Hocus Pocus (1993)
Three gnarly, 17th-century Salem Witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) are unwittingly conjured up for a Halloween night in present-day Salem. While they tend to spruce up the party festivities with their outlandish get-ups and Three-Stooges-like antics, they’re not good witches. Their lifeblood is young children, and they’ve got one night to sate their hunger pangs or, come sunrise, turn to dust.
Hocus Pocus had a decent enough first release but, like so many favorites, really found new life on television and home video in the years after its initial run in theaters, and has since risen to near-cult status. There’s always room for a fun-loving, friendly Halloween movie in people’s lives, and Hocus Pocus continues to be as warm and welcoming as ever, nearly 30 years later. Most of that is down to the perfect casting of the trio of witches, the nominal antagonists but real stars of the movie. With such joyous, full performances (and delightful costumes), Hocus Pocus will remain a family favorite, the comfort food of Halloween movies, for a long time to come. And with the long-awaited sequel streaming on Disney+ starting Sept. 30, what better time to relight that black flame and go back to where the magic began?