Blu-ray Review: Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Edition
By Dr. Zaius
Monday, September 17th, 2018 at 10:00 am
Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Kenny Ortega
Starring Bette Midler, Thora Birch, Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Stephanie Faracy
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Run Time: 96 minutes
Release Date: September 4, 2018
It is the 25th anniversary of this cult favorite and to celebrate, there is a spanking brand new Blu-ray for sale everywhere. Just for fans, you can watch the We Love Hocus Pocus Trivia and Treats Edition of Hocus Pocus, which plays the movie “with fun facts, trivia, concept art, storyboards, behind-the-scenes magic, and more!”
In 1993, Hocus Pocus was written off by critics as a silly Halloween-themed kids movie. While it grossed $39.5 million, it barely cracked the top 40 box office for the year, under such “classics” as The Beverly Hillbillies and Dennis the Menace. However, as often is the case with movies aimed at children, the kids grow up and with them come large pairs of nostalgia goggles that, in this case, have turned Disney’s witch comedy into a cult classic, especially for those now in their mid-30s. Capitalizing on this nostalgia and the fact that most of these 30-somethings have children of their own now, Disney released a new Anniversary Edition of the film on Blu-ray and digital right in time for its 25th birthday and Halloween season.
More below on Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Edition.
The film is directed by Kenny Ortega (Newsies) from a story by David Kirschner and Mick Garris and it stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters, a trio of witches in Salem, Massachusetts circa 1693. Their plan to kill all the Salem children is interrupted and they’re eventually hanged. Fast forward 300 years later to modern-day Salem and angsty teen Max (Omri Katz) is forced to take sister Dani (Thora Birch) trick or treating. To impress the girl of his dreams, Allison (Vinessa Shaw), they head to the abandoned Sanderson Museum where he unknowingly lights a magic candle bringing the three witches back to life and giving them one night to fulfill their evil plans. Throw in a magical talking cat, a zombie (played by a young Doug Jones), and some fun song moments, and you have all the ingredients needed to make a fun Halloween movie for kids.
Where die-hard Hocus Pocus fans will want to go immediately is the special features, which contain the Trivia and Treats Edition of the film. Remember VH1’s Pop-Up Video? This is a souped-up version of the that, with trivia games, concept art and storyboards, behind the scenes secrets, deleted and extended scenes, and even cast interviews spliced in. There’s a hilarious “Countdown to lines we love” feature as well as sing-a-long lyrics that pop up during witch incantations. It even shows goofs, or “oopsies,” such as pointing out Kathy Najimy’s wires showing during a flying scene. For a fan of the film, this feature is so awesome. I wish more Blu-rays would use this feature! Also included is the original 1993 Production Featurette, which is about 10 minutes and contains cast interviews and a behind the scenes look at some of the special effects.
Fans of Hocus Pocus can bring home the Anniversary edition Blu-ray now wherever media is sold. Better yet, throw a Halloween party, invite all your old friends, and watch the Trivia and Treats Edition with a big crowd.