Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Hocus Pocus [1993]

US movie (1993). Disney. Pr Steven Haft, David Kirschner. Exec pr Ralph Winter. Dir Kenny Ortega. Spfx Terry Frazee. Vfx Peter Montgomery. Screenplay Neil Cuthbert, Mick Garris. Voice actor Jason Marsden (Thackery Binx). Starring Thora Birch (Dani Denison), Doug Jones (Billy Butcherson), Omri Katz (Max Denison), Karyn Malchus (headless Billy Butcherson), Bette Midler (Winifred Sanderson), Sean Murray (Thackery Binx), Kathy Najimy (Mary Sanderson), Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah Sanderson), Vinessa Shaw (Alison). 96 mins. Colour.

Salem, 1693, and Thackery Binx is cursed (> Curses) by Winifred Sanderson with Immortality as a Cat for trying to save his sister Emily from being leached of youth by the three Witch Sanderson sisters. The trio are soon hanged, promising to return should ever a Virgin light their black-flamed candle at Hallowe'en.

Halloween 1993, and young Max goes with moppet sister Dani and highschool belle Alison to the creepy Sanderson House Museum, where he cockily lights the candle – despite protests from lurking cat-Binx. Grabbing the witches' sentient grimoire (> Books), the three children plus the Talking Animal flee the reborn Sandersons through a town full of Halloween partiers; even the cemetery's consecrated ground offers no protection, for Winifred raises there the Zombie of her quondam lover Billy. The witches conceive the aim of leaching youth from all Salem's children and nearly succeed before dawn, but our plucky heroes thwart them and release Thackery's Soul into the Afterlife, to join Emily's.

There is some pleasing Technofantasy, the witches initially regarding 20th-century technology as Magic. Midler, Najimy and Parker succeed in being both riotously funny (much dialogue seems ad-libbed) and, on occasion, quite frightening, with even a sort of skew-witted grandeur. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.