Hocus Pocus In Focus…

αρχείο λήψης.jpg  Title: Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Disney’s Halloween Classic

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….

7 Comments

  1. With all of these hocus pocus mentions around Halloween, I just want to watch it now 😀
    Yeah, it’s not an official holiday here either. I’m sure I’ve seen Hocus Pocus out of the corner of my eye, but never seriously watched it. Which is why I think I should, cause it looks like total fun 🙂
    And I always feel like an old lady when I think like that, but I must admit I totally agree with you. Films were better. Everything was indeed far simpler, and not just because we were children.

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    1. I couldn’t agree more. It wasn’t that life was less hard when we were children or with less difficulties (social and financial). But we lived our age, you know? We knew what it’s like to be a child, to play outside. We were less exposed to danger and our lives were less exposed because the Internet hadn’t yet invaded our lives so violently. Unfortunately, these days children want to become grown up too soon….

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      1. Yeah. I get freaked out at 12 year old girls wearing full make up and teensy hot pants o.o you get all your life to be an adult… and only so many years to be a kid.

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      2. Definitely! And fortunately, there are many like us who desire to return to their childhood days and behave like children, even for a little while.

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  2. Aww I loved this movie- so glad you liked it! And really enjoyed your analysis of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It’s always great to find more fans of this film:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!! Yes absolutely 😀

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