9 reasons why ‘Hocus Pocus’ is the best Halloween movie of all time

This movie will ‘put a spell on you’

In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, Actor Jason Marsden, who voiced the cat Thackery Binx in Disney's "Hocus Pocus," visits the infamous "Sanderson Sisters" on Sept. 7, 2017, after their live performance at Magic Kingdom Park. (Steven Diaz/Disney Parks, Getty Images)

There are so many Halloween movies to choose from when it comes to celebrating the spooky holiday, but none of them come close to the magic that is “Hocus Pocus.”

Released in 1993, the movie follows three witchy sisters who are brought back from the dead by a gullible teen virgin, so they can suck the lives out of the children of Salem, Massachusetts, and be young and beautiful forever.

The plot of the movie might sound sinister, but thanks to performances by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker, "Hocus Pocus" is more laughs than screams.

In the past 10 years or so, “Hocus Pocus” has become a staple to watch during the month of October, thanks to millennials who grew up loving the movie and craving the nostalgia from yesteryear.

So, in honor of the iconic flick, we’re giving you nine reasons why “Hocus Pocus” is the ultimate Halloween movie.

1. The cast is legendary.

Like we mentioned above, Midler, Najimy and Parker are iconic as the Sanderson sisters. They all have such great chemistry; you immediately believe they’ve been sisters for 300 years. Each of the sisters has such a tightly defined personality, which makes every scene so much fun. You also can’t forget about Thora Birch, who was just a little kid when this movie was made.

2. You can quote the movie till the cows come home.

Movies that stand the test of time do so because they have hilarious scripts with hilarious quotable one-liners, and “Hocus Pocus” is full of them. You can’t help but relate to Midler’s deadpan delivery of, “Oh look, another glorious morning. Makes me sick.” Just try not to crack a smile when Najimy says, “I smell children” or when Parker just says “amuck” on repeat. It’s all hilarious.

3. There’s actually some history behind the movie.

OK, so the Sanderson sisters are fictional characters, but the Salem Witch Trials definitely happened in the late 1600s. In the movie, the Sanderson sisters were hung in 1693, which was when the actual trials were happening.

4. The physical comedy is gold.

Midler and Najimy are seasoned actors with incredible timing, and the two played off each other so well, especially when it came to their characters getting physical with one another. The comedy in “Hocus Pocus” is extremely broad, and who better to do that than Midler?

5. It’s perfect if you don’t love scary movies.

So many movies that revolve around Halloween are scary, which totally makes sense, but what do you watch if you can’t handle a scary movie? You watch “Hocus Pocus,” duh! While there are some eerie moments, most of it is full of slapstick comedy and funny jokes.

6. It is the definition of a ‘campy’ movie.

If you ever wanted a definition of what “camp” means, look no further than “Hocus Pocus.”

“Camp” is an exaggeration, and often times theatrical and over-the-top. The witches who were accused during the Salem Witch Trials were probably not wearing the embellished robes that the Sanderson sisters donned in the movie, and that’s what makes it camp.

7. The performance of ‘I Put a Spell On You’ will go down in the history books.

If you took a poll, it would probably be pretty clear that everyone’s favorite moment from the movie is when the Sanderson sisters sing a rousing rendition of “I Put a Spell On You.” It’s very random that Winifred and her sisters would break out in a pop song halfway through the film, but that’s what makes “Hocus Pocus” so fun. Midler is obviously famous for her vocals, so why not showcase them?

8. Parker’s song, ‘Come Little Children,’ is also iconic.

Another random musical moment in the movie comes from Parker’s character, Sarah, as she sings a hauntingly beautiful lullaby to lure the children of Salem to the witch’s house, so they can suck out their souls. Parker is also a singer (before “Sex and the City,” she was on Broadway), so it was smart of the people behind the movie to use Parker this way.

9. It’s full of ’90s nostalgia.

It shouldn’t be shocking that a movie made in the ’90s is full of references to the times, but that’s what makes watching it so much fun. It’s like a time machine back to 1993.

From the Vanilla Ice-inspired haircut one of the characters has, to a mom dressing up as Madonna in a cone bra, everything about this movie is dripping in nostalgia, and that’s why we love it.

Bonus item: And finally, Thackery Binx.

You can’t discuss “Hocus Pocus” without mentioning one of the best characters in the movie (and no, we’re not talking about Billy the Zombie, although he does come in as a close second).

Thackery Binx, aka the boy from the 1600s who was turned into an immortal black cat by Winifred, is by far the smartest character in the film. He warns the teens not to light the black flame candle, and then advises them on how to defeat the witches. Besides, who doesn’t love a talking black cat named Thackery?

So, did we convince you to watch “Hocus Pocus” before Halloween is over? We hope so!

This article was initially published in 2019. It has since been updated.

About the Author:

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.