushie. They exist, it's very impressive.

lora.bee

@tea sonata Smells like gelfling!!

Bittersweet

@tea sonata The Dark Crystal! Boy do I love that movie. But I first saw it (in the theater) at 11 or 12, back when it came out in the Mezosoic Era, not as a 4-year-old. That's just wrong.

Even today, my husband and I periodically look at each other and go "mmmmMMMMMmmmm."

faience

@tea sonata speaking of Skeksis costumes this link is gold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOdR40Df2rc

tea sonata

@lora.bee Maybe you ARE gelfling...

tea sonata

@faience That is quality, thank you for that! :D

@tea sonata Um, don't kids learn what a virgin is when they learn about Christmas?

Alexmen

don't kids learn what a virgin is when they learn about Christmas?....gold roth ira

evil melis

Is this a safe space to also discuss the Halloween episodes of Boy Meets World?

JessAndNo21

@evil melis OH MY GOD the murder mystery one

evil melis

In order, without commentary:

Who's Afraid of Cory Wolf?
Boys II Mensa
The Witches of Pennbrook
And Then There Was Shawn

evil melis

welcome to john addams high
where you are gonna die
death is on the menu tonight

evil melis

ALSO how weird is it that a show that ran for 7 seasons had not one but two episodes where at least one of the characters was transported back to the 1940s?

JessAndNo21

@evil melis The Witches of Pennbrook co-starring Candace (Cameron) Bure

SheWhoReadsInSkirts

Man, who needs to own this movie? It is ALWAYS on in October. Still! It. Is. Perfect.

yoshabel

@SheWhoReadsInSkirts Yes, but has anyone noticed it's actually edited on tv? sadly, I can't think of which parts...maybe involving the bus driver..."you'd hate me in the morning." this is why I stick to my 7 buck dvd, generally...

lasso tabasco

Last weekend I watched Hocus Pocus, went dancing with my friends, and got a bit sloppy. At one point I hoisted myself Into the DJ booth, grabbed the microphone and yelled "DANCE! DANCE! DANCE UNTIL YOU DIEEEEEEE!" It was glorious.

tea tray in the sky.

@lasso tabasco I'll bet a lot of young'uns thought you were misquoting Karen O.

mbmargarita

I was so scared by the previews for this movie as a kid. I remember they were on the VHS of some other, more innocuous movie I owned? And whenever the witches zapped Max up against the wall I was freaked out. (And later, I watched it, and loved it.)

Old Greggette

HELLS YEAH! I JUST watched this on Saturday night whilst carving pumpkins! And yes, I own it on DVD. Next up, The Craft - followed by Practical Magic, Teen Witch... My list is endless!

TheLetterL

@Old Greggette Teen Witch! Also, The Craft, but those movies bring up very different feelings/times of my life.

tea sonata

@TheLetterL Practical Magic! Nicole Kidman being a tool and Goran Visnjic being hot as fuck and totally justifying Nicoles douchebaggery, HELLO FEELINGS

Bittersweet

@tea sonata "I wonder if that would work on my ex-husband?"

Amphora

@tea sonata I watched this movie for the first time last month and have no idea how I lived through the 90s without seeing it!

D. Lurker

My ONLY respectful disagreement with this post, and a handful of corresponding comments: this is very much A Movie You Own.

"'Tis but water!"

bibliobotic

@D. Lurker It really, really is. Mind, you, I only pull it out once a year, but I'm pretty sure I got it off the $7.50 rack at Target, so it's worth it.

MoxyCrimeFighter

If I end up not being A Lame and doing something for Halloween this year, I am going as Sarah Sanderson, so I can be slutty and awesome. AMOK AMOK AMOK!

HollidayQuinn

I am a proud owner of this movie! When my sister and I were little we used to ride around on our bikes singing the "come little children I'll take thee away" song... I thought Sarah Jessica Parker was so pretty then and I wanted to grow up to look like her. Oh how the times change.

SarahP

I remember being 9 or 10 and SO EXCITED when this movie finally made it to TV. At a commercial I went into the kitchen to ask my mother, "What's a virgin?"

She thought about her answer for a second. "A virgin is someone who's never had sex."

I was scandalized. "Mom! This is a Disney movie!"

herebullet

Sigh, Thackaray Binx. One of my earliest crushes. Though as an embittered late-20-something I would prefer him in cat form these days, and in fact am entertaining the idea of turning my husband into one so I can go back to being content. Cats after all are not allowed in the army (that I know of!?).

