Releasing a movie all about Halloween and witches in mid July doesn’t usually spell success! But twenty years ago, on July 16, this is exactly what the studio execs at Disney did with their family favorite, Hocus Pocus, which reportedly makes Disney approximately a million dollars in DVD sales every October.
The spooktastic comedy threw together Hollywood legends () with established comedy talent (Sister Act’s ) and young up-and comers, namely former child star (American Beauty, Ghostworld) and the post teenage, pre-Carrie , making us all count down the days to Halloween, even in the summer heat.
The Huffington Post have marked the twenty year anniversary of the Halloween classic with a run down of their top ten things about the film:
1.The Sanderson Sisters
They say: 'Portrayed with brilliant aplomb by Kathy Najimy (Mary), Bette Midler (Winnie) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah)'
We say: How could this film fail with a cast this good? Bette Midler plays the part with all the gusto of a thespian tackling Shakespeare - there's lots of cut glass diction, dramatic delivery and a rather wonderful British accent. SJP manages to make the sexy blonde witch Sarah seem goofy and ditzy - comedy gold!
They say: (The movie also provided us with a new use for salt and a surefire way to handle a witch invasion.)
We say: C'mon guys, let's make this Facebook group membership rocket! If you love Hocus Pocus, join the group, ok? We'll see you there, salt shaker in hand.
3.Reliable placement on ABC Family's annual 13 Nights of Halloween
They say: Nothing. We guess the picture says it all!
We say: Given that ABC's 13 Nights of Halloween only started in 1998, five years after the film debuted, it's a testament to the film's popularity that it's always a pick, rather than something more contemporary. But really, what's more fun than three wacky witches? Nothing, that's what.
4.Their rendition of 'I Put A Spell On You'
They say: The best rendition of "I Put A Spell On You" ever (obviously)
We say: Jeez louise. Who could top this? From Bette Midler's obvious delight at taking the spotlight to Sarah and Mary Sanderson's 60s backing singer impressions to the obligatory nobody believing the kids claiming they're real witches, this is sheer fabulousness.
5.Garry Marshall as a costumed devil the sisters refer to as "master," and his real-life sister, Penny Marshall, as his onscreen wife.
Master's Wife: Aren't you broads a little old to be trick-or-treating?
Winifred Sanderson: We'll be younger in the morning.
Master's Wife: Yeah, sure, me too.
We say: Ahh, SJP. She had the seduction thing down way before Sex and the City. Who needs a Mr Big when you've got Master, anyway?
6.Sarah Jessica Parker singing "Come Little Children"
They say: Zilch.
We say: Reallies? We're finding the degree of cleavage SJP's showing off in a 'family' movie more than a little unnerving. Nope, for comedy shorts from the spooktacular flick, we prefer 'Boooooooooooooooooook!'
7.Conflicting ideas about what witches do with their time
Winifred Sanderson: Don't get your knickers in a twist! We're just three kindly old spinster ladies.
Mary Sanderson: Spending a quiet evening at home.
Sarah Sanderson: Sucking the lives out of little children!
We say: 'Nuff said.
They say: Omri Katz in one of his final roles. He quit acting in 1996 following his exit from "The John Larroquette Show" and his role in the TV movie "Dallas: J.R. Returns." He resurfaced for a NSFW [ie. not suitable for work] short film that turned up on YouTube in 2006.
We say: Oh, Omri. How the mighty have fallen. From being the blue eyed heartthrob on every girl's wall to this (the right side is a screengrab taken from his 'short movie'):
Oh, schweedie. Why leave acting in the first place if you're going to return and make us feel all confused and strange about our childhood crush on you?
9.A new idea of what high school really is
Sarah Sanderson: What is this place?
Mary Sanderson: It reeks of children!
Winifred Sanderson: It is a prison for children.
We say: Holy moly, somebody employ the Hocus Pocus writers to pen a new version of the dictionary! Homework: punishment for prisoners. High school dance: Way of crushing prisoners' self-esteem + general joie de vivre. etc, etc.
10.Proof that negative critical reception doesn't preclude cult-classic dominance
They say: Nada.
We say: Astonishingly, this fun-tastic spookfest has been awarded a lowly 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet it continues to be screened and bought Halloween after Halloween - but hey, if we like it, what does it matter what the critics think?
Has the Huffington Post missed out any reasons why this movie's so great? If so, let us know in the comments below!
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