Film: Hocus Pocus

A 1993 Halloween-themed Disney film for "kids". This was the second film directed by Kenny Ortega, previously known for Newsies (1993). Now considered a cult favorite, the film's rather campy, but pretty entertaining. It does, after all, contain a memorable rendition of "I Put A Spell On You" by Bette Midler. The song "Come Little Children" from this film went on to become a Halloween classic.

The film opens in the year 1693. Thackery Binx (role shared by Sean Murray and Jason Marsden), a teenager living in Salem, Massachusetts, discovers his little sister Emily (Amanda Shepherd) has gone missing. Emily has been lured away to the farm of the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches—consisting of older sister/leader Winifred "Winnie" (Bette Midler), middle child/tracker Mary (Kathy Najimy) and little sister/siren-like predator Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) — who suck the life-forces of little children to prolong their lives; such is the fate suffered by Emily. Thackery attempts to save her, but the sisters transform him into an immortal black cat. The sisters are soon after captured by the townspeople and hanged. Before her death, Winnie pronounces her death-curse, that "on All Hallows' Eve, when the moon is round, a virgin will summon us from under the ground."

The scene shifts to 1993. The Dennisons are a California family who have just moved to Salem, bringing along teenaged son Max (Omri Katz) and 8-year-old daughter Dani (Thora Birch). Max is a virgin. Halloween night, Max takes his sister trick-or-treating and gets to hang with new love interest Allison (Vinessa Shaw). Allison tells him of the legend of the Sanderson sisters and of a supposed way to revive them; Max laughs and tries it out, bringing the Sandersons back to life. Now the three kids and the immortal cat Binx have to face the witches throughout the night, with the lives of every kid in Salem at risk.

Midler claimed in a 2014 interview that she, Parker, and Najimy would be interested in playing the roles again if the producers asked. In 2015, she confirmed it was not going to happen.

While a 1994 side-scrolling platformer by the same name also exists, they don't have any connection to each other. Also unrelated is Kurt Vonnegut's 1991 novel of the same name.

This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Max, Dani and Allison have to flee the witches and zombie Billy Butcherson by following Thackery into the sewers, which are filled with spiders and rats, which is what Thackery eats as a cat! Very squicky to the trio.
  • Accidental Misnaming: In one scene Max introduces himself to the two bullies, Jay and "Ice", and says he's from Los Angeles. They start calling him "Hollywood" from then on.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: During Max's run-in with the bullies, when Max doesn't have any cash or cigarettes to give them, "Ice" mockingly asks what he's supposed to do with his afternoon. Max suggests that he learn to breathe through his nose, and Jay starts laughing until "Ice" glares at him.
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • The children tried to get help from their parents and the rest of the party-goers. They don't believe them and think it's some kind of Halloween prank.
    • They also tried for help from the man they thought was a police officer. (He was only in costume.)
  • All Hallows' Eve: The Black Flame Candle only works on this day, and once lit, will not last beyond this day.
  • All Part of the Show: What the adult party-goers think of the Sandersons taking over the stage and singing a song to them, to the point they indulge in audience participation and sing too, thus unknowingly enchanting themselves.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Inverted. The witch sisters transform Binx into a black cat For the Evulz. By the time of the main narrative, he's their sworn enemy. As mentioned in Animal Motifs below, Mary's more like a dog.
  • Alto Villainess: Winnie, with the voice of Bette Middler backing her up.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Sanderson sisters are hanged, not burned, which is much more historically accurate to the fate of most of the Salem witches.
  • Always with You: A freed Thackery tells this to Dani just as he and Emily are about to head to Heaven.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Whereas Winnie is evil and scheming, Sarah and Mary are basically dumb and more or less harmless — until Sarah's Not So Harmless moment. If Winnie wasn't around they probably wouldn't even be villains.
  • And I Must Scream: Ironically, This would have been Winnie's fate at the end, had she succeeded in draining Max's life force, having violated hallowed ground.
  • Animal Motifs: The animal itself is never mentioned, but Mary's appears to be a dog, what with her tendency to bark, her power to smell children, and the way she's always at Winifred's side.