SarahP

Oh, also, the witches don't kill Penny Marshall because she is Satan's wife! If you worship someone, you don't then kill his wife just because she doesn't like you!

werewolfbarmitzvah

Hocus Pocus is a movie that I only vaguely remember watching, but might I mention how EXCITED I am to see that someone else spent their childhood as unduly fixated on Big Business as I was? BIG BUSINESS! Everything I thought I knew about how to grow up to be a big important career lady in the city, I learned from repeated viewings of Big Business.

PatatasBravas

there is so much bold going on here

tea sonata

@ Yes. What the what?

NeenerNeener

I just want to see what happens if I purposely make it bold.

NeenerNeener

Nothing, is what.

tea sonata

@NeenerNeener Bold all the bolds. Bold. Now the world "bold" doesn't look real anymore. Oops.

Elsajeni

@NeenerNeener I think that is slightly bolder than the other bolds, actually. Maybe if I put a close tag in it will fix itself?

SarahP

@Elsajeni Nicely done.

Elsajeni

@SarahP I feel powerful.

frigwiggin

Hahaha, love it when HTML goes haywire.

tea sonata

Magic. *jazz hands*

evil melis

IT WAS JessandNo's fault! GET HER

meetapossum

@evil melis I can't reply to your thread to say JENNIFER LOVE FEFFERMAN. Poor Feffy.

meetapossum

"We'll always remember he was this tall."

effystonem

@meetapossum Ahhh I don't have cable anymore but one of my great joys in life was catching this episode on ABC Family when they would randomly play it in October. The witch episode with Candace Cameron and that Scream-ish ep are the best.

evil melis

OH MY GOD THERE'S LIKE FIFTEEN RETAINERS IN THERE

JessAndNo21

@evil melis my b you guys. try to do one thing in html and next thing you know people are running after you in overalls with pitchforks and lit torches [also my halloween costume].

JessAndNo21

@JessAndNo I DON'T EVEN KNOW MY OWN POWER.

mangosara

YOU GUYS Halloweentown is a close second to this movie in fabulosity (okay, maybe not "close" but you get me) and it was on last week and I watched the whole thing with my roommate after discovering that she had never seen it and what kind of childhood is that??

rachelrachel

@mangosara I loved Halloweentown, but MAN I hated that actress who played the main character...Marnie? And there was a minute when she was all over the Disney channel. Quints etc.

for realsy

WHAT I THOUGHT IT WAS ZACHARY BINX. Also, I own both Big Business and Hocus Pocus (Well ok I "own" Hocus Pocus, but Big Business is an actual DVD) and watch them frequently. This year's Halloween plan? Alternate watching Hocus Pocus and Rocky Horror all niiight

meetapossum

@for realsy You are not the only one to recently discover the troubling reality of Binx's first name.

coconuts

@for realsy You're not the only one. I only found out it was Thackeray a few years ago and I've watched this movie every year for the last 19 years!

Charismatic Megafauna

I have it on good authority (she told me herself) that this is Bette Midler's favorite movie that she's ever done.

bobby finger@twitter

@Charismatic Megafauna GO ON.

Charismatic Megafauna

@bobby finger@twitter
I wish there were more story to that . . . it was really just idle chit chat at an event :(
But still - good to know!

effystonem

@Charismatic Megafauna That seriously just made my day. Beeeeeeeettttttteeee.

frigwiggin

@Charismatic Megafauna what what what what

lora.bee

BIG BUSINESS!!!!!!!

"I wouldn't want em floppin off in any....FANCY NAIGHT CLUBS!"

Decca

@lora.bee Is this how we dress for the office? You look like a blood clot.

lora.bee

@Decca I got on ma Tuesday panties, but I guess you knew that too.

(Are you my soulmate??)

Decca

@lora.bee You also have the taste of a middle-aged gay dude, yes!

lora.bee

@Decca I know what your plans were, to hole up in your room and make love to the pastry cart.

HeyThatsMyBike

I remember seeing this in the theater with my mom and sister, and leaving with her basically saying, "Well, that was more dark and violent than I expected!"
I think this is basically why it is watchable and entertaining today. Except the part where they cut open the stitches on that one dude's mouth. I still have to close my eyes for that.

effystonem

@HeyThatsMyBike Billy! He might be my favorite.

robbermaiden89

I watch this and Practical Magic every year without fail, with my sister. You know how you have some movies that shape your life, especially as kids? This is definitely one of them. Also, I named my cat Binx. She's a she and she is crazy, and I love her. Nothing wrong with this movie.

effystonem

@metric89 I hate cats but I wanted a black one as a kid just to name him Binx. Until I moved across the country, I watched Hocus Pocus an Practical Magic with my sister every year, too! It's sort of sad they don't make awesome Halloween-y movies like that anymore, huh? (I mean, that are not straight-up horror movies)

Decca

I...have never seen this movie.

