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Friday, October 29, 2010

Movie #3: Hocus Pocus (1993)

"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).

Family-Friendliness


  • 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/Violence/Profanity:
    Kids-in-Mind:


    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

Summary


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.

Parent Previews:
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.

The witches suck the life out of Emily
The witches suck the life out of Emily

The witches turn Thackery Binx into a cat
The witches turn Thackery Binx into a cat

Winnie chokes Sarah
Winnie chokes Sarah

The witches await their hanging
The witches await their hanging

On All Hallows Eve, when the moon is round, a virgin will summon us from under the ground.
"On All Hallows Eve, when the moon is round, a virgin will summon us from under the ground."


"Hey, Max! Hey, how was school?"
"It sucked!"

Max gets harrassed by Jay and Ice
Max gets harrassed by Jay and Ice

What do you call 'em, Max?  Yabbos?  Max likes your yabbos.  In fact, he loves 'em
"What do you call 'em, Max? Yabbos? Max likes your yabbos. In fact, he loves 'em."


"Legend says that on a full moon it will raise the spirits of the dead when lit by a virgin on Halloween night"


A cat jumps on Max


"A virgin... lit the candle."


Winnie zaps Max

So for three centuries I've guarded the house on All Hallows Night, when I knew some airhead virgin might light that candle
"So for three centuries I've guarded the house on All Hallows Night, when I knew some airhead virgin might light that candle."

Brave little virgin who lit the candle
"Brave little virgin who lit the candle."

Billy the zombie rises from his grave
Billy the zombie rises from his grave

Sarah's cleavage
Sarah's cleavage

Oh, cheese and crust!  He's lost his head!  Ha! Damn that Thackery Binx! Damn him!
"Oh, cheese and crust! He's lost his head! Ha! Damn that Thackery Binx! Damn him!"

Damn, damn, double damn!
"Damn, damn, double damn!"

Thackery is about to get run over by a bus
Thackery is about to get run over by a bus

Sarah sits on the bus driver's lap as she runs over Thackery
Sarah sits on the bus driver's lap as she runs over Thackery

Hey, hey, cupcake, don't I get your phone number? Your area code?
"Hey, hey, cupcake, don't I get your phone number? Your area code?"

And he's a virgin
"And he's a virgin."

Are you a virgin?
"Are you a virgin?"

Winnie hits Sarah in the stomach
Winnie hits Sarah in the stomach

Dani's mom, dressed as Madonna
Dani's mom, dressed as Madonna

My brother's a virgin, he lit the black flame candle, the witches are back from the dead and they're after us
"My brother's a virgin, he lit the black flame candle, the witches are back from the dead and they're after us."

It's been 300 years, Right down to the day, Now the witch is back, And there's hell to pay
"It's been 300 years, Right down to the day, Now the witch is back, And there's hell to pay."

Welcome to High School Hell
"Welcome to High School Hell."

The witches burn in a furnace
The witches burn in a furnace

How come it's always the ugly chicks that stay out late?
"How come it's always the ugly chicks that stay out late?"

Jay and Ice are captured by the witches
Jay and Ice are captured by the witches

Sarah's cleavage
Sarah's cleavage

Max and Allison start to kiss
Max and Allison start to kiss

The witches try to force Dani to drink a potion

The witches try to force Dani to drink a potion
The witches try to force Dani to drink a potion

Billy cuts his mouth open with a knife
Billy cuts his mouth open with a knife

You bucktoothed, mop-riding firefy from hell!
"You bucktoothed, mop-riding firefy from hell!"

Go to hell!
"Go to hell!"

Winnie turns to stone
Winnie turns to stone

Sarah dies
Sarah dies

Mary dies
Mary dies

I love you, jerkface
"I love you, jerkface."


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?

Kids-in-Mind:
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.

Of Note


  • 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.


On TV


"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"

Trailer




At the Movies Review


"There is nothing funny in this movie."

Watch It




















2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice try in attempting to portray the movie in as negative a light as possible. Fact is, people love this film; it's funny, it's spooky, and it's enjoyable. We watched it I don't know how many times as children, right about when it came out, and we somehow came out ok. There is nothing in this that you couldn't see on any daytime TV show (in fact, it's much more child-friendly than even the nightly news.) Seriously, this movie is not nearly as bad as this site makes it out to be, and it remains a Halloween favourite of mine to this very day.

Stephen said...

Thanks, Anonymous. My point with this site isn't to try to portray any film in a negative light. My point is to highlight films that have been recommended by others, and to draw attention to any content that might be questionable so that parents can decide for themselves. You'll notice that this one ranked #3 on last year's list, and for good reason. Lots of people love it.

I'm not saying that this film isn't funny or spooky or enjoyable. I'm glad you enjoy it, and I appreciate your comments. It's true that you could likely see similar content during daytime television, but does that make it OK for a young elementary school child to watch? It's up to the parents. Personally, I don't think I'd want my five-year-old to ask me what a virgin is, after hearing nine references to it in the movie.

I don't make up most of the content on this site. I may add a comment at the beginning of each post, but I let the facts and the opinions of sites like Common Sense Media, Parent Previews, Screen It, etc., do the talking. Sorry you took offense to any of the opinions, but please keep in mind that they're not mine. Thanks for visiting.

 
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