Times Hocus Pocus Makes You Say “What the hell?”

Hocus Pocus is a campy, (mostly) family friendly Halloween movie that is definitely a cult classic. Our family has watched it for years even before having kids. But I’m never sure if Hocus Pocus is good because of how crappy it is… or if Hocus Pocus is actually that good.

And then there are the moments in Hocus Pocus where I think “What the hell”:

  • …am I watching?
  • …did she just say?
  • …how does she know that?
  • …is this actually family friendly?

Here are some of the top “What the hell” moments in Hocus Pocus that don’t ruin the movie by any means… but they do add some stuff to talk about.

Hocus Pocus explaining virgins to kids since 1993

Hocus Pocus taught a generation of ’90s kids what a virgin is. Or at the very least, Hocus Pocus taught them why it’s important to know which of your friends is a virgin.

After all, if you’re a virgin, you’re the most likely person to bring witches back from the dead. Incidentally, if you’re a virgin, you’re also more likely to survive a 80s or 90s slasher movie, so it’s not totally bad I guess.

It’s in that moment, Max laments never being laid

But in Hocus Pocus, there is definitely an implication that being a virgin is a bad thing. In one of the better, though awkward, moments of the movie involves a biker dressed as a cop for Halloween. The kids go to him for help when the witches are chasing them. And Dani points out that not only did they break into the Sander’s house, but Max is a virgin.

When the biker hears that Max is a virgin, he is in genuine disbelief that a guy his age would still be a virgin. To which Max replies, “Look I’ll get it tattooed on my forehead, OK?”

Also, note Allison’s silence throughout the whole movie about being a virgin. In fact, if you look closely, Allison scoffs, looks away, and rolls her eyes when Max asks if she wants to light the Black Flame Candle.

The look seems to imply that she’s no longer a virgin. Makes you wonder how the movie would have played out if she had tried to light the Black Flame Candle. “Oh yeah Max, I guess you showed me. Must just be a bunch of hocus pocus… Let’s go.” ‘Let me try, Allison!’ “NO! Let’s just go…” {End Credits}

And finally, at the end, Emily asked Thachery “what took thee so long?” To which Thachery replied, to his, I don’t know, 7 or 8 year old dead sister, “I had to wait 300 years for a VIRGIN to light a candle.”

Maybe I’m not up on Salem cultural studies (HINT: I’m not) but it seems pretty odd a 7 or 8 year girl who had not come of age yet would know what a virgin is. What do they teach these kids in Purgatory?

Sara Sanderson rides the broom like an adult toy

Sarah Jessica Parker played the (youngest?) sexy sister, Sarah. Throughout the movie, Sarah makes many suggestive comments about boys and “playing” with them… which is sort of odd for a “family” friendly movie as is. Most children movies have subtle adult jokes to at least make the movie somewhat easier to sit through, but Hocus Pocus shows almost steps over a very straddled line.

Sarah Sanderson summoning children on broom stick suggestively Hocus Pocus

And then, towards the end of Hocus Pocus, when she is seducing, er, summoning the children, she rides the broom like it’s a giant vibrator. I mean seriously, watch that scene again. It looks like she is in the throws of passion and should really get a room or a cold shower before she heads back to the house.

The Sanderson Sisters are behind and ahead of the times…

The Sandersons were dead for 300 years. Needless to say, the world they left and the world they returned to were completely different. At first, Hocus Pocus handles this decently well.

After all, Max is able to shock them when he flips open a Zippo lighter and “makes fire in his hands.” He’s also able to convince them that the sprinkler system is the Burning Rain of Death.

Shortly after, the sisters go outside and think the road is a “black river,” firefighters are witch hunters, children dressed up for Halloween are hobgoblins, and that some old guy dressed as the devil is actually Satan.

And then, the sisters pull off a magical song that casts a spell on the parents at the town hall party. The style they sing in is a throw back to earlier in the 20th century, but well after their deaths. How’d they come up with a musical number like that? On the fly, with only seconds of prep time. And with no knowledge of modern musical ensembles?

And then, how does Mary know about modern cooking techniques for scrod? She mentions you can cook it in “margarine,” which was invented well after she was dead.