  • Badass Normal: The kids fight against witches and zombies without any kind of special power of their own.
  • Berserk Button: The minute someone calls Winifred "ugly" she starts handing out the Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Sarah skips along in a daze "prattling idiotically" in the words of her elder sister, but her voice can lead children to their death.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Sanderson sisters, ostensibly - though from very early on, it's quite clear that Winifred is the dominant one, thus making her the Big Bad and Sarah and Mary her Co-Dragons.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Thackery Binx and Max are both deeply protective of their little sisters, and Binx projects a lot of his feelings about Emily onto Dani.
  • Big Eater: Mary Sanderson is clearly implied to be this with children. How else do you think she got so much bigger than her sisters?
  • Black Magic: Mind Control, life stealing, turning people into cats, lots of nasty dark stuff here.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three witches; Sarah is blonde, Mary has dark hair, and Winnie is a redhead.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Downplayed with Sarah, who is less malicious than Winifred, and averted by Allison.
  • Brainless Beauty: Sarah, the youngest and most attractive of the witch sisters is none too bright. She'd rather "pranze around idiotically" as Winfred would put it.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Dani keeps mocking her brother for being a virgin. It's possible she just doesn't know what it means but she does still keep saying it to get a rise out of him. She also mocks her brother's attraction to Allison and to Allison's "yabbos" in particular.
  • Brick Joke: At the beginning of the movie, the two bullies steal Max's sneakers from him; at the climax, when they plead with him to help them, he refuses, but takes the opportunity to take the sneakers back.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The three witches were about to go easy on the two bullies and leave... Until they called them ugly.
  • Burn the Witch!:
    • Averted in a Disney film! The witches are hanged, just like the real "witches" of Salem. (Of course, this is a rare case where the "victims" are truly guilty of witchcraft.)
    • Subverted later. The kids trick them into a walk-in kiln and burn them, figuring that's the way to get rid of a witch. They probably got the idea from Hansel and Gretel rather than the Salem witch trials. The candle's magic keeps them from perishing completely.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Max, whose virginity is repeatedly invoked and commented on.
    • Billy Butcherson easily suffers the most physical abuse of any character, getting his head knocked off on two separate occasions, and his fingers crushed when he's coming out of the sewers and a motorcycle rides over top of the lid. That's not even going into Winifred poisoning him and sewing his mouth shut so that he can't speak even in death.
  • Card-Carrying Villain:
    • Winnie Sanderson at one point says to her sisters "We are witches, we are evil!" But then, being that they got their powers by selling their souls to Satan, this probably just represents a realistic view of themselves.
    • Also, during "I Put A Spell On You" song:
    Your wretched little lives have all been cursed 'Cause of all the witches working I'm the worst. [...] Ask my sisters.
    (She's vicious!)
  • Cats Are Magic: Binx, a teenager who was transformed into a black cat by the Sandersons. He has the ability to speak, and he is effectively immortal.
  • Compelling Voice: Sarah's primary power - her song about halfway through the movie calls all the children in Salem to the Sanderson sisters' home, and lets the viewers know that she isn't as harmless as she appears to be (up to this point, she played the part of The Ditz and was Winifred's punching bag).
  • Convenient Slow Dance: Parodied: While the Sanderson sisters are in "The Master's" house, Sarah goes to "The Master" and says, "Master, wouldst thou dance with me?" She then makes a tender slow dance with him... until his wife shows up and sees them both dancing, which triggers her Berserk Button.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Sarah tortures the two bullies by force-feeding them Halloween candy. (They were already sick from it in the previous scene.)
  • Credits Pushback: Because of this, the Disney Channel no longer airs The Stinger for the movie.
  • Creepy Cemetery: It relies on elements from the rest of the movie to add the creepiness factor. It's actually a Place of Protection since witches "can't set foot" on hallowed ground.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Winnie tries to remember the life potion's recipe but gets stuck at a dead man's....something. Aforementioned Cuckoolander Sarah abruptly shouts out "Dead man's toe!" but is shushed. As Mary and Winifred continue to try to remember the ingredient, Sarah shrugs and wanders off screen.
