Hocus Pocus: 6 Uncomfortable Truths We Must Confront About The Original Movie

Winnifred in Hocus Pocus
(Image credit: Disney+)

Hocus Pocus has a celebrated status amongst Disney movies, and while it may not be the most popular in the Mouse House library, it is one of the few directly tied to Halloween. Watching the movie as a child can get anyone in the mood for the season, but as an adult, Hocus Pocus hits a bit differently. At least, that’s how I felt, and after my latest viewing experience, I feel like there are some uncomfortable truths we must acknowledge ahead of Hocus Pocus 2’s arrival (which finally happened after many years of pitching). 

The following, in case it needs to be said, should be taken as tongue-in-cheek. Hocus Pocus is a fun movie, and is one of the best Bette Middler movies out there. That said, I think as we all get older and continue to watch this classic every year, it’s obvious there are some glaring issues with the plot and other events in the movie. Let’s dive in and address some of the weird and uncomfortable truths about this Halloween staple.

Mary about to be hung in Hocus Pocus

(Image credit: Disney+)

The Sanderson Sisters Had To Have A Much Easier Solution To Escape Being Hanged 

Hocus Pocus’ main premise hinged on the spell in which the Sanderson sisters link their resurrection to the lighting of the Black Flame Candle. The spell was super elaborate, so much so that it took centuries for the exact circumstances to occur so that they could return. Sure, this is a movie and we needed an excuse to bring the story to more modern times, but surely I’m not the only one who felt like the Sandersons didn’t explore all their options before their execution. 

I would think that if the Sanderson Sisters could concoct a spell as elaborate as their resurrection terms, surely they could’ve escaped being hung by the townsfolk in the 1600s. Those ropes didn’t even look that tight around their necks, so it’s possible they could’ve escaped without the use of magic entirely. They also could’ve bewitched the townsfolk into setting them free or even made the barrels they sat on impossible to move. It just seems like they threw in the towel way too easily here, and could’ve done a lot more things than just sitting there and waiting to die. 

Max in Hocus Pocus in class

(Image credit: Disney+)

Max Might’ve Been A Pot Head

As far as new kids go, Max came in hot during Hocus Pocus. This Californian kid had the nerve to dismiss Halloween in Salem, but he also made it painfully obvious he walked to the beat of a different drum. In fact, it seemed like Max felt the key to his self-expression was embracing stoner culture, which makes me wonder, was Max a pothead? 

The question might sound ridiculous, but is it any weirder than a kid in 1993 embracing the classic tunes of The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix? Let me also point out that Ernie and Jay seemed to know what was up with Max from the start. Bullies don’t just decide to hit up a freshman for some smokes unless they had a reasonable suspicion he had some. I guess they might’ve just wanted those Nike shoes, but I prefer to think the former and that Max was likely puffing the cheeba, perhaps to cope with leaving California for Massachusetts. It’s a shame Max won’t be back for Hocus Pocus 2, as we could’ve gotten some answers about this!

Thackery turning into a ghost in Hocus Pocus

(Image credit: Disney+)

Thackery Kind Of Got Shafted When That Curse Lifted

Once the Sanderson sisters were defeated, Thackeray Binx finally had his curse broken. His reward for spending centuries as a cat guarding a candle was a quick death to be reunited with his sister. To be frank, Thackery got a raw deal in all of this all things considered. 

In what world can a spell turn a teen into an immortal cat, but the minute it’s broken, he immediately ages and dies? Hocus Pocus could’ve at least allowed Thackery to attempt to acclimate to life in the '90s. Sure, he might’ve died quickly anyway while his body caught up to centuries of medical advances and various evolved diseases, but damn, at least he would’ve had a chance to live a full life!

Winnifred dancing in Hocus Pocus

(Image credit: Disney+)

The Sanderson Sisters Could’ve Literally Drained The Life Force Of Any Child To Suceed

As the first point really drove home, the Sanderson sisters had a lot of options to escape their gruesome fate. What’s even weirder was their obsession with targeting Max, Allison and Dani when the spell said they only needed to take the life force of a child to retain their youth, and yet somehow they never thought to try and just grab any unsuspecting child to get that done. Wouldn’t it have been super easy to grab any other child for this on Halloween night? 

With all due respect, I’m beginning to think the Sanderson Sisters weren’t the smartest witches in the coven. It seems like they would’ve stood a much better shot at regaining their youth capturing another random child in the meantime, and then if they were really concerned with Max, Alison and Dani, they could’ve used the rest of their regained youth to track them down. Perhaps the resurrection spell fried their brains a bit, though as mentioned, it doesn’t seem like they were that bright in the first place.

Sarah and Satan in Hocus Pocus

(Image credit: Disney+)

Why Did That Random Dude Invite The Sandersons Into His Home?

We don’t talk enough about how the guy dressed as “Satan” meets three grown women dressed up for Halloween and immediately starts role-playing with them like it’s a normal thing to do. If I’m being real, he’s the real weirdo of Hocus Pocus and had to have something weird in mind for the Sanderson sisters had his wife not interjected and gotten them out of the house. 

That said, the less cynical side of me wonders if perhaps this man was just in desperate need of feeling important. We got a brief glimpse of what his home life was with his wife, and it doesn’t seem like he had a lot of chances to be called “master” in recent years. It’s possible this guy just thought he won the lottery and found three women who were ready to shower him in kindness. He probably still shouldn’t have danced with Sarah Sanderson either way.

Party guests in Hocus Pocus

(Image credit: Disney+)

WTF Kind Of Party Was Alison’s Family Hosting? 

Halloween parties are a common occurrence when the holiday rolls around, and even adults are known to dress up for the holiday. With that said, there’s something weird as hell going on in Allison’s family household. Everyone in town is dressed like they’re some 1770s nobles, and are just chatting it up like that’s an entirely normal thing to do. 

It’s even weirder when you realize that every adult shown at the party is in the most elaborate costume for the event. There’s no couple that showed up and figured the dress-up theme was a suggestion, or a couple that really decided to go with a budget option for their look. What’s even wilder is that Allison stated they do this every year. I would hate to be on the guest list because I’m not sure I have the bank account for such elaborate costumes!

Hocus Pocus is available to stream with a Disney+ subscription right now, and Hocus Pocus 2 will be available on Disney+ (opens in new tab) starting Friday, September 30th. The window is quickly closing for anyone who wants to re-watch the original before the sequel, so be sure to do that if you haven’t already. Or, for anyone looking for something a little more intense, check out our list of upcoming horror movies to enjoy. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.