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Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by on Aug 30, 2018
Rating: 4 Star Rating

It won’t be all that long until Halloween and Disney is releasing an anniversary edition of their hit spookfest Hocus Pocus on home video. Kidzworld reviews the 25th Anniversary Edition along with the fun extra features.

By: Lynn Barker

In 1693, in Salem, Mass., three witch sisters Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) remain young-ish by killing children in order to absorb their youthful energy. They are executed for witchcraft but three-hundred years later, Max (Omri Katz), a teen boy, brings them back by lighting a certain evil magic candle. Now the witches are after the kids of Salem including Max, his little sister Dani (Thora Birch) and new girlfriend Allison (Vinessa Shaw). Can Max and friends, along with a black cat under a spell and a zombie, stop them?

Max meets Allison at schoolMax meets Allison at schoolCourtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Early Witchcraft

On Halloween in 1693, near Salem, Massachusetts, Thackery Binx (Sean Murray) sees his little sister, Emily, taken away to the cottage of three witches Winifred, Sarah and Mary. They cast a spell on Emily to absorb her youth and regain their own. Thackery can’t stop them and the spell kills Emily. The witches turn him into an immortal black cat. The villagers capture the witches but before they are hanged, Winifred’s spellbook casts a curse that will bring the witches back to life during a full moon on a future Halloween when any virgin lights the Black Flame Candle. Poor Binx the spellbound cat has been guarding the cottage ever since to prevent this from happening.

The witches about to be hangedThe witches about to be hangedCourtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Max Makes Mistakes

Three hundred years later, Halloween 1993, in Salem, teen Max Dennison is horribly unhappy and bullied at school for being the new kid, a transplant from Los Angeles. He is forced to take younger sis Dani trick-or-treating and, together with Max’s new crush Allison, they go to the old Sanderson cottage which had been turned into a museum no longer used. Max doesn’t believe the witches were real so he lights the Black Flame Candle as legend indicates thus resurrecting the three evil sisters who will now suck out the energy of all of Salem’s modern kids starting with Dani!

Max tries to comfort DaniMax tries to comfort DaniCourtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Black Cats and Zombies

Max, Dani and Allison are able to escape and Max takes the spellbook on advice from cat Binx (who, since he is really Thackery, can talk). They are followed to a cemetery by the witches and Winifred raises her unfaithful lover Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) from the grave to chase them. Looking over 1993 Salem, the sisters are horrified to see that All Hallows Eve has become a fun holiday. If they don’t suck up the essence of enough kids, they will disintegrate at sunrise.

Doug Jones is Billy Butcherson - zombieDoug Jones is Billy Butcherson - zombieCourtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Max and friends eventually trap the witches in a craft kiln at the high school and think they have burned them up but they secretly survive. Thinking they are dead, Max and Allison open the spellbook in the hope of reversing the black cat spell on Thackery. They are tracked down by the witches who kidnap Dani. Sarah starts singing to lure all the kids in town to the cottage. Can Max and Allison rescue Dani before it is too late for her and all the children of Salem? Will the spell on Thackery Binx be broken?

The sisters can't believe Halloween is a happy holidayThe sisters can't believe Halloween is a happy holidayCourtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Special Extra Features

There aren’t many extras on this Blu-ray but they are fun.

  • We Love Hocus Pocus Trivia and Treats Edition lets you play the movie with fun facts, trivia Q and A, concept art, storyboards, behind-the scenes video, etc. These things pop up in a window. If you don’t remember the movie or have never seen it, best to see it first before checking out this version.  There is “How’d they do that” info, comments from the actors (back in 1993) and props, costumes, make-up, sets, deleted and extended scenes and more are covered. A fun way to watch the film.
  • Original 1993 Production Featurette – This extra focuses mostly on special effects which were more unique at that time. We see the three witch actresses “flying” on wires and hear their feelings about it (Sarah Jessica Parker loved it!) and there is info on how the talking black cat was achieved. Nothing new now but good for a once watch.

Sarah Jessica Parker loved flyingSarah Jessica Parker loved flyingCourtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Wrapping Up

This 25th anniversary edition of Hocus Pocus looks and sounds just fine. The fun performances of the lead actresses hold up beautifully. Extras are fun enough but we could wish for a current update from Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker rather than their old, original commentary. How do they feel looking back on their performances etc.? Some comparisons of special CGI effects twenty-five years ago and now would also be cool.

Witchy Winifred kidnaps DaniWitchy Winifred kidnaps DaniCourtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Is this Blu-ray still worth collecting? Sure. The film is still fun for all ages and makes a nice addition to any Halloween season sleepover or party. Well worth collecting if you don’t have it or even if you do, time to throw out the old and in with the new, more crisp-looking copy. We can go four stars.

Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Rating: 4

Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Cover ArtCourtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Buy Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Edition in stores now

What Do You Think?

You weren’t alive in 1993 but have you seen this Halloween classic movie on video? Which witch is your fave and why? Like me, do you believe black cats are certainly not evil? (I have one). What is your take on witchcraft in general? We and other Kidzworld visitors want to know what you think.  Leave a comment below or write your own Hocus Pocus review and share it on your profile page!