  • Curse Escape Clause: An accidental one: Winifred cursed Binx to live forever with his guilt over having been unable to save his sister, but once the witches are finally killed, Binx's sister has been avenged, so he no longer has a reason to feel guilty—and thus the curse is broken, with Binx finally dying but being able to join his sister in the afterlife.
  • Darker and Edgier: For Disney in general. There's a child death in the prologue alone! Any more so, and they'd likely have changed the label to Touchstone.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Thackery and Emily go to Heaven at the end. Thackery consoles a grieving Dani.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Pissing off Winnie usually gets you this.
    • Thackery Binx was already going to have his life sucked out of him for trying to stop the witches from killing his sister, but he makes the mistake of calling Winifred a hag and is instead damned to a Fate Worse Than Death in the form of being trapped in the form of a black cat... for all eternity... living with his failure.
    • In case of Billy Butcherson, Winnie's lover. Winnie poisoned him and sewed his mouth shut after she caught him sporting with Sarah.
  • Disney Death: Binx revives after being crushed by the bus. In a darkly humorous twist, it only seems this way because the characters (and presumably the audience) forgot that he couldn't die (though it also sets up his death later). When he revives, he shrugs it off like it was nothing and is legitimately surprised that the others were concerned.
    Binx: (as though getting run over by a bus is the most normal thing in the world) "I hate it when that happens! What? I told you, I can't die."
  • Establishing Character Moment: Sarah's first appearance after being resurrected.
    Sarah: My lucky rat tail! Just where I left it!
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Winnie apparently can't understand self-sacrifice, especially for a family member.
  • Evil Is Hammy: In contrast to everyone else's more subdued performances, the Sanderson sisters and their actresses are certainly enjoying themselves.
  • Evil Is Petty: Dozens of helpless potential victim are lumbering mindlessly into the Sanderson sisters' clutches, but Winnie insists on going after Dani because the girl called her ugly.
  • Evil Plan: The witches want to be young and beautiful forever but they need to retrieve their spellbook from three human children and a cat.
  • Evil Redhead: Winifred the witch has red hair.
  • Eye Awaken: The book is alert at the end of the movie.
  • Femme Fatalons: Winifred's sharp nails.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The party at the town hall, at least after the witches take over the proceedings. "Dance until you die!"
  • Flying Broomstick: Played straight and then parodied when their brooms are stolen, forcing Sarah to fly on a mop and Mary on a vacuum cleaner.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself:
    • Max wears street clothes when he takes Dani trick-or-treating. His father Dave thinks he's supposed to be a hip-hop deejay, while Dani insists he's a Little Leaguer.
    • The Sanderson sisters are dressed as stereotypical witches because, that's what they are. Meaning they're attending Halloween as themselves, but just happen to fit in extremely well.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the cable version, the "phone number" that Max ostentatiously hands to Alison is just the famous 555 exchange...and nothing else. The real movie contains a seven-digit 555 number.
  • From the Mouths of Babes:
    • Dani regarding Max's nonexistent sex life.
    • Also, "You sold your soul!" to Winifred.
  • Funny Background Event: During a scene where the witches are hiding from firemen after Max sets of the sprinkler, Winnie explains to Mary they must be which hunters, whereas Sarah notices "a pretty spider" and proceeds to eat it.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: There's so much obvious sexual references being tossed out that it's like Machine Gun Fire Getting Past The Radar. From Disney of all companies!
    Winifred: We desire...children.
    Bus Driver: Hey, it may take me a couple of tries, but I don't think there will be a problem.
    • Max is sixteen, yet is constantly mocked for being a virgin, and him being a virgin is a major plot point — apparently being sixteen and still a virgin is something you should be ashamed of. It may be the same reason it was so easy for Dani to keep insulting said virgin: because most kids watching this movie don't even know what a virgin is.
    • Sarah shamelessly flirts with every male she sees, and is likewise hit on by numerous men who leer at her. There's also her idea for what to do with Binx: "Hang him on a hook and let me play with him?" The line is spoken in such a manner that one cannot help but see it as innuendo.
