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In honor of Halloween, I’d like to take a moment to remember a spooky and sexy trio that changed the meaning of “hocus pocus” forever: the Sanderson Sisters. Below are my top 10 moments from the Disney Halloween classic Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker.

There are movies from your childhood that you re-watch as an adult and cringe because it’s awful, and therefore a tiny piece of your childhood purity has just died. Then there are films that you watch, and they are just as magical and glorious as the first time you watched them, and it rekindles your hope that maybe, in fact, you do have good taste in entertainment! Hocus Pocus is one of the chosen few that remains just as good with every subsequent viewing.

The Disney classic, in case you are unfamiliar, stars a trio of witches: The Sanderson Sisters. The leader, Winifred – or Winnie (Bette Midler) – works with her sisters, the salacious Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and the bumbling Mary (Kathy Najimy), to suck the life out of children in order to stay young. They are brought back to life for one night 300 years after their death by new-boy-in-town and Salem skeptic Max Dennison (Omri Katz), who is out trick-or-treating with his sister Dani (Thora Birch) and the girl he wants to impress, Allison (Vinessa Shaw). Along with the vengeful and adorable cat-form of Thackery Binx (Sean Murray), the children must battle the sisters to save the town of Salem!

For those that haven’t seen it (go out and buy it) there are spoilers following. If you have seen it, please let me know what your favorite moment is, because I’m sure there are arguments for many other moments from this childhood classic. Please note: they are in chronological order, not order of importance.

1. Dani’s wiser-than-her-years line: “Then take her to the movies like a normal person.”

Dani, who is devilishly clever, has oodles of incredibly witty moments throughout the film, but the exchange between her and Max at Allison’s mansion is the most impressive. While angst-riddled Max tries to woo Allison by agreeing to go with her to the house of the Sanderson Sisters, Dani steps up with some much-needed advice:

Max: Dani, this is the girl of my dreams.
Dani: So take her to the movies like a normal person.
Max: Dani! Look, just do this one thing for me, and I’ll do anything you say. Please? Please? Please?
Dani: Okay, okay. Next year, we go trick-or-treating as Wendy and Peter Pan… with tights or it’s no deal.

The girl is a master of manipulation. She keeps up her antics as the movie continues, most notably when she pretends to have summoned the Sanderson Sisters herself.

2. Sarah the witch, just in general.

Okay, okay, I’ll admit I cheated. This isn’t a moment, but more an entire character, but still. How can you pick just one moment? Sarah Jessica Parker is magical as Sarah. The fact that she repeats everything that is said countless times as she dances about combined with the fact that she is constantly flirting with men, even at the dance when they are chasing the children… great. And of course the line, “I am BEAUTIFUL! Boys will love me”… irresistible.

3. This exchange between Winnie and the bus driver.

Winnie: We desire… children.
Bus Driver: Hey, it may take me a couple of tries, but I don’t think there will be a problem.

Re-watching this as an adult, I definitely had that double-take moment until it finally dawned on me: Hocus Pocus just made a sexual innuendo. While the entire bus driver scene is hilarious from the moment he flirts with them to Sarah sitting on his lap and driving, this small moment is a treasure that reminds us all: Disney is not just for kids!

4. Mary’s facial expression.

Okay, okay, I cheated again, because this isn’t a moment but a ubiquitous occurrence, but the way she keeps the bottom right side of her lip down like that is incredible. How did she keep that up throughout the whole film even as she spoke? Did make-up help? The lip slip just makes her dowdy character all the more comical.

5. The song and dance number, “I Put a Spell on You.”

It’s the most iconic moment in the film, so how could you not include it on a list such as this? The ladies take the stage, and it is by far Winnie’s shining hour! Winnie is hilarious throughout the film, but she comes to life (pun intended) that evening when she takes the stage.

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  • BronzeSparks123

    I love this movie! I watch it every Halloween. I thought it was the scarriest movie ever when I was little ;) Hard to pick a favorite part, but I think I like the song the best

    • Hocus Pocus Fan

      Just on Halloween…? I watch it EVERY DAY!! And never get sick of it!!

  • Carilyn

    On #9, I don’t think Emily said that out of malice or ignorance. It seemed to me she was teasing Thackery as she probably did in life and knew exactly what had happened, something Thackery probably appreciated after not seeing her so long. Idk, that’s just how I read it.

    As for additional fav moments (in no particular order):

    1. I’m rather fond of the way the three sisters stalk down the street together

    2. The transfiguration spell on Thackery – I just thought it was performed so well, spoken with such power, and then you can’t help but feel awful for Thackery the rest of the movie

    3. When Dani fell asleep with Binx talking about passing him onto her children and her children’s children. It was very sweet, so much that, even though Binx got his happy ending, I almost wish he did get to stay her cat. Maybe it’s because I have a black cat too (though female) and the guarantee that Binx couldn’t die must have been very comforting for Dani, as it would be for me.

