"It's a full moon tonight. That's when all the weirdos are out."
This film has the second-lowest quality rating of all the films in our countdown. So why does it rank so high on the list? Apparently, a lot of people love it. It's just that those people aren't film critics (see the "At the Movies" review below).
- Rating: PG "for some scary sequences, and for language"
- Minimum Recommended Age: 9.5 (Common Sense Media: On for ages 11 and up, Kaboose: Ages 8 and up)
- Quality Rating: 44.7% (Parent Previews Overall Grade: D+, Common Sense Media: 3 stars, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 4.1)
- Number of Lists Recommend: 12
Sex: References to virginity and an unfaithful lover; some flirting. Boy hugs a pillow and says "Oh, Allison, you're so soft." Mild sexual innuendo is heard and cleavage is seen, including the mother's madonna pointy boob costume, which she adjusts quite visually during a halloween concert. One of the witches' outfits shows ample cleavage and she makes several references to boys and kissing. There is talk of the main character's virginity as it is a requirement to bring the witches back to life.
Violence: The violence is all magical, but there are a couple of gross-out scenes, such as a cat getting run over by a bus and a zombie cutting his mouth open. Some bullying; a child dies onscreen but not violently -- the witches take her life-force while she's in a trance-like state and she quietly slumps over in a chair.
Language includes "virgin" (9 times - enough for your kids to wonder what a virgin is), "damn" (6 times), "hell" (4 times, including "You bucktoothed, mop-riding firefy from hell"), "It sucked", "What do you call 'em, Max? Yabos? Max likes your yabos. In fact, he loves 'em.", "wench", "trollop", "zitface", "How come it's always the ugly chicks that stay out late?", "jerkface", "chicks", "maggoty malfeasance", "little towheaded brat", and "you putrid, festering sore"
- Running Time: 96 minutes
- What does it have to do with Halloween? The last half of the film takes place on Halloween night
During a Halloween in Salem, Mass., three witches are accidentally reincarnated as a young boy tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Blend of horror and comedy about three 17th century witches (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker) who come to life in present-day Salem. Their objective is to live for ever by collecting kids and sucking the life out of them.
Watch Out For
Common Sense Media:
Parents need to know that this movie involves a plot to suck the life force out of children (and one little girl dies that way). A couple of high school bullies harass a male classmate in a graveyard, asking him for "smokes" and "hash" and finally stealing his shoes. There are mild sexual references, such as a high school boy hugging his pillow and murmuring, "Oh, Allison, you're so soft," as well as some frisky flirting from one of the witches. The main character is teased about being a virgin. The body of an "unfaithful lover" rises from the grave. Main features of the story are a book bound in human skin and a candle made from the fat of a hanged man. A tale is told about the Devil, and there are various gross-out moments. But it's important to note that all of the above is done in the playful, spooky spirit of Halloween.
Everyone screams, including the many children that are being sought by the witches so they can steal their souls. If you are bothered by Satanic subjects, pass this one by. If you are bothered by noise and stupidity, you might as well do the same.
With continuous derogatory references to the fact that a teenage boy can still be a virgin, and some very graphic scenes (heads falling off, fingers being cut off), and one emphatic profanity, the one person rolling in the grave would be Walt Disney himself.
"Legend says that on a full moon it will raise the spirits of the dead when lit by a virgin on Halloween night"
"So for three centuries I've guarded the house on All Hallows Night, when I knew some airhead virgin might light that candle."
"My brother's a virgin, he lit the black flame candle, the witches are back from the dead and they're after us."
Screencaps courtesy of newsie__nympho
Talk About It
Common Sense Media:
* Families can talk about scary stories, and parents can share their memories of Halloween. What's your all-time favorite costume? How do you want to dress up this year?
* Depending on kids' age, they may be interested in learning about the Salem witch trials.
* If kids are at all spooked by the movie, families can talk about why. What scared you? Do you think it was meant to be scary?
Sorcery and witchcraft, the devil, death -- especially the witches' plan which is to "suck the life out of children." Kidnapping, murder, revenge, life after death.
- The role of Max Dennison was originally offered to Leonardo DiCaprio, but was given to Omri Katz when DiCaprio turned it down to appear in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).
- Rosie O'Donnell was originally offered the role of Mary Sanderson, but it was ultimately given to Kathy Najimy. O'Donnell claims on her blog that she turned down the offer to work with the Divine Miss M because she didn't want to be a "scary witch".
- After having locked the Sanderson sisters in the school kiln, the three kids celebrate as they walk to the park. The house shown directly behind Max and Thackery while they talk is the residential edifice used as Thora Birch's home in 1999's American Beauty (1999).
- Brother and sister Garry Marshall and Penny Marshall play husband and wife. He's the one dressed as Satan.
"Hocus Pocus" will air at 8:00 and 10:00 PM ET/PT on Saturday, October 30 as part of ABC Family's "13 Nights of Halloween"
At the Movies Review
"There is nothing funny in this movie."