  • Greater Scope Villain: The witch sisters claim to have received their powers from the Devil, thus making him responsible for all their evil. However, the fallen angel is otherwise not involved in the plot.
  • Good All Along: Billy Butcherson turns out to be this by the end of the movie, helping the kids protect themselves against the witches to the best of his abilities. The only reason the kids - and the audience - didn't know was because his mouth was sewn shut by Winnie.
  • Handsome Lech: Sarah is a rare female example. It's honestly shocking for a Disney film that she flirts with every single male she comes across—from Thackery to Max to Billy to a random bus driver to Max's bullies to a random costumed man at the party...the list goes on and on. And despite being rather attractive and flirtatious, there is no evidence to suggest she actually is successful with men or boys. Moreover, her idea of fun probably isn't what most men anticipate.
    Sarah: Thou wouldst hate me in the morning.
    Bus Driver: No I wouldn't!
    Winifred: Believe me, thou wouldst.
    • When they are deciding what to do with Binx, Sarah says, "Hang him on a hook and...let me play with him?" in a very suggestive but creepy manner.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Invoked in setting up the A Man Is Not a Virgin Overly Long Gag.
  • Holy Burns Evil:
    • When Winifred sneezes, a passing little girl (in costume as an Angel) says "Bless you!" prompting all three sisters to react with horror.
    • As per the spell that only resurrected them for one night, the Sanderson sisters will be turned to dust when the sun rises.
    • Witches can't set foot on hallowed ground and when Winifred tries to quickly kill Max in the graveyard before sunrise, she's turned into a stone statue for standing in a holy place. As if that weren't enough, when the sunlight hits the statue, it explodes.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One:
    Jay: Man, how come it's always the ugly chicks that stay out late?!
    Winifred: Chicks?
    • Contrast with Winifred's offense at Dani calling her "Ugly."
  • Idiotic Partner Confession: At the beginning of the film, the Sanderson sisters are trying to convince the angry mob that they are not witches:
    Winnie: Don't get your knickers in a twist! We're just three kindly old spinster ladies.
    Mary: Spending a quiet evening at home.
    Sarah: Sucking the lives out of little children!
    [Winnie chokes Sarah]
  • Infant Immortality: Averted in a Disney movie! The Sanderson sisters kill Emily.
    The Nostalgia Chick: First plot point, death of a child.
  • If I Can't Have You: Winifred's reason behind killing her ex-boyfriend is that he dumped her/cheated on her with her sister.
  • Intellectual Animal: Binx can talk and knows a lot more about what's going on then anyone else.
  • Ironic Echo: At one point, Winifred swoops in on the kids, taunting them with Max's earlier line "It's just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!"
  • It's Personal: The witches spend much of the time trying to capture and kill Dani, but when she calls Winifred ugly, this very trope makes her even more determined to capture and kill Dani.
  • Laughably Evil: The witches are surprisingly comedic considering the fact that they drain the life out of children, particularly Sarah.
  • Life Energy: With the help of a potion, the witches could just take a few long whiffs and their victim will be dead.
  • Light Is Not Good: Beautiful, sunny-haired, ditzy Sarah, singing sweetly to lure children to their deaths at the hands of the witches.
  • Literal Metaphor: "I Put a Spell on You" as sung by Winnie, is not just a song.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Dani comments on Max's crush on Allison and lack of sex-life in general. She also snarks almost every other opportunity. After Max lights the black-flame candle and all manner of visuals and sound effects occur:
    Max: What happened?
    Dani: A virgin [adjusts her witch's hat] lit the candle.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: You might think the Sanderson sisters are Vain Sorceresses but eternal youth is only half of what they want.
    Winifred: We want to live forever. Not just until tomorrow!
  • Loophole Abuse: *"This is hallowed ground. Witches can't set foot here." What they can do is hover over it and reanimate a corpse.
