FilmOctober 27, 2011 at 6:22 am

Guilty Pleasure: Hocus Pocus (1993)

It’s 1 p.m. in mid–October and you’re surfing channels instead of going to class. You stumble upon the Disney Channel and vaguely recognize a few characters from your youth. 90 minutes later, as the credits roll, you can’t help but wonder, “Why was that movie almost good?”

Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and a pre–Carrie Bradshaw Sarah Jessica Parker star in Hocus Pocus as the Sanderson Sisters, three witches who were (temporarily) executed in the Salem Witch Trials.

Flash forward to the mid–90s. It’s Halloween night and teen virgin Max (who never did anything noteworthy again) thinks the Sanderson legend is “hocus pocus.” An innocent candle lighting brings about the three scariest hags imaginable — Bette, Kathy and SJP. With the help of an immortal talking black cat who was once the brother of a Sanderson victim, Max, his sister and his love interest fight the witches and all their sassy vengeance.

The movie is ridiculous and painfully ’90s, but is somehow suspenseful, nostalgic and Halloween–y enough for the campiness to be enjoyable. And if it’s too much for you to handle before last call, at least relish in the overt sexuality of the virgin candle lighting and in Bette Midler (spoiler alert!) turning to stone and crumbling. Wait, didn’t that happen in real life?

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