Writer: Aaron Wallace
Publishing House: Pensive Pen Publishing
Publication Date: September 9th 2016
Rating: 5 stars
I admit that strange as it may sound, I didn’t count myself among the millions of ‘’Hocus Pocus’’ fans until last autumn, when I watched the film for the first time. You see, Halloween isn’t among the ‘’officially established’’ holidays in Greece, but a) it gains more and more ground every year, and b) who cares about what is ‘’official’’? So, for the last four years, me and my mother have this special ‘’film festival’’ starting at October 1st, when we watch a Halloween-themed film or a ghost movie every weekend up until the first days of November. Last year, I thought ‘’let’s see what the fuss is all about’’. And we watched ‘’ Hocus Pocus’’. And we were smitten with it at first sight.
This beautiful film isn’t just creepy, funny and somewhat daring for its time. Speaking strictly for me, it causes a deep surging of nostalgia for a more innocent, more carefree era. When we didn’t know what Halloween was (unfortunately….) but we were able to walk in our own neighborhood with safety in those dimly lit, crispy afternoons and early evenings. The reason why our time is different isn’t relevant so I won’t discuss it here. That was also a time when movies were better, in every sense. When you still had films that were atmospheric and interesting and fun and this is how I view ‘’Hocus Pocus’’. It’s not a cultural masterpiece but a creepy and entertaining creation that demonstrates everything we have come to love about autumn and the glorious festive period of Halloween.
The companion is true to its name, because it prompts you to think of the film’s value through the years, even though its journey to the box-office at the time of its release was far from satisfying. To tell you the truth, look at the films that rise to the 1st place in our days. If these are the future of cinema, I’m glad I don’t consider myself a movie-buff. But, anyway…Aaron succeeds in demonstrating the distinctive Salem atmosphere that was beautifully depicted in the 1993 film. There are numerous interesting essays covering many themes and observations about the film, the inspiration behind it and the dynamics of the time of its production.
There is a very interesting -albeit peculiar, I admit- analysis on the issue of virginity and sexuality in a Disney film in the beginning of the 90s. There is an exploration of the strong feminist connotations that are present in the movie, since Winnie is an absolute queen, Mary is the home-caring one, Sarah is the childish seductress and Dani with Allison are the kind-hearted, clever and resilient ‘humane’ witches. We also find references to the inspiration provided by established thrillers and Horror films that helped in shaping the overall tone of ‘’Hocus Pocus’’ with some interesting behind-the-scenes information and suggestions on films of similar interest.
Honestly, I cannot understand why this film received so much hatred and scorn in the reviews at the time of its release. I guess those of us who never trust the film reviewers are somehow justified. Most of the time, they promote whatever they want to serve their own purposes and we end up with garbage like ‘Shakespeare In Love’’ taking the Oscar for Best Film over ‘Saving Private Ryan’’…(I mean, were they on LSD or something during THAT night?) If you want to familiarize yourselves with the fascinating world that is ‘’Hocus Pocus’’ or of you are a die-hard fan, then this companion is a beautiful work for the lovers of the film, the Halloween-crazed fans and any movie-aficionado.
…And for once, let us stop taking every single thing so seriously. Sometimes, all we need to escape the mundane, troubled, bleak reality is a broomstick, a pointy hat, a few pumpkins, and a cat. And a book….And Winnie’s songs….