  • Magic Music: "Come Little Children" and "I Put a Spell on You" combine this with Compelling Voice. Both of them work magic through lyrics.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: The audience is reminded every five minutes that Max is one because no one can believe that a guy his age is still one.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: A major reason that the film ended up being a Cult Classic instead of "just another kids' movie". It's just dark enough to satisfy viewers who came in expecting a horror movie, with enough humor to satisfy viewers who might have preferred a comedy, enough child and teenage characters to appeal to younger viewers, a love story for fans of romance, a ton of musical numbers from Bettle Midler and co. for music-lovers, and a surprisingly earnest story of sibling love for viewers who might prefer a drama.
  • Murder by Cremation: The main characters do this to the trio of witches. However, they are later revived by their magic book, and the kids have to come up with a different plan.
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin: Surprisingly matched with Virgin Power. Virginity provides the wherewithal to bring Satan's minions to earth but subverted in that Max never gets over his virginity. (This being a Disney film, and Max being 15.)
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Max appears to be this at first, and gets treated this way by most of the other characters, and who can blame them? Max does wear a tie-dyed T-shirt and harbors radical left-wing beliefs (such as his suspicion that Halloween is actually a conspiracy on the part of the candy companies). He ultimately subverts the stereotype when he's offered a marijuana cigarette and he turns it down.
  • The '90s: Max's hair alone dates this movie.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Max lights the enchanted candle to impress Allison, showing that he's not afraid of an old legend. Binx nearly says the trope name when he reveals to Max he can talk.
    Binx: (sarcastically) Nice going, Max.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: When Max finds out how dangerous the Winifred's book is he is Genre Savvy enough to try to destroy it on the spot. Unfortunately it's protected by dark magic which makes this impossible.
  • No Ontological Inertia:
    • The party-goers are cursed to dance until they die. The curse ends when the witches die. The curses binding Binx and Billy to life also break.
    • A zigzagged example is when after the Sandersons are led to burn in the school kiln and the group believes they have won, Binx is still alive as a talking cat, and Allison believes another spell is necessary to undo the curse. It turns out to be because the witches are not truly dead yet.
  • The Nose Knows: Mary can smell children from very far away (possibly a Shout-Out to Hansel and Gretel); this leads to a rather humorous scene, where she can smell them all over the place, but can't see them, and starts to lament that she may have lost her powers. (They're all in plain sight, but the Halloween costumes are confusing all three of them.)
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Billy, unless you count two-timing on his lover "evil". The whole reason he's assumed to be evil for most of the movie is because his lips are sewn shut and he can't speak; when he finally manages too, then he's able to express his true loyalties.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Sandersons may seem comically bumbling about 80 percent of the time, but you'd be wise not to mess with them when they really get angry. Sarah in particular seems a harmless, ditzy woman through most of the movie. Then she starts singing sweetly, luring children into the trio's clutches, and you know she's deadly.
  • Offscreen Inertia: The last we see of Jay and "Ice", they're still locked in their cages singing a round of "Row Your Boat". Granted, the main trio knew they were there from Dani's earlier rescue, but who knows how long they were left to stew.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The mob in the prologue successfully subued the three witches and strung them up on a gallows. It doesn't look like they suffered any casualities either.
  • Oh Crap!: Billy reacts in this way twice, each time just before he (literally) loses his head.
  • Painful Transformation: Thackery Binx's tranformation into a cat is intentionally painful because this trope was invoked by the Sanderson sisters.
  • Parent Service: Sarah shows a lot of cleavage, and you get a very good view of her cleavage during the second singing of "Come Little Children".
  • Please Wake Up: Dani to Binx near the end. It's harsher than the standard because he was immortal up until then.
  • Police Are Useless: Subverted — the apparent cop who bullies the children and insults Max's manhood is only in costume.
  • Precision F-Strike: The times within the space of a few minutes when Billy says phrases that involve the word, "Hell!"
  • Product Placement:
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Sarah is so childlike, it's very easy to forget she's homicidal and very dangerous, and her idea of "play" likely involves death and, at one point, possibly torture. Sarah Jessica Parker's delivery makes her lines less creepy, until you think about them. One line sums her up instantly.