Also how the hell does Winifred know what a permit to drive is? And, how does she know what “resisting arrest” is? Again, both concepts come centuries after her death.

Like seriously, 7 hours ago you literally thought the road was a f*cking river and now you know all about modern driving laws, cooking techniques, modern music, and what resisting arrest is? Sounds like lazy writing to –

Deadpool that is just lazying writing Hocus Pocus

Thackery Binx the talking cat

Thackery Binx in front of Emily's grave stone Hocus Pocus

A crucial plot point is that the Sanderson sisters turned Thackery Binx into an immortal cat. They do this after his failed attempt to save his sister. When he first transforms, he only seems capable of making cat noises. Which makes you wonder, at what point did he learn to actually talk again?

Of course, I’m no biologist, but it seems pretty likely that a cat would lack the proper vocal cords and mechanics to form human words. But, we can assume, for a fun family Halloween movie, that part of his ability to talk had to do with the magic… or very stretched laws of natural science.

Anyway, regardless of how and when he learned to talk, why didn’t he find someone years ago, tell them to get rid of the Black Flame Candle, and be done with it?

Or why not figure out a way to remove the Black Flame Candle from the house?

Why not jump in front of the door when he saw Max and his crew coming? Then he could tell them immediately not light the candle. Seems awfully odd that he would wait until after the candle is lit to do more than just jump at Max.

Thackery’s Curse

And then, there is the issue of how his immortality worked. Think about it: when the witches died the first time, Thachery stayed alive. But at the end of the movie, the witches die presumably for good, since, after all, there is no sequel. At that point, Thackery too dies.

Is Thackery’s curse attached to the sisters being alive or in limbo? And how would the curse know the difference?

Allison’s Yaboos

Dani staring at Allison's yabbos Hocus Pocus

What the hell Dani? Your big brother reluctantly takes you trick-or-treating, and you go and tell his crush that he loves her yaboos?

Dick move Dani. Dick move.

The Museum Closing

OK. I can appreciate that the town folks may have closed the Sanderson Sister’s house museum in the 80’s or maybe first year or two of the 90s. But what kind of crappy closing would neglect to remove not only the artifacts but the unsold merchandise?

You’d think they would have cleaned out the museum, taken the book, the black flame candle, and so on to storage. Or maybe sold them to a private collector. Or maybe donated them to another museum.

But leaving them “on display” and just bolting the door seems awfully odd. Especially with unsold merchandise just laying around.

Hocus Pocus Bus Driver

I have yet to come across a sketchier character in children films than the bus driver in Hocus Pocus. The guy is a total perv. You understand as soon as the bus slows to a stop why the put that lecherous guy on night duty.

Seriously, the bus driver literally tells them the bus is meant to take them to their most forbidden desires. And that he can provide them with children, but it may take him a couple of tries.

This is arguably one of the funnier lines from the movie, and certainly most memorable. Too bad the little ones don’t get it… at least I would hope not.

What is up with the Black Flame Candle?

This is one I could never figure out. The Black Flame Candle is reportedly made with the fat of the hangman who hung the Sanderson sisters. Who the hell made the damn thing?

Did the devil? Did it just appear out of no where? It’s like an unsolved mystery: who made the Black Flame Candle and why?

Watching the Sanderson Sisters burn

There’s some pretty dark sh*t in Hocus Pocus. Like when the kids trap the Sanderson sisters in the kiln. They turn it on and literally watch the witches burn.

Sanderson Sisters burning in kiln Hocus Pocus

That’s pretty sick. Makes you wonder if Max doesn’t grow up to be a serial killer. Maybe the theory about Kevin McCalister from Home Alone growing up to become Jigsaw in Saw is wrong. Maybe its really Max that grows up to be the infamously deranged serial killer.

Nathan

Nathan is not a published author, professional movie critic, or avid fan of most children shows. He is a caring father (when he's not banging his head against the wall), a movie connoisseur of sorts literally able to have full conversations in movie and TV quotes, and dedicated to helping other parents avoid starting a show with their small children that they will soon regret. In his free time, he does nothing. He has two small children. Free time does not exist.

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