A random series of Halloween movie posts: Hocus Pocus, Disney’s Halloween Treat

…Okay, so maybe every other day is a more realistic posting schedule. ANYWAY. After The Exorcist, I feel like we could use something a little lighter! Like a movie about witches who suck the life force out of children, and a Halloween special with several parts I found legitimately terrifying as a child. Yaaaaaaaaaay!

Hocus Pocus

First of all, this is an excellent article about Hocus Pocus and you should go read it.

Hocus Pocus is one of those movies from my generation’s childhood that we’ve gleefully gone on loving right into adulthood. We’re a nostalgic bunch–probably every generation is to at least some extent, but mine also came of age on the Internet, and the Internet is great for bringing back stuff from your childhood so that you can yell about how much you love it on Tumblr. And Hocus Pocus is, I think, a viewing experience that ages well. Watching it as an adult, you get the nostalgia value from the parts of the movie that are aimed at younger viewers, but you also get the moments of adult humor that were kind of weird and off-putting when you were a kid, as well as the ones that went completely over your head (Hocus Pocus is the only kids’ movie I can think of that references a musical about a burlesque dancer. If you know of another one, please share). You’re more aware of the gleeful, unapologetic anachronisms–the witches are baffled by a paved street and have to step on it to realize it’s solid! But they can put on a show-stopping musical number two minutes after walking into a nightclub!–but those just seem like part of the fun. Or maybe you write a pedantic post somewhere about all the inaccuracies, in which case I guess it’s still part of the fun, but your idea of fun is somewhat different than mine. BUT ANYWAY. And as you watch, you realize that adults getting a kick out of Hocus Pocus is nothing new, because Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimi are all clearly having more fun than should be legal playing these characters who are genuinely evil and dangerous, but also silly and funny and kind of fabulous.

Also, if this movie didn’t make you want an immortal talking cat as a pet, you’re wrong. Sorry.

Disney’s Halloween Treat

There were apparently several different Disney Halloween specials that used similar clips, and looking around on Youtube recently, I couldn’t find any version that lines up exactly with the taped-from-TV VHS of my memory (the one I remember did have the Magic Mirror and didn’t have the talking jack-o-lantern, although it did have a great deal of the talking jack-o-lantern’s narration). Still, watching some of the familiar clips makes for a great nostalgia fest. One of my favorites as a kid–and also, of course, the one that scared me the most–was the Old Mill. I also loved the cat stuff (some of which I only recently realized was part of a longer Disney thing about cats), and the Donald Duck cartoon with Witch Hazel, which I now regard as a sort of G-rated Trick’R’Treat (you better not be stingy, or your nightmares will come true). And while I may not be able to hunt down my version on Youtube and our VHS may not exist anymore, Disney’s Halloween treat will always hold a special place in my heart for being one of my first Halloween traditions. Looking back, it laid a lot of the seeds of my love for the holiday.