    Sarah: My lucky rat tail! Just where I left it!
  • Sanity Ball: Is briefly held by Sarah and Mary when they point out to Winifred that they don't need to chase after Max and Dani because they've already got a kid to feed their potion to, and thanks to Sarah's singing more are coming to the house. They can always make more potion afterwards because they've got the book back, but Winifred's too dead set on getting back at Dani for calling her "ugly" to care.
  • Satan: Never appears in person, but the Sanderson sisters call him their "master" and a museum sign claims he gave Winnifred her spell book.
  • Schmuck Bait: The candle that is said to bring back a trio of witches is lit during Halloween. Binx calls Max a "airhead" for falling for this.
  • Seeking Sanctuary: cemeteries are hallowed ground, and any witch who sets foot on hallowed ground gets turned to stone.
  • Sequel Hook: The final shot before the credits shows the book waking up again, implying that either the sisters STILL aren't gone for good or some other evil force is calling to it. However, a sequel still hasn't been made.
  • See You in Hell:
    Billy Butcherson: Go to Hell!
    Winifred: Oh! I've been there, thank you. I found it quite lovely.
  • Shadow Archetype: Max begins the film extremely self-centered, over-dramatic, short-tempered and showing an enormous amount of disdain for his annoying but loving little sister. Comparisons are drawn with Max and Binx, but the stronger parallels are with Max and Winifred, an extremely self-centered, over-dramatic and short-tempered witch who despises her incompetent, yet devoted, younger sisters. Sarah and Mary follow Winifred into what will clearly be their own demise and die after a clumsy attempt to save her from Max, a gesture Winifred would hardly return.
    Winifred: What a fool to give up thy life...for thy sister's.
  • Shock and Awe: Winnie can fry painful electrics blasts from her fingers.
  • Shout-Out: During the "I Put a Spell on You" number, Winnie calls out, "Hello, Salem, my name is Winifred! What's yours?" This is a nod to Mama Rose in Gypsy, who said, "Hello, world, my name is Rose! What's yours?" (which was spoken by Louise earlier) Doubles as an Actor Allusion when Bette Midler played Mama Rose in the TV version on the same year that Hocus Pocus was released.
  • Skeptic No Longer: Max initially makes jokes about the witches, and believes that Halloween itself is a candy company conspiracy. Then the witches show up, he is berated by a talking cat, and is then onboard with the "magic is real" message.
  • Solitary Sorceress: The witches' cottage seems to be just outside of old Salem (but not so far as to be inaccessible to the mob), though by the modern day it's within the limits of the town.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Binx snarling "Nice going, Max!" in his standard 17th-century Colonial accent.
  • Spell Book: Bound in human skin, and emblazoned with a living human eye, no less.
  • The Stinger: A number of them. After we see Thackery and Emily finally reunited at the gates of Heaven, the end credits are accompanied by the following: Dave and Jenny Dennison and all the other townspeople stumbling out of the town hall in their costumes, with Dave commenting that "I thought L.A. was a party town!"; Jay and Ice still locked in birdcages in the Sandersons' lair, pitifully singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to pass the time; and a final tip-off that the Sanderson sisters may be Not Quite Dead.
  • Summon to Hand: If the spellbook is nearby, Winnifred can call to it and it will float over to her.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    Winifred: WHY? Why was I cursed with such IDIOT sisters?
    Sarah: Just lucky, I guess.
    • Binx as well. Max and Dani are about as sharp as bowling balls, with Allison flip-flopping between good decisions and bad ones.
  • Take a Third Option: At the end, Max either has to give up the potion or Dani dies. What does he do? He drinks the potion instead.
  • Take Me Instead: Max drinks the potion to keep Winifred from force-feeding it to Dani. "What a fool to give up thy life... for thy sister's."
  • Taken for Granite: Winifred. The result of her standing on hallowed ground while trying to steal Max's life.
  • Talking Animal: Binx the talking cat.
  • Terrible Trio: The three witch sisters, of course.
