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Hocus Pocus (1993)

movie poster Years before Disney witch Debbie Reynolds took on Halloweentown, Disney made this one about three witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) who were executed in Salem, Mass., 300 years ago and now, keep alive by sucking the life essence out of little children. That’s right, it’s a wacky comedy. One critic described it as “The Three Stooges on Broomsticks.” But it has its moments. Omri Katz, who you may remember from a certain “eerie” tv-series in Indiana, plays a teenager who conjures up the 3 witches on Halloween night.

They rant, they rave, they even sing a song (thankfully only one) before they have to fly. Charles Rocket is in it, while Penny Marshall (A League of Their Own) and brother Garry have cameos as a couple. To say Bette is over-the-top would infer that there’s ever a time when she’s not ... frankly, Angela Lansbury was a more believable witch in Bedknobs & Broomsticks (I think Roddy McDowall of Fright Night was also in that one)

TV Guide classifies Hocus Pocus as a comedy. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss six bucks goodbye. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Hocus Pocus" availability on video and on DVD from

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Trivia (courtesy the Internet Movie Database):

* When Bette Midler takes the stage at the town Halloween Party, she says "Hello Salem, My name is Winifred, what's yours?". This is a take-off of the famous line "Hello world, my name is Rose, what's yours?" that is spoken by Mama Rose in the musical Gypsy. Midler played Mama Rose in the TV version of Gypsy the same year that Hocus Pocus was released.
* The role of Max Dennison was originally offered to Leonardo Dicaprio, but was given to Omri Katz when DiCaprio turned it down to appear in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)

© Bill Laidlaw. All Rights Reserved. Bubble bubble toil and trouble