Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) Sanderson are witches living on the outskirts of Salem. They surreptitiously suck the life out of small children to stay young forever.
When little Emily (Amanda Shepherd) is lured to her death, her older brother, Thackery (Sean Murray), tries to save her. Instead he’s transformed by a curse into a black cat called Binx. Thackery’s family never find out what has happened to him. When the Sanderson sisters are publicly hung, they take this secret to the grave – but not before invoking one final spell that will allow them to come back to life. Binx spends the next 300 years guarding the black flame candle that will allow the Sanderson sisters to return.
On Halloween night in 1993, Max (Omri Katz), a newly arrived sceptic from California who doesn’t believe in witches or magic, takes his little sister, Dani (Thora Birch), out trick-or-treating. Max wants to spend time with his beautiful classmate, Allison (Vanessa Shaw). He convinces Allison to take him and Dani to the old Sanderson cottage. While there, Max lights the candle and sets the witches free.
Winifred, Mary and Sarah have until dawn to brew a potion and capture children to take their lives, or they themselves will be turned to dust. Max, Allison and Dani, with the help of Binx, must hide the witches’ spell book, thwart their plans, and destroy the witches before they suck the life out of every child in Salem.
Halloween legends; witches and witchcraft; children separated from parents; death of a child; bullying
Hocus Pocus has some violence. For example:
- The witches attack Thackery after killing his sister. Winifred shoots electric currents from her hands. This causes excruciating pain to her victims.
- The witches are hung, but they chant a spell that will allow them to come back from the dead.
- Bullies threaten Max and take his shoes from him.
- The bullies later pick on Dani.
- Alison hits one witch with a broom and another with a frying pan.
- Dani smacks Winifred with her candy bag.
- A zombie’s fingers are severed, and he later slices his mouth open.
- Winifred punches Sarah in the stomach.
- Allison, Max and Dani burn the witches alive in a kiln. They later come back to life when their ashes cool.
- Max is blasted unconscious by the spell book.
- The witches burst through the roof of a house. They leave a trail of destruction in their wake.
- The witches capture the bullies and lock them in cages in their cottage.
- Winifred threatens to kill Dani.
- Dani bites Mary.
- Max uses a knife to defend the others from the zombie.
- Max hits the witches with a baseball bat.
- The zombie’s head is decapitated twice.
- Winifred tries to shove a potion down Dani’s throat, but Binx knocks it out of her hands.
- Winifred tries to kill Max by sucking the life out of him.
- Sarah and Mary blast into Winifred, who drops Max and slowly turns to stone.
- Sarah, Mary and Winifred all burst into dust.
Hocus Pocus has some sexual references. For example:
- There are many references to virginity.
- Max hugs a pillow and says, ‘Oh, Allison you are so soft’. Dani teases him about wanting to kiss Allison.
- Dani tells Allison that Max likes her ‘yabbos’ (in reference to her chest) and says that she couldn’t wear a dress like Allison’s because she doesn’t have ‘yabbos’ yet.
- Winifred’s lover had an affair with Winifred’s sister, Sarah.
- Winifred tells a bus driver that they desire children. The driver replies that it might take him a few tries, but he should be able to help with that.
- A bus driver asks for Sarah’s number. She says that if she gave it to him, he’d hate her in the morning.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Hocus Pocus shows some use of substances. For example:
- Bullies ask Max for some smokes.
- A woman drinks and smokes while handing out Halloween candy.
- As the witches enter a house, there are references to smoking.
Nudity and sexual activity
Hocus Pocus has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Sarah sits on a bus driver’s lap while he flirts with her.
- Sarah kisses, dances or flirts with many men.
The following products are displayed or used in Hocus Pocus: Clark Bar candy.
Hocus Pocus has some coarse language, insults and name-calling, including ‘party pooper’, ‘wench’, ‘hag’, ‘damn’, ‘moron’, ‘Go to hell’, ‘Shove it Satan’, ‘tart face’, ‘weirdo’, ‘putrid pestering sore’, ‘buck tooth firefly from hell’, ‘trollop’, ‘maggoty mouth’ and ‘jerk face’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Hocus Pocus is a Halloween fantasy adventure that’s best suited to pre-teen audiences. It has some violence as well as a constant threat to children’s lives, so it isn’t a movie for younger viewers.
These are the main messages from Hocus Pocus:
- Look out for those you love.
- By working with others, you can overcome incredible obstacles.
Values in Hocus Pocus that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, teamwork, ingenuity, responsibility and helpfulness.
Hocus Pocus could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- failing to heed a warning
- bullying others and stealing what doesn’t belong to you
- harming others to benefit yourself
- forgetting the value of family members, specifically siblings.