Is Newer ALWAYS Better?


Eli Ross, Journalism Intern

When it comes to classic Halloween movies there are many that come to mind; Scream, The Nightmare on Elm Street, the Ouji series. And sure those movies are all good movies and franchises, but the movie that is the best in my opinion is the movie Hocus Pocus.

First released in the summer of 1993, it took almost 30 years to produce and release the sequel… Hocus Pocus is a classic Halloween movie, a humorous movie that is a lot like the three stooges in feeling, the plot is relatively simple. Three sister witches from salem are caught doing magic by the town and hung, before they die they curse the town that they will return and become immortal, years later three kids accidentally revive the witches and they have to stop them before they eat the towns children and become immortal forever.

The original won itself a saturn award for best costume design and got many nominations for awards among which are; best fantasy film, best actress, and best special effects. The sequel, according to Disney who made it, is the single biggest debut they have ever had, getting the most stream hours in three days. With the first movie being such a beloved classic it leaves me with the question of if the sequel can live up to its predecessor.

Via Disney

Talking about the original which I watched in the lead up to the new one to refresh me, even the pre-movie credit scene is visually interesting. Once it gets to the actual movie the actors play their parts fantastically (especially the three witches). The witches played by Bette Middler, Sarah Parker, and Kathy Najimy play their roles perfectly. All three witches are distinct different characters yet they somehow mesh together flawlessly. The plot is executed well, and it is a very lighthearted movie with many laughs.


Via Disney

The sequel was… disappointing to say the least, and while there were some funny differences such as, the witches brooms now being a broom, a swiffer mop, and two roombas (one per foot) most of the differences were really disappointing. Even before the release of the movie I was disappointed to learn that unlike the original it was filmed almost entirely outside of Salem, instead being filmed in Rhode Island. For some reason they retroactively added that magic is still alive in teenagers which was disappointing. Hocus pocus isn’t a Halloween Harry Potter, it should be a lighthearted movie about normal kids fixing a dangerous mistake they made.

The characters don’t feel developed enough and we don’t feel like we can connect with them too well, and this affects how the reconciliation arc ends up, it doesn’t feel genuine and we aren’t into these characters’ lives enough. It just feels forced to be honest.

Instead of a lighthearted stooges-esque movie we get a faster paced more action filled movie about mending friendships and how friends are what saves us in the end. And that ultimately is the downfall of the sequel. Hocus Pocus. Should. Not. Have. A. Theme. It is too lighthearted a movie to inject one in. and because of that it falls flat on its face. There’s an entire arc about how the mayor wants a candy apple just to show us that he doesn’t care enough about his daughter. It’s a good waste of a solid four minutes total.

The new Hocus Pocus wasn’t necessarily bad even though I don’t have much good to say about it, it just feels like it dishonors the original which deserved so much more than what it got. They had almost 30 years to make the sequel and what they did was a disgrace.