“Hocus Pocus” is the Must Watch Halloween Movie

“Hocus Pocus” is the ideal Halloween movie and this is the hill I will die on.


Halloween time. The spookiest scariest time of the year. Sitting right on the edge of a great part of fall, the airy chill as the leaves begin to turn, and the bad part of fall, before all the gross, cold rain comes. One of the best ways to celebrate Halloween is by watching the many Halloween movies out there. But if you want the best slice of Halloween vibes, then “Hocus Pocus,” directed by Kenny Ortega in 1993, is the movie for you. Not only is this movie a cult classic, it is the ideal Halloween movie. 

The plot follows a teenage boy, Max, played by Omri Katz; his younger sister, Dani, played by Thora Birch; and his crush, Allison, played by Vinessa Shaw, as they run around Salem, Mass. trying to stop the plot of three witches, the Sanderson sisters, to eat children’s souls. Assisted by a boy who was cursed to be a cat for all eternity, the ragtag group of kids face a zombie, irritating high school bullies and the crushing reality that the adults in their life won’t believe them when they say three witches are trying to kill them. Sounds like a blast. 

The plot is packed full of wacky, high school hijinks and creepy Halloween implications. Though the pacing can be a little wobbly, the movie does manage to keep a relatively even pace. The story does manage to balance the struggles of fitting in as a kid or teenager and the struggle of having three witches hunt you down so they can eat you. 

However, the strongest point of the movie are the characters. In particular, the relationships between characters stand out. Max and Dani have a large age gap between them, with Max being a teenager and Dani being 8. Despite that, they maintain a fairly close relationship. Katz and Birch have a great sibling chemistry with one another. The pair of them look after each other and tease each other mercilessly. There is hardly any moment throughout the film that makes me question whether or not something is out of character for the siblings.

And this sibling bond is not singularly found in the relationship between Max and Dani. Compared to the protagonistic siblings, the Sanderson sisters carry the same chaotic love-hate energy. Despite the craziness of the characters, they still present a fairly threatening antagonistic force throughout the movie. The sisters are determined, and though they are dramatic, ridiculous and wacky characters, they are a devious force to be reckoned with. 

They have a book bound in human skin, and their main goal is to eat the life forces of children to remain young forever. That certainly lands somewhere on the evil scale. The saying you can’t have a good story without a good villain absolutely applies to this movie. The Sanderson sisters are truly the one thing that makes this movie the cult classic that it is. 

I wouldn’t call “Hocus Pocus” a perfect movie, because it’s not. The pacing fluctuates a little too suddenly, and the effects are corny. But it is the ideal Halloween movie, with its content and tone. That symbiosis of zany antics and careful deviousness truly make this movie the ideal Halloween watch. Halloween is a day of scares and fun, sour apples and sweet candy, tricks and treats, if you will. “Hocus Pocus” captures that duality of the holiday brilliantly, and it takes you along for the ride.