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YMMV / Hocus Pocus

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  • Accidental Aesop: The whole movie could be a study in "Don't be a Leeroy Jenkins" and have a plan while preparing to improvise against murderous adults. Thackery running after his sister to save her life was noble but ended up leading to her death and his unwilling transformation; his father did better arriving with an angry mob and the weapons needed to subdue bloodthirsty, murderous witches. Thackery as a cat tends to use his knowledge of battling witches to assist Max, Dani, and Allison; Max in contrast to Thackery is great at improvising when he needs to protect his little sister but still does better when there's a plan in mind. Not all plans work, but they do help.
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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Sarah as ditzy as her sisters treat her? There are a couple of times where Sarah displays Simple-Minded Wisdom - remembering the ingredient for the potion, sensing the children in the alley behind the restaurant, and being able to get the bus driver to give them a ride just because he's attracted to her. The latter could point to Sarah being more aware of her own seduction power than her sisters give her credit for.
  • Catharsis Factor: After they made him watch his sister die in front of him, it's satisfying when Binx in cat form attacks Winifred before she can force-feed Dani the potion, giving Max an opportunity to bargain with Winifred for Dani's life. Though his real death is a Tear Jerker, Binx's ghost smiles at Dani, reassuring her and thanking Max for freeing his soul. To top it all off, he reunites with Emily who escorts him to heaven.
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  • Cliché Storm: Is there a single late-Eighties or early-Nineties comedy trope they missed? Let's see here...We've got a Cool Loser hero with a pretty heavy snarker persona; his clueless yuppie parents; his bratty younger sibling; bullies; a cute talking animal; villains who spend at least as much time making dreadful wisecracks as doing anything truly evil; satirical jabs galore...
  • Critical Dissonance: The movie garnered a 30% "Rotten" score from the critics, but received a much higher score of 70% from the audience.
  • Cry for the Devil:
    • Despite Winnie and her sisters being ruthlessly evil, the scene where the weakened witch calls out the window for her Book, then breaks down crying, does have its element of sadness.
    • Sarah when she dies a second time oddly has a Face Death with Dignity moment. As the sun rises, she spreads her arm and wishes Winifred goodbye.
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  • Cult Classic: It wasn't a great hit at the box office (being a Halloween movie released in July will do that to you) or with critics, but has become a modern Halloween classic.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Sarah is often thought as less evil than the other two, probably because of her status as The Ditz and being the most attractive of the sisters. But then she sweetly serenades children (with "Come Little Children"), luring them to the sisters' home — and she's as happy as her sisters to drain Salem's children of their life-force. She also excitedly proposed playing sadistically with Thackery, once they caught him.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Billy only shows up in the last third, but tends to be well-remembered and a favorite of fans of the film. Being played by Doug Jones certainly helps.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Max has quite the following of girls who crushed on him when the movie first came out.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Sanderson sisters are much funnier and more interesting than most of the heroes, and get an iconic Villain Song. The only thing that keeps Rooting for the Empire from kicking in is they're targeting children.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Sarah is played by Sarah Jessica Parker in her prime, with beautiful blonde hair, a dress that shows plenty of cleavage, and numerous innuendo-laden lines. She's a Hot Witch if ever there was one. But when she lovingly serenades children, it's clear that she is evil and dangerous:
    Come little children, I'll take thee away...
  • Ham and Cheese: The film is corny, sure, but those witches sure make up for it. Bette Midler called this her favorite role, after all.
  • Hollywood Homely: The witches are frequently referred to as "ugly" or "hags" by the Main Characters- except for Sarah who's Ms. Fanservice - but Winnie and Mary lean more towards Ugly Cute.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Some people just watch it for Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker hamming it up as the witches and clearly having a ball doing so.
  • LGBT Fanbase: It's as camp as twelve tents, stars three major gay icons, and was even directed by an openly gay filmmaker. It would honestly be more shocking if this didn't have a queer fanbase!
  • Memetic Loser: Max is this in the film itself, due to the amount of times it makes fun of him for being a virgin.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Long after this movie left theaters, you couldn't use the word "amok" without somebody chiming in with Sarah Sanderson's sing-songy "A-MUCK, a-MUCK, a-MUCK, a-MUCK!"
    • "Oh look, another glorious morning... makes me SICK!"
  • Moe: Dani starts the film as a Bratty Half-Pint, but she mellows when bonding with Binx. She looks especially adorable when feeding him milk and promising they're going to be best friends forever.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • "A bit of thine own tongue."
    • Sarah eating a spider.
    • Sarah's "lucky rat-tail" — still there after 300 years.
  • Never Live It Down: Max's perpetual Virgin-Shaming (he's 15, by the way). It tends to be overblown by non-fans, but there are plenty of viewers who are so turned off by it that they're willing to dismiss the whole movie as a result.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • In the 1964 short Looney Tunes short "Bewitched Bunny", Hansel and Gretel turn to Witch Hazel and say, "Ack, your mother rides a vacuum cleaner!" before fleeing.