  • Title Drop: "C'mon, it's all just a bunch of hocus pocus." Winifred later repeats the same line in a mocking way when they're flying/chasing after the protagonists through the graveyard.
  • Together in Death: Binx's spirit reunited with his sister in the afterlife.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Winifred, Mary, and Sarah; not evil-sounding names. They're actually very common names.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Winifred's spellbook. Bound in human skin (complete with human eyeball) and given to her by Satan himself. Plus, it's at least partially sentient.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The kids during the final scenes in the graveyard. Dani is safely protected by a circle of salt - with enough space for the other two to join in the circle as well. Yet they opt to fight the witches outside of it. Then Dani decides to leave the circle to help Billy get his head back. This very nearly costs her her life and then almost her brother's. At least partly justified since a child her age would realistically make such decisions.
  • Undeath Always Ends: Thackery's cursed immortality at the end, along with his sister, who has apparently been a ghost for 300 years.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Yabbos" to describe what Max loves. According to IMDB, "yabbos" was used in ''National Lampoon's Animal House for breasts in the phrase "major-league yabbos."
  • Vain Sorceress: The witch sisters are delighted to have become young and beautiful again in the prologue after draining life from a child.
  • Vampiric Draining: The three witches do this to a young girl to maintain their youth.
  • Villain Ball: Winnie holds it pretty hard at some points, but the worst is when the three sisters have everything they need to win, at least temporarily — enough potion to suck the lives of at least one child, which would give them enough time to live at least past Halloween and make more, plus the spellbook and a whole crowd of children on which to use it, and Winnie gives up the perfect opportunity to go get the life of one specific child, who called her "ugly." Even given that Winnie had been shown many times beforehand to be vain, self-centered, arrogant and vindictive, you would still think she would insure that she would live past the end of the night, then go after Dani.
  • Villain Song: "I Put a Spell on You" qualifies as both this and Magic Music. Winnie openly gloats over what she's doing to the party-goers, even as she's doing it.
    "The witch is back, and there's hell to pay!"
    "Your wretched little lives have all been cursed 'Cause of all the witches working I'm the worst! [...] Ask my sisters."
    "(She's vicious!)"
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: Virgin is almost a synonym for idiot, and Max never lives it down.
  • Virgin Power: A virgin can resurrect the witches.
    Max: (after feeling the room shake) What happened?
    Dani: A virgin (referring to Max) lit the candle.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • What happened to the three girls who got the Sandersons' brooms?
    • The last we saw of Max's house was the Sanderson sisters completely destroying the top floor. One wonders what his parents will think when they finally get home.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Happens to Binx in the beginning when he is cursed. It's deconstructed as eventually he gets tired of moping around and starts doing something with his eternal life.
  • Witch Classic: of the Wicked Witch type. Three of them sucking the souls out of little children.
  • Witch with a Capital B: Winnie does this in a nod to Elton John during "I Put a Spell on You"; see Shout-Out.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Sanderson sisters drain Emily's life.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe:
    • The Sanderson sisters, and Thackery and Emily Binx, and the rest of the Salem townsfolk in 1693. By the time of the main narrative, 300 years later, Binx no longer talks like that, presumably because he was influenced by the change around him in the English language over time. The witch sisters have not because they've been dead all this time.
    • Played with on the bus:
    Sarah: Thou wouldst hate me in the morning.
    Bus Driver: No I wouldn'st!
    Sarah: Come little children, I'll take thee away.note 
  • You Can Talk?: Max's first words to Binx the talking cat.
  • You Need a Breath Mint:
    • When Billy insults Winifred, Max gets a whiff of his breath and almost loses his lunch.
    Max: Say what you want, just don't breathe on me!
    • It's also relevant to Max's first run-in with Jay and "Ice".
    Ice: Gee, we don't get any smokes from you. We don't get any cash. What am I supposed to do with my afternoon?
    Max: Maybe you could learn to breathe through your nose.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: For a little while, it seems that the witches have been cooked in the school oven. They were, but it didn't stick.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Averted; it's just one zombie and he's not exactly evil.
  • Zombie Gait: Billy's silly zombie stumble.