    4. “Goodbye cruel world!” “Bye bye, world.” “Goodbye to life!” “Bye bye life.”

    5. Sarah’s song. It’s just very pretty and shows that, for all her ditziness, Sarah’s a heck of a witch

    • Hocus Pocus Fan

      What I understood was that she wasn’t aware of the stuff going on. She wasn’t aware of the time that had past. For her it was like a normal time period, not 3 whole centuries.

  • http://twitter.com/akacj7 Caroline J.

    Jessie, you just became my favorite person of 2012 for this post.

    i’m going to have to say ditto to everything @7641e4df4328036f494d9c6e40ad3af8:disqus listed, and include a few extras:
    1) Angela the doomed Lobster.
    2) When Allison gives Max his number back – ZING *drop the mic*
    3) Mary & Sarah in the graveyard at the end. salt. vacuum cleaner. all of it.
    4) Winnie and Mary pushing Sarah into the “black river.”
    5) The whole scene in the Devil’s house.
    5a. Siblings Gary and Penny Marshall playing husband and wife…
    5b. Mary watching TV and squealing (as I did when I saw it).
    5c. Winnie looking through the “torture devices” in the kitchen.
    6) “AMUCK.” just the word.

  • ChocolateClarinet

    1. “It’s the chocolate-covered finger of a man named Clark!”
    2. When “Ice” is introduced
    3. Garry & Penny Marshall… hilarious
    4. When the sisters are in “Satan’s” house, and three girls dressed up as the Sanderson sisters find the brooms leaning against the gate

    LOVE this movie.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lilliempeterson Lillie Marie Peterson

      Satan’s house is my all time FAVORITE moment.

  • PotterFan1029

    Just watched this with my family last night. It really is a classic! It’s so underrated since most of the acting is great and the director, Kenny Ortega, did a great job!

  • Shantelle Andrews

    When they first see the road and throw Sarah out onto it…

    When they use vacuums instead of brooms

    When they ‘meet’ Satan.

    The song to summon the children.
    I found it on youtube and played it a couple of times waiting for trick or treaters, very creepy lyrics, but very beautiful

  • Corin Boswell

    When Thackery responds w/… “I’m sorry Emily, I had to wait 300 years for a VIRGIN to light a candle.” THAT is one the best lines as well.

  • Jamie

    #11 The moment you realize that Thackery Binx is McGee from NCIS.

    • http://twitter.com/NatashaPeartree Natasha Pereira

      WHHHHHAAAAAATTTTTTTTT!!!!! mind.blown.

    • Hocus Pocus Fan

      N-n-n-n-no, whaaaaaat?!!!! I would die without knowing that!!

  • http://twitter.com/kristin_marie Kristin Lewis

    “Amuck, amuck, amuck amuck amuck.”

  • http://twitter.com/notenoughpuff Sarah

    I watched this movie last night for the first time in years and it was the first time I caught the bit after the sisters are coming OUT of the kiln and Winifred is quoting the frech tape. I laughed so hard I cried a little.

  • Eelaxyn

    #7, For a split second I thought you were talking about me, because I’m 21 and I legitimately screamed too..

  • Guest

    When I was younger I didn’t realize how dirty this movie is..

  • Musician

    When they ride on vacuums. When I realize my friend Winnie is eerily like the witch Sarah (?!). When the kids run away from the witches while trick-or-treating, and you have to think, Well, ladies, times have changed. Satan’s house. The French tape. The reinflating cat. I Put A Spell On You. Those are my favorites.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hilary.kearns Hilary Kearns

    OMG but number 5 is my number 1! Of course, number 2 is also my number 2 :)

  • Tee

    When SJP is singing “amuck, amuck, amuck!” Lol. My younger sister and I still use that line just because…LOL

  • Hocus Pocus Fan

    Additional moments (no specific order, the whole film is great):

    1. When Allison throws salt on Sarah’s face and she spins in the air;
    2. The first graveyard attack, when Billy first appears;
    3. The Calming Circle (more specifically, “I AM CALM!”);
    4. The whole opening sequence. It’s just… awesome;
    5. The “burning rain of death”;
    6. When Sarah thinks she’s sinking in the asphalt;
    7. When the sisters are walking down the street, find the fire truck and run away desperately;
    8. Vacuum cleaner (“We Fly!”);
    9. The fake sun, when the witches think they’re melting;
    10. “I smell… Winnie, I smell… I smell… scrod.”;
    11. “I smell children…”.

    I know I wrote practically the entire film but, you know… it’s HOCUS POCUS!!

  • Beverley Henderson

    I am a big fan of your show I loved hocus pocus

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