Decca

I DO OWN BIG BUSINESS ON DVD THOUGH, EVERYBODY CALM DOWN.

Decca

@Decca I just checked, and both Big Business and Beaches are also on YouTube in their entirety, so I guess I just sorted out everybody's evenings for them.

Jenivere

Putting the fact that I loooved this movie when I was 9 aside, I just came here to ask why American Beauty is currently out. What did it do wrong?

Valley Girl

@Jenivere I think it's partly that we realized the Chris Cooper homophobe-as-closeted-dude stereotype was a little bit much, and mainly being embarrassed for how sincerely we identified with Kevin Spacey's suburban alienation.

Bittersweet

@Valley Girl I think it's partly that we realized the entire movie with all its stereotypes and how they got shoved down our throats at every opportunity was a little bit much.

coconuts

@Jenivere I think it's when we realized that plastic bags really aren't that significant.

Jenivere

@Bittersweet Damn, apparently I have a biased recollection of this movie. I did see it on my first date with my husband, so...selective memories? I do remember it being a bit of a downer, but also somewhat uplifting. I guess it didn't age well. I'll have to watch it again then of course, just to see how trainwrecky it is for myself.

But no, never took the plastic bag seriously.

violetta

OMG! The book with the EYE..!!! That thing gave my 10-year-old-self nightmares *sigh*

I, Caramba

“It’s not a movie you keep, but instead one you revisit every year out of obligation to your childhood. You seek it out. You enjoy it. You put it away.” No I don’t. The WRITER might do all those things, but it’s futile to project them on the world at large.

“the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimi, and Sarah Jessica Parker as themselves)” If they’re the Sanderson sisters, it’s not “as themselves,” is it? And who is this Kathy “Najimi”?

“an actor who looks like a young Randy Quaid, and whose virginity status irrelevant” – Is.

“They even take a fulfill Midler’s contractually obligated song-per-movie policy” Yeah, I liked it when they took a fulfill that.

Amphora

@I, Caramba reowr!

TheDogRuiner

Three things:
1. I have already watched Hocus Pocus this year, on repeat for an entire afternoon
2. dark_crystal is my screen name on all of the butch-femme forums
3. American Beauty is still my favorite movie of all time and I don't care what "they" say
4. "MY LUCKY RAT TAIL!"

coconuts

1. I wish I had written this.

2. This has been my favourite Halloween movie since it came out. And I will contradict the author and say that actually this IS a movie that you own! In my case, own it on VHS, watch it to the point that the tape wears out, then get it on DVD, continue watching it every year, come across it on Blu-Ray and consider buying it but decide to stick with the DVD for now.

3. This movie has all of the best quotes. Just try watching it with other people who are fans. Everyone ends up saying every line of dialogue!

tea sonata

@coconuts With regards to point 3, the only other films I can do that with are Mean Girls, and Withnail and I.

Bed Monster

(flings open windows) BOOOOOOOOOO-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK!

JadedStone

@Bed Monster This made me laugh for a good ten minutes.

Josh@twitter

Sarah's 17th century lover Billy scared the crap out of me as a kid. Also im surprised no mention was made of Thora Birch's attempt at incest by role playing Alison in the beginning. But the witches didn't sing in the school gymnasium, they sang at an adults only halloween party at Town Hall. Also it always made me nervous how easy it was in their school to trap someone in a walk-in freezer type syle kiln and burn them alive.

JadedStone

Did ANYBODY else ever desperately want the entire song for that 'come little children I'll take you away' song? I kinda love that song. I want it on my ipod.

squishycat

I cannot actually recall the number of years I watched this film (probably more than once a year, given it was played at the after-school program I attended, and also on the Disney channel basically ALL THE TIME during October, and sometimes other parts of the year, too) during which I had NO IDEA what the word "virgin" meant. (I was raised Jewish, there was no Virgin Mary to explain.) I mean I seriously think I was in middle school before that bit actually clicked (I was 7 in 1993, so um, like 5 or 6 years of let's say twice-yearly watchings?). Who makes that a major focus and running *joke* in a movie whose target audience is ostensibly children? (Although given the rest of the film, apparently highly precocious children with a fondness for Beaches.)

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Hocus Pocus begins with a brief prologue, set in 17th-century Salem, in which the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimi, and Sarah Jessica Parker as themselves) are hanged after sucking the life out of a nice little girl named Emily homeowners insurance

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Allison early in the evening, the three head to the still-standing home of the Sanderson sisters so the virgin can prove just how brave and masculine he is to the probably-not-a-virgin. click here to learn more

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