    • Hocus Pocus didn't originate the Unusual Euphemism "Yabbos." According to IMDB, "yabbos" was used in ''National Lampoon's Animal House for breasts in the phrase "major-league yabbos."
    • It's assumed that this is the first Disney movie to use the word "virgin"; the first Disney movie to do so was Dragonslayer.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Those skull-faced jazzers/rockers at the Halloween party were pretty cool. It may take a second viewing to realize that these performers segued from "Witchcraft" into "I Put a Spell on You" shortly before Winifred took over the show.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • The human form of Thackery Binx is played by Sean Murray, better known his role as Tim McGee in NCIS ten years later.
    • Kind of hard to believe that Mary Sanderson is the future voice of Peggy Hill.
    • He's never really been easy to "recognize" due to almost all his work being done under heavy costumes and/or makup, but Doug Jones has become far better known since this film.
    • Thora Birch would later gain fame for her role in American Beauty, and more recently retain some recognition as recurring villain Gamma on The Walking Dead.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The "I Put a Spell on You" Villain Song scene is easily the most iconic part of the film.
    • "Come Little Children" is also a very well-known song, though it may be considered mildly Covered Up as many people online don't know (or remember) its source.
  • Squick:
    • Tastefully averted with Emily Binx. She gets all the youth and vitality drained from her at the beginning of the film - but she slumps over in death, leaving only her gray hair visible. One can only imagine what her face looks like.
    • Billy Butcherson's undead state offers plenty of squick, particularly when he gets his finger caught in the manhole lid after a motorcycle runs over it.
    • Binx is visibly squashed after being run over (though at the very least he survives).
  • Testosterone Brigade: Between a voluptuous Sarah Jessica Parker providing plenty of Fanservice and the beautiful Girl Next Door quality of Vinessa Shaw, there's plenty of straight male fans too.
  • Toy Ship: Thackery/Dani, if you can believe it. While it's true that they do a lot of bonding in the film, it's more along the lines of Like Brother and Sister.
  • Values Dissonance: The plot puts emphasis on the fact Max is a virgin, even though he's 15 and not even technically legal yet. Such a plot point may not fly as easily today as it did in the early nineties. At the least, the only person who directly mocks Max for being a virgin is Dani, and given her age and personality she may not even know what it means, just that it annoys her big brother to have it brought up around other people; Max is embarrassed by it but no one else really cares. Alison, Max's to-be girlfriend, does not find it to be a problem.
  • Values Resonance: It's quite refreshing to see a 90s movie that portrays a subversion of Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male. Sarah is meant to be a Womanchild, but it's implied that she would molest Thackeray or Max, given by her attempts at seducing them or wanting to hang the former on a hook and "play" with him. The script and filming make it quite clear that the viewers should see this as creepy. Thackeray doesn't get a chance to respond due to being turned into a cat but he was glaring at the trio, and Max is appropriately revolted, while his bigger priority is protecting Dani at the time.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The TV version in America is rated TV-14, but is still considered a family-friendly classic:
    • Considering how constantly it points out Max's lack of a sex life...(Virgin!)
    • Dani makes a joke about Alison's boobs - more specifically how much Max likes them.
    • The dead body of a child being shown onscreen in the first ten minutes...
    • The cat getting run over, and seen flattened on-screen, has freaked out many people. Of course he turns out to be alive seconds later but still...
    • Sarah's flirtation with every man she encounters...
    • ... and so much more crap past the radar...
  • The Woobie:
    • It's hard not to feel very sorry for poor Thackery Binx. The poor kid fights for all his worth to save his little sister, just to fail and then endure a Painful Transformation into a cat. Then he gets rejected by his father who he was trying to communicate with in his hour of grieving. Finally, and this is the juicy bit, he spends the next few hundreds years, alone, with only his self-appointed duty in keeping the witches from coming back to give him purpose, but otherwise wandering aimlessly through his own personal, eternal hell. The only thing that averts this from being a full on And I Must Scream is that he somehow relearns how to talk as a cat, Max says he's one of the Dennisons now, and Binx reunites with his sister in the afterlife.
    • Then there is Mr. Binx, Emily and Thackery's father. He finds out that his little girl is missing, and that his son is going after the local witches. He manages to raise an angry mob and subdue the witches, but he finds his daughter's corpse rapidly aged in the cottage, and Thackery nowhere in sight. The scene where he interrogates the witches on the gallows about his son's whereabouts is quite a Tear Jerker, especially when Binx in cat form tries to approach him and he doesn't realize the truth.
    • Max himself. He misses his old home and friends, it's hard moving to a new area, especially when you're a teenager, and his first day of school involves him being humiliated and having his trainers stolen. He's then constantly pestered by his bratty sister, and not once do his parents punish her for annoying him and going into his room, and then he is forced to take her out trick or treating. A lot of it is typical teenage angst, but poor Max does seem very down during the start of the movie, especially when he tries to take refuge in his room. Being harassed for lighting the candle and all that virgin shaming doesn't help matters.


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